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Louisiana Lawmakers Push for Ten Commandments in Public Schools Despite Constitutional Concerns

Louisiana lawmakers are advocating for the display of the Ten Commandments in all public school classrooms, a contentious move that raises constitutional questions yet garners support following a recent Supreme Court ruling.

Representative Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, and Senator Adam Bass, R-Bossier City, have co-authored House Bill 71, which passed the House Committee on Education despite constitutional concerns. The bill would mandate the display of the Ten Commandments, with proponents arguing it would withstand legal challenges.

Similar initiatives have faltered in other states due to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits government endorsement of religion. However, proponents point to the recent Supreme Court decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton, where the Court ruled in favor of a football coach's post-game prayers, suggesting a shift in interpretation of the Establishment Clause.

Opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, argue that such displays would impose Christian doctrine on students and violate their religious freedom. They stress that public schools already provide avenues for religious education without endorsing specific beliefs.

The bill passed the education committee with a vote of 10-3, with some legislators questioning whether the display adequately represents all faiths. If enacted, the bill would require the display of the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom, following similar requirements for displaying "In God We Trust" signs, which became law last year.

House Bill 71 allows schools to use their funds or accept donated versions of the display.

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