Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Louisiana law requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom

By 37ci3 Jun19,2024

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana became the first state to require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom under a bill signed Wednesday by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry.

The GOP-drafted legislation would require poster-sized displays of the Ten Commandments in “large, easy-to-read font” in all public classrooms, from kindergarten to state-funded universities. Although the bill has not received final approval from Landry, the deadline for gubernatorial action to sign or veto the bill has passed.

Opponents question the law’s constitutionality and warn that lawsuits will follow. Supporters say that the purpose of the event is not only religious, it has historical significance. In the language of the law, the Ten Commandments are described as “fundamental documents of our state and national government.”

Civil liberties groups announced plans to challenge the Louisiana law later Wednesday. Americans for the Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and the Religious Freedom Foundation said in a joint statement that “the law violates the separation of church and state and is clearly unconstitutional. .”

“The First Amendment promises that all of us will decide for ourselves what, if any, religious beliefs we hold and practice without government coercion.” “Politicians have no business imposing their preferred religious doctrines on students and families in public schools.”

The displays, which will be paired with a four-paragraph “context statement” describing how the Ten Commandments “have been a vital part of American public education for nearly three centuries,” must be in classrooms by early 2025.

The posters will be paid for by donations. State funds will not be used to implement the language-based mandate in the legislation.

The law also “authorizes,” but does not require, the display of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinance in K-12 public schools.

Similar bills are required Other states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Utah, have proposed displaying the Ten Commandments in classrooms. However, with the threat of legal battles over the constitutionality of such measures, no state other than Louisiana has succeeded in enacting the bills.

Legal battles over the display of the Ten Commandments in classrooms are not new.

In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law was unconstitutional and violated the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, which states that Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The Supreme Court found that the law did not have a secular purpose, but instead clearly served a religious purpose.

Louisiana’s controversial law comes in a new era of conservative leadership in the Bible Belt state under Landry, who replaced two-term Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in January.

The GOP also holds a two-thirds majority in the Legislature and Republicans hold elected office in every state, paving the way for lawmakers to push a conservative agenda during the legislative session that ended earlier this month.

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By 37ci3

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