The Oklahoma House recently approved a resolution declaring "Oklahoma – In God We Trust!" as the state's official motto, with some critics rejecting the proposal as exclusive and "frivolous."
The bill, known as HCR 1024, was first introduced by state representative Danny Morgan (D-Prague) last month and approved by the House on Monday.
It was long believed that "Labor Omnia Vincit" or "Labor Conquers All Things" – which is found on the Great Seal of Oklahoma – was the state motto.
Upon more research and review, however, Morgan and his constituents found that "Labor Omnia Vincit" was not listed as a motto but only mentioned as a description of the Seal in the Oklahoma Constitution.
Hoping to adopt an official state motto, Morgan introduced HCR 1024, which was co-authored by Rep. Curtis McDaniel.
Though the state of Florida and the United States both use the phrase "In God We Trust" as their official motto, Oklahoma's version would be different and legal through their use of an exclamation point and state name.
Previously, President Abraham Lincoln adopted the statement, which has been credited to Francis Scott Key's song, during the Civil War when he placed the phrase on the currency for the purpose of improving the spirit of the Union forces, Morgan told The Christian Post in an email.
"It was then made our National Motto by President David Eisenhower at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union," he added. "The statement is one that has helped to show our solidarity as a Nation to one another in times of difficulty and strife.
"In discussing this with others the concept was clear to us that this statement was in keeping with the times we are living," Morgan explained.
"Just as in the past, when it was adopted for use, we are now living under very stressful conditions. Remember that a motto is a statement of support and is a reflection of how the citizens of Oklahoma could pull together, not only for our benefit but it is a way of showing solidarity with rest of the Nation."
The effort has not been supported or endorsed by any religion, church or ministry, the former mayor of Prague also stressed.
Ryan Kiesel, the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, in response to the new resolution told The Associated Press, "I think that this frivolous waste of legislative time takes away from the sincere meaning of our current state motto and discounts the fact that Oklahoma has believers and non-believers alike."
Morgan offered no comment to Kiesel's remark. "As an American, he has the First Amendment rights to disagree. I do honor this right."
The resolution heads to the Senate next for approval.