La. faces lawsuits over mandatory display of 10 Commandments

Published 6:01 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

Four organizations announced they will file suit to challenge the new state law that requires schools to display the Ten Commandments on Wednesday.

HB 71 was signed into law by Gov. Jeff Landry earlier this week. It requires that schools that receive state funds display the Ten Commandments in every building and classroom. The legislation requires that the Ten Commandments be displayed on a poster or framed document at least 11 inches-by-14 inches in size.

Louisiana is now the only state that mandates that schools display the Ten Commandments.

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In a joint statement on Wednesday, 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 announced their suit in response to the HB 71, calling it “blatantly unconstitutional.”

“The First Amendment promises that we all get to decide for ourselves what religious beliefs, if any, to hold and practice, without pressure from the government. Politicians have no business imposing their preferred religious doctrine on students and families in public schools.”

The news release claims the law violated the “longstanding Supreme Court precedent” set by Stone V. Graham, which determined that the First Amendment prohibits public schools from posting them in classrooms.

The Tennessean reported that in a speech last Saturday, Landry said that he “can’t wait to be sued” over the law.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy voiced his support for the law during a reporter conference on Thursday. He said that displaying the Ten Commandments will “reinforce a moral code” in the younger generation.

“Every major religion has something akin to the Ten Commandments,” he said. “As we a kind of breakdown in civil society with a loss of moral code, we have to ask ourselves, ‘Wait a second. Maybe it would be nice if every day the student walked in and it was reinforced that thou shall not steal, thou shall not bear false witness, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall honor their mother and father – and I could go down the list.”