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Louisiana requires Ten Commandments in all public school, university classrooms

by WorldTribune Staff, June 21, 2024 Contract With Our Readers

Louisiana Republican Gov. Jeff Landry on Wednesday signed legislation that will require the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school and university classroom in the state.

The bill reads: “History records that James Madison, the fourth President of the United States of America, stated that ‘(w)e have staked the whole future of our new nation . . . upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.' ”

Public school classrooms from kindergarten to universities must have the Ten Commandments displayed no later than January 1, 2025.

When asked about challenges to the legislation, the governor said bring it on.

“I’m going home to sign a bill that places the Ten Commandments in public classrooms,” he said during a recent GOP fundraiser in Tennessee. “I can’t wait to be sued.”

Landry was alluding to conservative legal groups who have been itching for another chance at reversing a Supreme Court ruling which shot down a similar state law in Kentucky more than 30 years ago on the grounds that the state violated the First Amendment’s prohibition against any laws “respecting an establishment of religion.”

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the public display of the Ten Commandments in two Kentucky county courthouses was similarly unconstitutional.

The first lawsuit is likely to come from the ACLU, which said in a statement: “Our public schools are not Sunday schools, and students of all faiths – or no faith – should feel welcome in them.”

The new law signed by Landry requires all public schools in Louisiana to display the text exactly as written in the bill, and in “a poster or framed document that is at least eleven inches by fourteen inches” – at minimum – and “in a large, easily readable font.”

It also requires a 200-word “context statement” arguing that the Ten Commandments were “a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries” up until 50 years ago.

The bill outlines that no state funding is to be used to place the Ten Commandments into public school classrooms — rather, schools may accept donated funds to purchase displays, or accept donated displays.

“I’m going to organize an effort, and we will fund it,” Dean Young told Breitbart News on Wednesday ahead of the bill’s signing. Young is a Christian activist who has worked for 30 years to restore the Ten Commandments to classrooms across the United States.

“There will be a Ten Commandments for every single classroom in Louisiana, at LSU, at every college — and it will be funded,” Young continued.

The bill also allows, but does not require, the display of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinance. The bill mandates that displays be paired with a four-paragraph context statement, in which the Ten Commandments are described as “a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries.”

The Supreme Court in 2022 revisited the First Amendment’s establishment clause to allow a high school football coach to pray with his team on the 50-yard line.

Coach Joseph Kennedy claimed that Washington state’s Bremerton School District violated his religious freedom after staff repeatedly asked him to move his prayer to somewhere less conspicuous, as to avoid the appearance of the school’s endorsement of a religious view.

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