Bill Would Allow Texas Teachers To Post Commandments

A Texas legislator has introduced a bill that would open the door for public school teachers to display the Ten Commandments in their classrooms.

Under the measure, school boards can no longer stop teachers from putting up the Decalogue. 

“This is necessary to protect teachers who have the desire to establish that the country’s historical background is based on Judeo-Christian traditions,” State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “This might by a reassuring step to people that we are wanting to maintain and hold on those historical findings of how our country was founded.”

The Supreme Court has been very clear on the issue of the Ten Commandments in public schools. In Stone v. Graham, the high court struck down a Kentucky law that mandated such displays in the public schools.

David Masci, a senior researcher at the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life said the bill is problematic, noting that courts are especially sensitive to religious materials in schools.

“If the bill became law and if a court looked at the law and determined that its primary purpose was to promote religion…a federal court probably would rule that it violates the First Amendment,” he said.

Kelly Shackelford, president of the Religious Right legal organization Liberty Institute based in Plano, Texas, said Flynn’s bill will serve as a challenge to the Stone v. Graham decision.