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Louisiana may become the first state to mandate displaying the Ten Commandments in classrooms.

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Louisiana could soon be making headlines for a new law requiring public schools to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom. House Bill 71 recently passed in the state House of Representatives with a vote of 79-16 and is now awaiting approval from Republican Governor Jeff Landry. If signed into law, schools receiving state funding would be mandated to display a poster or framed document with the text of the Ten Commandments in a large, easily readable font. The bill specifies the exact language that must be used on these displays.

Republican state Rep. Dodie Horton, the sponsor of the bill, believes that the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in classrooms will provide a moral code for students. She argues that the Commandments are rooted in legal history and should be displayed in educational settings. However, opponents of the legislation, including Democrats and various civil rights organizations, argue that this requirement violates the establishment clause of the US Constitution. They believe that the government should not promote any specific religious texts in public schools.

Supporters of the bill have cited a recent US Supreme Court decision as justification for the legislation. In Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the Court ruled in favor of a high school football coach who faced disciplinary action for praying on the field. The decision was seen as lowering the barrier between church and state, allowing for more religious expression in public spaces. Despite this ruling, critics of House Bill 71 anticipate legal challenges if the law is enacted. The ACLU and other organizations have already expressed their concerns over the Constitutionality of the legislation.

In response to the potential controversy surrounding the bill, the ACLU, the ACLU of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation released a joint statement expressing their opposition. They argue that the requirement to display the Ten Commandments in classrooms infringes on the fundamental right to religious freedom for students and families. The statement emphasizes that public schools should not promote any specific religious beliefs and should remain inclusive of students from all faiths or no faith at all.

As the debate over House Bill 71 continues, all eyes are on Governor Landry to see whether he will sign the legislation into law. If signed, the bill is expected to face legal challenges from opponents who argue that it violates the separation of church and state. The controversy surrounding the mandate to display the Ten Commandments in classrooms highlights the ongoing debate over the role of religion in public education. Ultimately, the decision on whether to require the Commandments in Louisiana classrooms will have far-reaching implications for the state and potentially set a precedent for similar legislation in other parts of the country.

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