“Louisiana Law Mandates Ten Commandments in Public Schools”



Louisiana has become the first US state to require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom. The legislation, signed into law by Republican Governor Jeff Landry, mandates a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in all public classrooms, from kindergarten to state-funded universities. However, the law has been met with opposition from civil rights groups and organizations which oppose religion in government, who have promised to challenge it in court.

Louisiana State Requires Ten Commandments in Public Classrooms

Louisiana has become the pioneering state in mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools. This directive follows a conservative shift under the new governor and a Republican-dominated Legislature.

The legislation signed by Governor Jeff Landry compels public schools, from kindergarten to state-funded universities, to display a poster-sized Ten Commandments. Critics question the constitutionality of the law and plan for legal challenges, while proponents maintain the Commandments’ historical significance, referring to them as the “foundational documents of our state and national government”.

These educational posters, accompanied by a context statement highlighting the Commandments’ role in American education for nearly three centuries, must be installed by 2025. The law stipulates that the initiative be funded through donations, not state funds.

The law also encourages, but does not insist on, the display of historical documents like the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinance in K-12 public schools. Post signing the law at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Lafayette, several civil rights groups expressed intentions to legally challenge the law.

Critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, argue the law violates equal education rights and may cause discomfort for students of different beliefs. They also emphasize that the government should refrain from choosing sides in theological debates, given the varying interpretations of the Commandments across religious denominities.

The enactment of this law marks a new phase of conservative governance in the Bible Belt state under Governor Landry. The state’s political landscape, featuring a Republican supermajority, facilitates the promotion of a conservative agenda. Similar legislation has been proposed in Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah. However, due to potential legal issues regarding their constitutionality, no state other than Louisiana has successfully passed such laws.

Legal disputes over displaying the Ten Commandments in classrooms aren’t novel. In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed a similar Kentucky law unconstitutional, stating it violated the U.S. Constitution’s establishment clause as it served a predominantly religious purpose.

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