Louisiana To Face Lawsuit Over Ten Commandments School Displays

Louisiana To Face Lawsuit Over Ten Commandments School Displays

The Controversy Surrounding Louisiana’s Ten Commandments Display Law

Introduction

Recently, Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry signed a law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in each classroom of schools that accept state funding. This move has sparked controversy, with civil liberties groups planning to sue the state over the new law. In this opinion editorial, we will explore the arguments for and against the law, as well as its potential impact on religious freedom.

The Law and Its Supporters

The law, authored by Representative Dodie Horton, has received support from conservative groups who argue that it does not promote a specific religion because it does not use public funds to purchase the displays. Instead, schools can accept donated posters or documents, and the law directs the Louisiana Department of Education to “identify appropriate resources to comply” with the display requirements and list his information on its website. Horton has argued that the poster displays serve as a way to acknowledge the historical significance of the Ten Commandments and their role in American law.

Supporters of the law also tout a recent Supreme Court decision in favor of Joseph Kennedy, a high school football coach in Washington state who was fired for leading prayers at midfield after games. The court ruled that the prayers did not amount to a school endorsement of Christianity. According to supporters of the Ten Commandments law, the Kennedy decision did not rely on standards that have been applied since the 1971 case Lemon v. Kurtzman. Known as the Lemon test, the principles are used to determine whether a law or government violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits any law and government action from standing up an official state religion. In the Kennedy case, conservative justices looked at the history of rulings on the Establishment Clause and interpreted what they said was the intent of the Constitution’s authors rather than rely on the Lemon test.

The Opponents and Their Arguments

Opponents of the law, including the ACLU and its Louisiana chapter, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, argue that the law violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. They maintain that the law promotes specific religious beliefs to which many people in Louisiana do not subscribe. The groups argue that the law undermines the critical goal of making all students feel safe and welcome in public schools. They fear it will prevent schools from providing an equal education to all students, regardless of their faith.

Opponents also point to a long-standing precedent set by the Supreme Court in Stone v. Graham, a 1980 case that overturned a similar statute approved in Kentucky. In that decision, the court held that the First Amendment bars public schools from posting the Ten Commandments in classrooms. Finally, opponents of the law note that while the law does not include penalties for noncompliance, it still sends a message to students that certain religious beliefs are more acceptable than others.

Conclusion

The controversy surrounding Louisiana’s Ten Commandments display law highlights the ongoing debate over the separation of church and state, and the extent to which public schools should be able to acknowledge religious beliefs. While supporters of the law argue that it simply acknowledges the historical significance of the Ten Commandments, opponents maintain that it undermines religious freedom. Only time will tell how the legal battle over the new law plays out.

Originally Post From https://lailluminator.com/2024/06/19/ten-commandments-4/

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