Louisiana sued for displaying the Ten Commandments in schools

Nine Louisiana families have sued the state over a new law requiring every public school classroom to display a poster of the Ten Commandments.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court on Monday, comes less than a week after Gov. Jeff Landry approved the Republican-backed measure.

It is expected to launch a lengthy legal battle that could reach the US Supreme Court.

This law is the first of its kind in the United States and governs all classrooms up to and including college.

Under HB71, by 2025, every classroom receiving state funding must prominently display the biblical text in “large, easy-to-read font” on an 11-inch by 14-inch poster ( 28 cm x 35.5 cm).

The law states that the commandments must be the “main highlight” of the show.

The complaint, backed by civil rights groups, says such displays violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the separation of church and state, and “oppress force” for students to follow the religion favored by the state.

The law “simply cannot be reconciled with the fundamental principles of religious liberty that motivated our country’s founding,” the plaintiffs, who include rabbis and pastors, wrote. ”.

“It sends the harmful and religiously divisive message that students who do not follow the Ten Commandments do not belong in their own school community.”

The court filing also claims that the new law’s central premise — that the Ten Commandments have long been associated with public education in the United States — is based in part on a misquote.

In the law, Louisiana lawmakers quoted the fourth president, James Madison, as saying: “We have staked the entire future of our new nation…on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”

According to the lawsuit, “that quote is fabricated.”

Governor Landry’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

A representative for Republican author Dodie Horton declined to comment.

Mrs. Horton has previously spoken about the importance of returning a “moral code” to the classroom. She was quoted as saying “it was like hope was everywhere” when the bill was rubber-stamped by the governor.

There have been many legal battles in the past over the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings, including in courthouses, police stations and schools.

In 1980, in Stone v Graham, the Supreme Court struck down a similar Kentucky law requiring this material to be displayed in elementary and secondary schools. This precedent has been cited by groups opposing the Louisiana law.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the requirement “has no secular legislative purpose” and is “clearly religious in nature” – noting that the commandments do mention the worship of God. God.


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