TX Bill Would Allow Public Schools to Post the Ten Commandments in Classrooms

Ed Schipul is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

State Representative Flynn claims teachers want to display the commandments in their classrooms, however opponents say it is unconstitutional.

Texas State Representative Dan Flynn has filed HB 307 which if passed, would permit teachers in public schools to post the Ten Commandments in their classrooms. The bill explicitly states that school officials, especially trustees of the school board, cannot stop copies of such commandments being posted in a prominent location inside classrooms. Rep. Flynn opines that young people would find the commandments meaningful and the teacher could put up this overtly religious material just like if the class wants to put up Halloween or Thanksgiving or any other related decorations.

This is not the first time the Texas political landscape has witnessed legal battles related to public displays of the Ten Commandments. It is a surety that sparks will fly this time as well if Texas lawmakers give their approval to HB 307 during the coming January 8, 2019 legislative session. The full position as per U.S. law has been summarized by Professor Bob Tuttle of George Washington University Law School. The law and religion professor described this bill as an unconstitutional one. He pointed out that children cannot be held captive to specific government messages. Flynn added that it is immaterial whether the bill makes religious teaching an optional one, the fact is the state must not intrude into the company of God.

The Texas politician has a ready answer when questioned about his motives for filing HB 307. He claimed that teachers have allegedly told him they simply wish to display, not teach, the Ten Commandments within their classrooms. The Republican said teachers want to install a list of healthy and good guidelines for a better life. Flynn rationalized by saying that nowadays everyone questions everyone on all things and added that for a teacher, the classroom is her office, and a teacher could put anything she or he wants in the classroom. He will not allow the school boards to stop them if they wish to do so.

Professor Tuttle is not in agreement with such thought. He said that any person who places the Ten Commandments inside classrooms and spends money for its legal defense will invariably lose and will then have to play all legal fees. For Flynn, such bills are well-worn paths. He has tried before and failed to push this measure during past legislative sessions.

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