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Louisiana becomes the first state to require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in all public schools and universities

The legislation's sponsor Dodie Horton clarifies that, rather than promoting a specific religion, the measure seeks to display the universal moral code that students should follow.

Jeffe Landry

(Gage Skidmore- Wikimedia Commons)

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On Wednesday, Louisiana's Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed into law a bill that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom in the state starting in 2025.

The law specifies that the commandments must be displayed in every classroom in public elementary, middle and high schools, as well as in public university classrooms. They must be on a poster or framed document at least 11 inches by 14 inches, with the text in "a large, easily readable font."

In addition, each poster must include a "context statement" explaining that the Ten Commandments "were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries."

The law does not require institutions to pay for these displays instead allowing them to accept funds or donations to cover these costs. Schools are also allowed to display the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence and the Northwest Ordinance under this new mandate.

Proponents of the law argue that the Ten Commandments don't just have religious value, but also significant historical value, arguing that they have influenced the legal foundation of the United States. Matt Krause, an attorney with the First Liberty Institute, noted: "The Ten Commandments are there, time and time again, as the basis and foundation for the system that America was built upon."

During legislative debates, State Representative Dodie Horton, the Republican sponsor of the legislation, justified the measure as a necessary response to moral challenges in the classroom. "Given all the junk our children are exposed to in classrooms today, it is imperative that we put the Ten Commandments back in a prominent position," Horton said. She stressed that the law does not promote a specific religion, but instead offers a universal moral code for students to follow.

However, critics such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation vowed to take legal action against what they consider a "blatantly unconstitutional" measure. They argue that the law violates the separation of church and state, claiming that the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to decide their own religious beliefs without government intervention.