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Texas bills would force classrooms to display the Ten Commandments (KJV edition)
How will teachers explain “adultery” to 5-year-olds? Who knows. But there is a loophole.
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Legislation filed by Texas Republicans would require all public schools to place the Ten Commandments—King James’ Version only—on the walls of every classroom. It’s yet another attempt to shove Christianity on all students.
The Ten Commandments
I AM the LORD thy God.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven images.
Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor ’s house.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor ’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
The same people who don’t want high schoolers learning about sex, systemic racism, or LGBTQ people, have very specific things they want kindergartners to know about when it comes to adultery and their neighbor’s maidservants. (How teachers plan to explain “adultery” to 5-year-olds is anyone’s guess, but that’s apparently outside the bounds of age-appropriate questions.)
The bills say the posters can be privately donated or made “using public funds.” But while it says the size and typeface must be “legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom,” there’s nothing that says it must be written in English… which should come as a joy to activists like Chaz Stevens, who previously sent schools “In God We Trust” posters written in Arabic (and other languages).
More to the point, though, what problem would these posters solve? (Answer: none.) No potential school shooter has ever plotted out a path of destruction only to reconsider after realizing the Ten Commandments say “Thou shalt NOT kill.” Students’ lives will not be any better because they have to stare at a list of rules in their classrooms that includes mandates against believing in false gods, not making “graven images,” taking God’s name in vain, and keeping the Sabbath day holy.
And if students need a sign to remind them not to murder others, they have bigger problems. It would be great if they could see a mental health professional, but different Texas lawmakers are currently trying to replace those experts with Christian chaplains.
These bills are also an endorsement of Christianity by the government, in direct violation of the Establishment Clause. The fact that the first commandment is selectively capitalized only highlights that point. The message is not that students should believe in God; it’s that they should embrace conservative Christianity specifically.
The first hearing on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday.
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