Louisiana Legislature Passes Ten Commandments Law

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File

Presuming it is signed by Gov. Jeff Landry, Louisiana House Bill 71 will mandate that the Ten Commandments be displayed in all schools that receive public funding. Sponsored by Republican Rep. Dodie Horton, the final version of the bill passed 79-16 Tuesday night. Sources report that the only legislators opposed to the bill were Democrats.


HB71 states in part:

Each public school governing authority and the governing authority of each nonpublic school that receives state funds shall display the Ten Commandments in each building it uses and classroom in each school under its jurisdiction. The nature of the display shall be determined by each governing authority with a minimum requirement that the Ten Commandments shall be displayed on a poster or framed document that is at least eleven inches by fourteen inches. The text of the Ten Commandments shall be the central focus of the poster or framed document and shall be printed in a large, easily readable font.

The bill does not require schools, districts, or colleges to use their own money for the displays. That expenditure can come from private donors. 

It is a given that even if Landry signs the bill into law, legal challenges emerge. Axios notes that the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Americans United for Separation of Church have already issued a statement opposing the bill. It is a reasonably safe bet that the Satanic Temple and the Freedom from Religion Foundation will not be far behind. 

Curiously, one of the objections raised by the ACLU, SPLC, and Americans United was the fact that the bill mandates not just the display of the Ten Commandments, but also the specific verbiage. In this case, it is the King James Version and it appears in the text of the bill. While I am well aware that there are those who consider the KJV to be the only correct version of the Bible, I doubt that will be the biggest hurdle that the law will face. 


Presuming the law survives a court challenge, there is the matter of enforcement. No one believes that someone will go from school to school ensuring that the Ten Commandments are properly displayed in every classroom. After all, we're not talking about a rainbow flag here. Finding administrators who would not be willing to be compliance officers would be half if not three-quarters of the battle. Second, it is also a sure bet that once the Ten Commandments went up in classrooms, groups would demand that the central tenets of every other religion, or even the Satanic Temple, were similarly displayed. 

Finally, America is not a Christian nation. The argument can be successfully made that it was founded on Juedeo-Chrisitan principles, and at one time, Christianity was the dominant faith. But do a quick survey of the news. Setting aside the influx of people of other faiths, or even the effect of strident atheists, we have a country that is largely disinterested in having any kind of laws that govern its behavior. Many of us could not handle Ten Suggestions, let alone Ten Commandments. 

Related: Colorado Town Tries to Shutter Church Homeless Ministry

In the Old Testament, the Prophet Habakkuk cried out to God, demanding to know why the violence, wickedness, injustice, and oppression he saw in Judah had been allowed to run rampant. God answered Habakkuk's complaint, and the prophet probably did not like what he heard. God announced he would send an invasion of Chaldeans as a form of punishment. The Babylonian army would use violence, translated as ḥāmās, to administer justice. But God states that the Babylonians are also wicked and idolatrous, and they, too, shall be punished. Habakkuk finds some measure of comfort in the fact that God is perfect and that He will see to it that justice is done, even if Habakkuk is not exactly thrilled about the process.


Like Habakkuk, we are tempted to look at our nation and the world and say:

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

And there are plenty of culprits from which to choose. But by the same token, how many churches have set aside biblical preaching for seeker-sensitive stunts? How many have followed Andy Stanley down the rabbit hole of rejecting the Old Testament under the guise of being a "New Testament church?" How many times have we let wrath or pride run away with us? Forget about the 613 Mosaic Laws; we can barely follow the instructions Jesus left us. 

Ms. Horton's bill is well-intentioned. But as Paul said in Romans, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and America, at least for the present, is not interested in the Ten Commandments, wherever they may be posted.


Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member