New State Law Requires All Classrooms to Display Religious Commandments

( – The US Constitution’s First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a national religion. Louisiana has put that to the test with legislation requiring public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments. Experts believe the law will be challenged.

On Wednesday, June 19, Governor Jeff Landry (R) signed the law requiring classrooms to display the commandments. According to the law, the posters displaying the tenets of Christianity will not be paid for with state funds. Instead, donations will be used to pay for the posters. Landry signed the bill at a ceremony at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Lafayette.

The legislation also allows, but doesn’t mandate, classrooms to display the Declaration of Independence and the Northwest Ordinance, which created a pathway to admit new states to the Union and established the government in the Northwest Territory. They were also permitted to display The Mayflower Compact, which religious pilgrims signed on the Mayflower in 1620. The compact is often called America’s “First Constitution.”

The Ten Commandments must be displayed by January 1. The posters must be at least 11 inches by 14 inches. The commandants are required to be the “central focus” of the display and “printed in large, easily readable font.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and American Civil Liberties Union announced they were going to file a lawsuit against the law. In 1980, the US Supreme Court struck down a similar statute that was passed by Kentucky.

Heather Weaver, with the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, told The Washington Post that they believe the Louisiana law “will be a bridge too far” even for the new conservative-majority Supreme Court.

Landry isn’t concerned about being sued. During a fundraiser a few days before he signed the law he told Republicans that he couldn’t “wait to be sued” and that if people want to “respect the rule of law, [they’ve] got to start from the original law giver, which was Moses.”

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