Texas to Require Displaying the Ten Commandments in Classrooms
The lone star state may be thwarting religious liberty rather than supporting it with SB 1515.
The Texas Senate recently passed a bill (SB 1515)that would require the Ten Commandments to be framed and displayed conspicuously in public schools across the state. Schools that do not have a poster or similar display of the Ten Commandments must acquire one by using either public funds or by accepting a private donation. The bill requires that the display be at least 16 x 20 inches in size and clearly readable from any position in the classroom.
Rep. Candy Noble (R) of Texas introduced the bill as a way of “recognizing American foundational heritage”. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also endorses the display of the Ten Commandments saying that it would encourage children to become better Texans. However, Rep. James Talarico (D) found the bill “exclusionary and arrogant” as well as “unconstitutional”, “un-American”, and “un-Christian”.
Meanwhile, John Litzler, general counsel and director of public policy for the Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission spoke on behalf of the organization. In his words, members had concerns about public funding being used for religious items. Others believed that discussions of religion should be reserved for the home rather than school.
For now, SB 1515 is still in committee. However, if it passes, it might be one of the most pressing threats to Texans’ religious liberty and to the separation of church and state in Texas as a whole. Not only that, but it sets legal precedent for copycat bills in other states — and possibly the entire nation.