Louisiana Orders Every Classroom To Display Ten Commandments

The Republican-backed proposal, signed into law by Governor Jeff Landry on Wednesday, refers to the commandments as "the foundational documents of our state and national government".
State of Louisiana
State of Louisiana

Louisiana has become the first state in the United States to order that every public school classroom up to the university level display a poster of the Biblical Ten Commandments.

The Republican-backed proposal, signed into law by Governor Jeff Landry on Wednesday, refers to the commandments as "the foundational documents of our state and national government".

The law is anticipated to be challenged by civil rights groups, which argue that it violates the separation between church and state enshrined in the first amendment to the US Constitution, also known as the Establishment Clause.

It says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
The state law demands that a poster feature the sacred text in "large, easily readable font" on an 11-inch by 14-inch (28cm by 35.5cm) poster and that the commandments be "the central focus" of the display.

It will also be displayed alongside a four-paragraph "context statement" that describes how the commandments "were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries".

The posters must be displayed in all state-funded schools by 2025, but no public fund will be offered to cover the cost of the posters.

Similar laws have been recently proposed in other Republican-led states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah.

There have been various legal challenges regarding displaying the Ten Commandments in public.

In 1980, the United States Supreme Court overturned a similar Kentucky law mandating the document to be displayed in elementary and high schools.

In a 5-4 vote, the High Court ruled that the requirement to post the Ten Commandments "had no secular legislative purpose" and was "plainly religious in nature."

The court emphasized that in addition to criminal matters like killing and theft, the Ten Commandments also contained references to praising God and preserving the Sabbath day.

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