Louisiana to Require Poster-Size Display of Ten Commandments in Every Public Classroom

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Republican Governor Jeff Landry, who appears hellbent on dismantling Louisiana’s education system, signed a bill on Wednesday mandating that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom in the state.

The new legislation requires that a poster-sized display of the religious text be placed in all state-funded schools from kindergarten to university level. The commandments must be “in a large, easily readable font” and the poster no smaller than no smaller than 11 by 14 inches.

The law’s text portrays the commandments as having a “historical role” and states that including the religious text “in the education of our children is part of our state and national history, culture, and tradition.” According the Associated Press, the display of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence and the Northwest Ordinance is also authorized, but not required, by the new mandate.

Organizations opposing the mandate include the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. In a joint statement, the groups vowed to file a lawsuit challenging the Louisiana law and said it violated “the separation of church and state and is blatantly unconstitutional.”

During a GOP fundraiser dinner in Nashville last week, Landry boasted about welcoming the legal fight. “I’m going home to sign a bill that places the Ten Commandments in public classrooms,” he said during his keynote address. “And I can’t wait to be sued.”

Since taking office as Louisiana governor, Landry —  a Republican backed by former President Donald Trump — has sought to usher in a slew of conservative legislation. His predecessor, John Bel Edwards, who was the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, was unable to seek reelection due to consecutive term limits.

In March, bills helmed by the Republican governor were passed to lengthen time served for some prison sentences, to effectively eliminate parole for most jailed, to charge 17-year-olds as adults, and to allow methods for carrying out the death penalty beyond lethal injection. Then, in May, Landry signed a bill to reclassify drugs used in abortion as Schedule IV controlled dangerous substances, making it a crime to possess misoprostol and mifepristone without a prescription.

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