New law requires all Louisiana public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments

Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (AP) – Louisiana has become the first state to require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in all public school classrooms, the latest move by a GOP-dominated Legislature pushing a conservative agenda under leadership of a new governor.

The legislation passed by the Republican governor. Jeff Landry signed a law Wednesday requiring the display of the Ten Commandments in poster format, in “large, easily readable print” in all public classrooms, from kindergarten to publicly funded universities.

Opponents questioned the constitutionality of the law and vowed to challenge it in court. Supporters said the measure was not just religious, but had historical significance. In legal parlance, the Ten Commandments are “the founding documents of our state and national government.”

The posters, which will be accompanied by a four-paragraph “contextual statement” describing the Ten Commandments “have been an important part of American public education for nearly three centuries,” are to be in place in classrooms of here in early 2025.

By law, public funds will not be used to implement the mandate. The posters would be financed through donations.

The law also “permits,” but does not require, the display of other materials in K-12 public schools, including: The Mayflower Compact, which was signed by religious pilgrims aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and is often called America’s “First Constitution.” the Declaration of Independence and the Northwest Ordinance, which established a government in the Northwest Territory – in what is now the Midwest – and paved the way for new states to be admitted to the Union.

Shortly after the governor signed the bill Wednesday at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Lafayette, civil rights groups and organizations that want to keep religion out of government vowed to sue legal action to challenge it.

The law prevents students from accessing an equal education and will prevent children with different beliefs from feeling safe at school, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation, said Wednesday. Church and State and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. afternoon.

“Even among those who believe in some version of the Ten Commandments, the particular text they adhere to may differ by religious denomination or tradition. The government should not take sides in this theological debate,” the groups said.

The controversial law, in a state nestled in the Bible Belt, comes in a new era of conservative leadership in Louisiana under Landry, who replaced the two-term Democratic governor. John Bel Edwards in January. The GOP holds a large majority in the Legislature and Republicans hold every elected office statewide, paving the way for those proposed to pass a conservative agenda.

Similar bills requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in classrooms have been proposed in other states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Utah. However, facing threats of legal battles over the constitutionality of such measures, no state other than Louisiana has succeeded in passing these bills.

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

In 1980, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law was unconstitutional and violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states that Congress may “make no law respecting the establishment of a religion “. The High Court found that the law had no secular objective but rather served a clearly religious objective.


Associated Press reporter Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed.


The story has been corrected to clarify that the time for the governor’s action has not expired. The governor signed the bill Wednesday.

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