PJI Weighs In On Texas 10 Commandments Bill

Austin, TX  The state of Texas is considering a bill that would require public schools to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom. On April 5th, the president of Pacific Justice Institute, Brad Dacus, spoke in support of SB1515 to the state senate’s Committee on Education.
SB1515 was sponsored by state Senator Phil King (R). It would require the state’s public elementary and secondary schools to display the Ten Commandments in each classroom as a part of America’s history, tradition, and the origins of American law. These types of displays were once traditional and accepted as an expression of religious liberty: organizations were permitted to distribute copies of the Ten Commandments to school groups. This practice was restricted in 1980, when the court applied what has come to be known as the Lemon test, but the Supreme Court’s decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District  in 2022 marked a notable shift and once again permitted government displays of religious content as long as it comports with America’s history and tradition.

In speaking to the Texas Senate Committee on Education, Brad Dacus said, “The Ten commandments, and the posting of the Ten Commandments, is an acknowledgement of our history and our heritage, not just generally but of American law itself. You can trace the origins of American law — from bankruptcy law to criminal law to tort law to family law — back to the Ten Commandments and their history.” He went on to say, “Our youth today need to understand our truth. They need to understand our nation and where we came. To prevent them from knowing our history leaves them handicapped in understanding where we should go and how we should get there.”

Following Mr. Dacus’ testimony, SB1515 was passed by the Texas senate. It is now pending in the state’s House for consideration.

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