Civil liberties groups file lawsuit challenging Louisiana law requiring Ten Commandments in every classroom


Louisiana is facing a lawsuit from civil liberties groups over its new law requiring that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom. 

Plaintiffs in the suit include parents of Louisiana public school children, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed H.B. 71 into law last Wednesday. 

The law, a first for the nation, requires a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” in all public classrooms, from kindergartens to state-funded universities. 

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A Ten Commandments monument. (David Brewster/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Opponents of the measure had long warned of an impending lawsuit to fight the legislation, which they argue is a violation of separation of church and state and that the display will isolate students who are not Christian.

Proponents say the measure is not solely religious, but that it has historical significance. In the language of the law, the Ten Commandments are “foundational documents of our state and national government.”

Landry

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signs bills related to his education plan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Lafayette, La.  (Brad Bowie/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

The posters in Louisiana must be in place in classrooms by the start of 2025. They’ll be paired with a four-paragraph “context statement” describing how the Ten Commandments “were a prominent part of public education for almost three centuries.” 

The law also “authorizes” but does not require the display of other items in K-12 public schools, including: The Mayflower Compact, which was signed by religious pilgrims aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and is often referred to as America’s “First Constitution;” the Declaration of Independence; and the Northwest Ordinance, which established a government in the Northwest Territory — in the present day Midwest — and created a pathway for admitting new states to the Union.

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

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“The Ten Commandments law passed with overwhelming support in Louisiana’s state legislature and was enthusiastically signed by our Governor,” Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley said in a statement. “I look forward to implementing the law and defending Louisiana’s sovereign interest to select classroom content fundamental to America’s foundation.”  

Fox News Digital’s Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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