Texas public schools may be required to display the Ten Commandments in a conspicuous place in every classroom beginning next school year. House Bill 1515 was introduced by Republican Senator Phil King and passed 17-12 in the Texas Senate on Thursday. It now passes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Ten Commandments are a series of dictates that, according to belief, were revealed to the prophet Moses on top of Mount Sinai. They are also known as the Decalogue and both Christianity and Judaism consider them fundamental to the moral law. Different religious groups follow different traditions as to how to interpret and enumerate them.
As The Texas Tribune recalls, this is the latest attempt by Texas Republicans to inject religion into public schools. In 2021 they introduced a bill that became law and obliged schools to display signs with the legend "In God We Trust".
Senator Phil King King noted that the Ten Commandments are part of America's heritage and it is time to bring them back to the classroom.
[The bill] will remind students all across Texas of the importance of the fundamental foundation of America.
Separately, the state Senate also passed Senate Bill 1396, which would allow public and charter schools to adopt a policy requiring all campuses to set aside time for students and employees to read the Bible or other religious texts and pray.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said in a statement that both bills are victories for religious freedom in Texas:
I believe that you cannot change the culture of the country until you change the culture of mankind. “Bringing the Ten Commandments and prayer back to our public schools will enable our students to become better Texans.
— Office of the Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (@LtGovTX) April 20, 2023