Holy Commandments, Batman! Louisiana's Gone Biblical

Well, folks, it seems Louisiana has decided to take a trip back in time – all the way back to the days when public schools doubled as Sunday School. That's right, the state recently passed a law mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom. Hallelujah!

Link to Louisiana House Bill 71 (text)

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Now, I'm not a legal scholar, but even I can see that this law raises some serious questions about the separation of church and state. I mean, the First Amendment's Establishment Clause seems pretty clear on this issue: the government can't make any laws establishing a religion. But hey, who needs the Constitution when you've got the Ten Commandments, right?

Religious Diversity: An Afterthought

Of course, this law also completely ignores the fact that not everyone in Louisiana is a Christian. In fact, there are plenty of students and families who practice other religions, or no religion at all. But hey, who cares about their beliefs, right? As long as we're all following the Ten Commandments, everything's peachy.

Video Evidence: Jeff Landry's Signature Moment

The video of Governor Jeff Landry signing the Ten Commandments bill into law has become a rallying point for opponents of the legislation. The video shows Landry surrounded by religious leaders and supporters, praising the law as a victory for "religious liberty." This imagery has further fueled the debate over the law's constitutionality and its potential impact on religious freedom in Louisiana.

Tell Governor Jeff Landry what you think on Twitter!

Education: Who Needs It?

Let's not forget the educational implications of this law. I mean, how exactly do the Ten Commandments relate to the curriculum? Are we going to be teaching math using the "Thou shalt not steal" commandment? Or maybe we'll use "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife" as a lesson in social studies?

Morality: A One-Size-Fits-All Solution

But perhaps the most troubling aspect of this law is its implication that morality is inextricably linked to religion. This simply isn't true. There are plenty of people who are ethical and compassionate without subscribing to any particular religious doctrine. Morality isn't about following a set of rules handed down from on high; it's about treating others with respect and empathy.

Legal Challenges: A Taxpayer-Funded Sideshow

Now, I'm no prophet, but I predict that this law is going to face some serious legal challenges. And guess who's going to foot the bill for those challenges? That's right, the taxpayers of Louisiana. So while the state's politicians are busy patting themselves on the back for their supposed moral victory, the rest of us will be left holding the bag.

*As I was writing this, I discovered that (just today 6/24/24) a lawsuit has been filed as a challenge to the new law. Here’s a link to the lawsuit Roake vs Brumley - https://assets.aclu.org/live/uploads/2024/06/3-24-cv-517-Roake-v.-Brumley.pdf

An Alternative Solution

So what's the solution? Well, I'm not sure, but I think it starts with recognizing that public schools are meant to be secular institutions that serve students of all backgrounds. If we want to promote values like kindness, respect, and integrity, we can do so without favoring any particular religion. We can create displays that celebrate our shared humanity, rather than focusing on our differences.

In the meantime, I'll be over here, reading the Constitution and wondering what the Founding Fathers would make of all this. I have a feeling they wouldn't be too impressed.

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Louisiana's Ten Commandments Law: Not Without a Fight

Louisiana's recent law mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom has sparked outrage and resistance from individuals and organizations across the country. These opponents argue that the law violates the separation of church and state and discriminates against students and families who don't adhere to Christianity. Let's take a look at some of the key players in this battle for religious freedom:

The ACLU: Leading the Legal Charge

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken the lead in challenging the Louisiana law in court. In conjunction with other organizations and individuals, the ACLU filed a lawsuit arguing that the law violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from establishing a religion. The ACLU has a long history of defending religious freedom and is likely to be a key player in any legal battles surrounding the Louisiana law.

Freedom From Religion Foundation: A Watchdog for Secularism

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a national nonprofit organization, is dedicated to protecting the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. The FFRF has been actively monitoring the Louisiana law and has offered legal assistance to those who wish to challenge it. The organization has a long track record of advocating for the rights of atheists and nonbelievers and is well-positioned to fight for religious freedom in Louisiana.

Rachel Laser and Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Rachel Laser, President and CEO of Americans United, has been a vocal critic of the Louisiana law, calling it a "blatant violation of the Establishment Clause." Americans United is a nonpartisan organization that advocates for religious freedom and the separation of church and state. The group has a history of successfully challenging similar laws in court and has recently joined the battle against the Louisiana law.

Chaz Stevens and His Malicious Compliance Posters

Chaz Stevens, a self-proclaimed "equal opportunity offender," is known for his creative and often provocative activism. In response to the Ten Commandments law, Stevens has launched a line of "malicious compliance" posters that feature the text of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's Eight "I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts," a satirical take on religious doctrine. Stevens argues that if the Ten Commandments are allowed in classrooms, so too should other religious texts, including those from parody religions. Check out his 10 Commandments art at the link below:

We Dissent Podcast: Amplifying the Opposition

The We Dissent podcast, hosted by two lawyers passionate about religious freedom, has dedicated several episodes to dissecting the Louisiana law and its potential legal challenges. The podcast aims to inform and mobilize listeners by interviewing experts, analyzing relevant court cases, and providing resources for those who want to take action.

The fight against Louisiana's Ten Commandments law is far from over. With individuals and organizations like Chaz Stevens, We Dissent, Rachel Laser, Americans United, the FFRF, and the ACLU leading the charge, the law's proponents are sure to face a formidable challenge. The outcome of this battle will have significant implications for religious freedom and the separation of church and state in Louisiana and beyond.