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GOP Bill Would Require Texas Schools To Hang Copy Of Ten Commandments In Every Classroom

Texas Republicans' SB 1515 would require public schools to display a copy of the Ten Commandments in all K-12 classrooms.

A split image with Texas Governor Greg Abbott on the left and a monument displaying the Ten Commandments on the right.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images & Tony Savino/Corbis via Getty Images

The Texas legislature introduced a bill this week that would require all public schools to display a copy of the Ten Commandments in all K-12 classrooms in the state.

The start of SB 1515 reads:

"A public elementary or secondary school shall display in a conspicuous place in each classroom of the school a durable poster or framed copy of the Ten Commandments that meets the requirements of Subsection (b)."

The bill is incredibly specific, even going so far as to dictate the required size of the poster and the typeface.

"A poster or framed copy of the Ten Commandments described by Subsection (a) must:"
"(1) include the text of the Ten Commandments as provided by Subsection (c) in a size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom in which the poster or framed copy is displayed;"
"and (2) be at least 15 inches wide and 20 inches tall."

It also contains the full text of the King James version of the Ten Commandments in the bill.

As NBC News reporter Mike Hixenbaugh pointed out on Twitter, the chosen language—and some of the concepts themselves—is quite likely to be confusing for elementary school students.

In addition to mandating any classroom that does not already have a copy of the Ten Commandments "must" accept a donated poster and any extra copies "must" be offered to other schools, it allows the use of taxpayer money to purchase the religious posters.

Since Texas Governor Greg Abbott argued before the US Supreme Court for the Ten Commandments to be permitted to remain displayed on the state capitol grounds while he was state Attorney General, it seems quite likely Abbott will sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.

Abbott celebrated that win on Twitter last year, stating he will "always defend the values & ideals that shape our state."

There were a lot of people upset by the bill and its inherent hypocrisy.

The same people trying to make it impossible to talk about sex in school want a big poster on the classroom wall that talks about adultery.

A lot of people pointed out the United States Constitution bans the establishment of a state religion in the First Amendment.

Requiring state-funded institutions to display an Evangelical Christian version of a religious document in all classrooms is patently unconstitutional.

The beginning of the First Amendment reads:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

It is likely SB 1515 would eventually be struck down as unconstitutional if signed into law, but it serves as evidence of the Republican party's ongoing efforts to make Evangelical Christianity the United State's official religion.

Many non-Evangelical Christian denominations do not cling to the version of the Bible created by English King James in 1611. The King James Bible was created as a political compromise between the established Anglican church and the growing ultra-conservative Puritan movement.

For a party that loves to quote the Founding Fathers and use their intentions to justify their own actions in the modern day, it doesn't seem like they paid very much attention to their many treatises opposing an American theocracy.