NewsLocal NewsIn Your ParishLafayette Parish


Ten Commandments to be displayed in Louisiana classrooms

Ten Commandments must be displayed in Louisiana classrooms, critics say law is illegal
Screenshot 2024-06-20 at 11.26.51 AM.png
Posted at 3:11 PM, Jun 20, 2024

LAFAYETTE PARISH — Four groups - American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation - say they plan to file a lawsuit challenging Louisiana’s new law which would require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in all Louisiana public schools as of 2025.

 The new law was passed on Wednesday and requires all public schools, and any private schools that receive state funding, to display the Ten commandments on every building, in every classroom.

 It's part of Governor Jeff Landry’s ‘Dream Big’ education package which includes a series of controversial bills he passed. Already critics are challenging H.B.71 saying it infringes on Americans and their constitutional right to freedom of religion.

"I agree with the principles of the Ten Commandments. I am a Christian, I was raised Catholic but I still find this law to be inappropriate. I find it to be exclusionary, I think it is unnecessary, I think it undermines religious freedoms and I think its unconstitutional," said State Sen. Royce Duplessis, D-New Orleans.

 Alanah Odoms, Executive Director for the ACLU said: “As we take on this legal battle, we do so with the understanding that faith is a vital part of the lives of many Louisianians. That being said, religious freedom and the separation of church and state are two of our nation’s guiding principles that simply cannot be ignored or compromised. Governor Landry’s mandate to display the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom undermines religious freedom and infringes upon students’ and parents’ constitutional rights.”

 The law mandates the Ten Commandments be the central focus of the poster or framed document and must be printed in a “large, easily readable font.”

 Schools are not required to buy the displays with public funds but can accept donations or donated displays.

 Americans United for the Separation of Church and state- one of the groups that’s threatening to sue argues that the new law violates the first amendment.

“In America, we all should be free to believe as we choose, of course so long as we don’t harm others.” said Rachel Laser, President and CEO of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Laser says the governor’s bill sets a dangerous precedent for other states.

 “What we’ve seen across the country is that when one state passes the law, other states get the same idea and they pass the same laws,” said Laser. 

In May, a group of more than 100 pastors and religious leaders of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship signed a petition calling on Governor Jeff Landry to veto H.B. 71 saying, “the responsibility of religious education belongs to families.”

Here's the law; the Ten Commandments are included in this document: