Texas Bill Requiring Ten Commandments In Classrooms Dies Without A Vote
Texas lawmakers failed to vote Tuesday on a bill that would require schools to post the Ten Commandments in the classroom.
Texas Republicans have pushed several pieces of legislation to encourage religious expression in schools, one of which passed earlier this month allowing chaplains to counsel students at school. SB 1515 was introduced by Republican state Sen. Mayes Middleton earlier this year, but Republicans failed to get the bill approved before the midnight deadline on Tuesday despite it passing in the Senate in April.
Middleton’s bill would have required all “elementary and secondary” schools in the state to post a copy of the Ten Commandments in a “conspicuous place,” according to the text, and “be at least 16 inches wide and 20 inches tall.” If a school did not have a poster in their classroom, they would be required under the new law to accept a “privately donated poster or framed copy of the Ten Commandments provided that the poster or copy” met the requirements laid out in the bill.
The bill had raised concerns by some members of the state Legislature that it would force a particular religion on students, but Middleton argued that when schools took out prayer they went “downhill.”
“There is absolutely no separation of God and government, and that’s what these bills are about,” Middleton, co-sponsor of the bill and author of three similar bills that passed earlier this session, told The Washington Post. “That has been confused; it’s not real. When prayer was taken out of schools, things went downhill — discipline, mental health. It’s something I heard a lot on porches when I was campaigning. It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time.”
Many Texas Republicans had pointed to the Supreme Court ruling last year in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District that determined preventing Coach Joe Kennedy, a high school football coach in Washington, from praying on Bremerton school district property, or as an employee of the district, was a violation of his rights under the First Amendment.
Rachel Laser, president and chief executive of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told The New York Times that the bill was part of a “Christian Nationalist Crusade.”
“Forcing public schools to display the Ten Commandments is part of the Christian Nationalist crusade to compel all of us to live by their beliefs,” Laser said, according to the Times. “It’s not just in Texas.”
Middleton did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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