New law: Louisiana requires public classrooms to display Ten Commandments

The display must be there, and must be paid for by donations.

Schools in Louisiana will now be required to post the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom after Gov. Jeff Landry signed into law a measure passed by the state’s legislature, according to The Washington Post.

The law requires an 11-inch by 14-inch poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” in all public classrooms, from kindergarten to state-funded universities. A four-paragraph “context statement” describing how the Ten Commandments “were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries,” will be included with the display.

The posters must be on display in all classrooms receiving state funding by 2025.

“If you want to respect the rule of law, you’ve got to start from the original lawgiver, which was Moses” who got the commandments from God, Landry said after signing the law Wednesday.

Opponents immediately questioned the law’s constitutionality and vowed to challenge it in court, according to The Associated Press.

The law is “blatantly unconstitutional,” according to a joint statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The group says the display prevents students from getting an equal education and will keep children who have different beliefs from feeling safe at school.

“Even among those who may believe in some version of the Ten Commandments, the particular text that they adhere to can differ by religious denomination or tradition. The government should not be taking sides in this theological debate,” the groups said in the statement issued Wednesday.

The first amendment to the Constitution — known as the Establishment Clause — says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Under the law, state funds will not be used to implement the mandate. The posters would be paid for through donations.

Louisiana is the first state to require the display of the 10 Commandments. In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar Kentucky law requiring that the document be displayed in elementary and high schools.

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