Louisiana Becomes First State to Mandate Ten Commandments in Public School Classrooms

Aiden Starling

Updated Thursday, June 20, 2024 at 6:04 AM CDT

Louisiana Becomes First State to Mandate Ten Commandments in Public School Classrooms

In a landmark decision, Louisiana has become the first state to mandate the display of the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom. The legislation, signed into law by Republican Governor Jeff Landry, requires a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in "large, easily readable font" to be placed in all public classrooms from kindergarten through state-funded universities. The text of the Ten Commandments must be the central focus of the display.

Governor Landry, who described the bill as “one of (his) favorites,” stated, “If you want to respect the rule of law, you've got to start from the original lawgiver, which was Moses.” Opponents, however, have questioned the law’s constitutionality and have vowed to challenge it in court. Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, issued a joint statement opposing the law, arguing that it will lead to "unconstitutional religious coercion of students" and violates the First Amendment.

Proponents of the measure argue that the Ten Commandments are “foundational documents of our state and national government” and that their display in classrooms has historical significance. Louisiana state Rep. Dodie Horton, the Republican author of the bill, believes the Ten Commandments provide a "moral code" for classrooms and are rooted in legal history.

The law includes a four-paragraph “context statement” describing the historical role of the Ten Commandments in American public education. Additionally, the legislation authorizes, but does not require, the display of other historical documents such as the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinance in K-12 public schools.

The posters must be in place by the start of 2025, and state funds will not be used to implement the mandate; the displays will be funded through donations. The law has sparked nationwide attention and debate over the separation of church and state, especially in light of a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a similar Kentucky law was unconstitutional.

Supporters referenced the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which ruled that a high school football coach's prayers were private speech protected by the First Amendment. This decision has been cited to argue that allowing religious expression in public spaces does not necessarily violate the establishment clause.

Louisiana, ensconced in the Bible Belt, is experiencing a new era of conservative leadership under Governor Landry, who replaced two-term Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards in January. The GOP holds a supermajority in the Louisiana Legislature, and Republicans hold every statewide elected position, further solidifying the law's passage.

Civil liberties groups have vowed to challenge the law in court, arguing it prevents students from getting an equal education and will make those with different beliefs feel unsafe at school. The implementation of this law marks a significant shift in the role of religious texts in public education, igniting a fierce debate over the constitutional balance between freedom of religion and the separation of church and state.

Conservative Bias:

Well, here we go again, folks! The liberals are losing their minds over Louisiana's common-sense decision to bring back the Ten Commandments into public school classrooms. It’s about time we remembered the foundational principles that made this country great, and nothing exemplifies that better than the Ten Commandments. Of course, the left-wing radicals and their cronies in the ACLU are crying "unconstitutional!" They want to erase every trace of morality and faith from our society. They'd rather our kids be indoctrinated with their secular, socialist agenda than learn about the moral code that has guided civilizations for millennia. Governor Jeff Landry and the Republicans in Louisiana are standing up for our values, and naturally, the liberal elites can't stand it. They’ll drag this through the courts, wasting taxpayer money, because they can't stand the idea of anything that might instill a sense of right and wrong in our children. This is just another example of the left's relentless war on religion and tradition. Kudos to Governor Landry and the brave legislators who are fighting to preserve our heritage!

Liberal Bias:

This latest move by Louisiana's Republican-dominated government is nothing short of a blatant assault on the constitutional principle of separation of church and state. Governor Jeff Landry and his GOP cronies have decided that pushing a religious agenda is more important than respecting the diverse beliefs of all students. By mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom, they are effectively endorsing a specific religious doctrine, coercing students into a religious environment whether they like it or not. This is a direct violation of the First Amendment, and it’s not just unconstitutional—it’s un-American. The ACLU and other civil rights groups are right to challenge this in court. This is not about morality; it’s about imposing a narrow, conservative Christian worldview on everyone. It’s a dangerous precedent that could lead to further erosion of our civil liberties. Louisiana's GOP supermajority is using their power to turn public schools into religious indoctrination centers, and it's a disgrace. This is what happens when you let religious extremists run the government. The fight to protect our secular public education system is more crucial than ever, and we must stand against this unconstitutional overreach!

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