Louisiana: ‘Public schools are not Sunday schools,’ ACLU to sue US state over Ten Commandments school displays

Author:Ashima Grover 2024-06-21 00:50 13

Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed a law on Wednesday requiring public school classrooms in Louisiana to display the Ten Commandments. Various civil liberties groups are seeking to challenge the move as “unconstitutional” by suing the US state. The new rule is expected to come into effect at any school that accepts state money, including universities and colleges.

FILE - Workers repaint a Ten Commandments billboard off of Interstate 71 on Election Day near Chenoweth, Ohio, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Louisiana has become the first state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom under a bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)(AP)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is one of the leading groups criticizing the Republican leader's decision. In addition, the Louisiana chapter of the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation intend to file a lawsuit against House Bill 71.

What is the new Ten Commandments legislation that was signed into law on Wednesday?

According to the rule penned by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, a poster or framed document (with dimensions of at least 11 inches x 14 inches) of the Ten Commandments is required to be put up in each classroom.

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This decision has made Louisiana the first US state to push for such a measure, which will encompass all public kindergartens to state-funded universities.

“If you want to respect the rule of law, you’ve got to start from the original lawgiver, which was Moses,” Landry said.

Meanwhile, the opposing sides are questioning the decision's constitutionality. However, Landry's side of the narrative claimed that the law is not merely a religiously motivated measure but rather that it has historical significance, declaring the Ten Commandments as “foundational documents of our state and national government.”

The poster-sized version of the Ten Commandments must be displayed in classrooms by the beginning of the new year. These posters will not be funded by the state but paid for through donations.

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The four civil rights groups that want to keep religion separate from the government released a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon. “Even among those who may believe in some version of the Ten Commandments, the particular text that they adhere to can differ by religious denomination or tradition. The government should not be taking sides in this theological debate.”

ACLU also announced their challenge to the new law on social media. The official X/Twitter page of the civil rights group posted on Wednesday, "BREAKING: We’re suing Louisiana for requiring all public schools to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom.

Public schools are not Sunday school."

“Along with @ACLUofLouisiana, @americansunited and @FFRF, we’ll fight with everything we have to stop this blatantly unconstitutional law," they added.

Other states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah, have faced similar proposals to post the Ten Commandments in classrooms. However, they haven't legalised the bills yet.

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Title:Louisiana: ‘Public schools are not Sunday schools,’ ACLU to sue US state over Ten Commandments school displays