Bring on the microscope, says bill sponsor

Bring on the microscope, says bill sponsor

Bring on the microscope, says bill sponsor

A Louisiana state representative says she's braced for the legal challenges ahead as her state looks poised to be first to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every classroom.

Rep. Dodie Horton (R) believes her bill (HB 71), which mandates that a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in "large, easily readable font" be required in all kindergarten to state-funded university classrooms, can stand up to the scrutiny that is coming.

Horton, Dodie (R-LA) Horton

Similar measures have failed in Texas, South Carolina, and Utah, though the latter's legislature eventually approved a lesser version of its initial House bill. Beginning July 1, the Ten Commandments will be added to a required "thorough" study list of historical documents and principles there.

"I'm proud of Utah, and I look forward to that being our next step," Rep. Horton told Washington Watch Thursday.

She is thrilled that the Ten Commandments are on track to being prominently displayed in all Louisiana classrooms.

Leftist groups have responded with predictable outrage. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have already released a statement calling the mandate unconstitutional, CBN reports.

Horton, who last year sponsored another law that requires all schools to display the national motto "In God We Trust" in public classrooms, said she is accustomed to outraging political opponents.

"I'm used to carrying legislation that the Left absolutely abhors, from our legislation that will become law this year that people cannot indoctrinate our children in the classroom, to standing on our biblical beliefs. I'm used to that type of attack," she said. "Our children deserve all we can give them, and I'm so excited that Louisiana is going to take the lead in this model legislation."

Maybe the time is right

In the case of Stone v. Graham in 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that a Kentucky statute requiring the posting of the Ten Commandments in state classrooms was unconstitutional. That ruling established that government displays of the biblical principles must have a secular purpose and cannot be motivated primarily by Christian faith preferences.

Now, more than 40 years later, Rep. Horton hopes her bill's historical considerations – and a more conservative Supreme Court – will provide more legal cover.

"We praise God, and we definitely feel like we're going to meet that challenge," she told show host Tony Perkins. "We're focused on the historical aspect of the Ten Commandments, which all of our laws are derived from. We also included that if a school would like to put up other historical documents like the Mayfield Flower Compact, the Northwest Ordinance, [or] the Bill of Rights, they're able to do so."

Republicans hold a supermajority in the Louisiana Legislature, where HB 71 enjoyed overwhelming support in both chambers, passing 79-16 in the House and 30-8 in the Senate.

Governor Jeff Landry (R) has not commented directly on the bill, but in his six months in office, he has signed a number of conservative initiatives, including measures offering various protections to educators and police. He also signed SB 276, which classifies abortion-inducing pills such as mifepristone and misoprostol as dangerous Schedule IV controlled substances in Louisiana.

HB 71 is just an autograph away from becoming law, and Gov. Landry is expected to sign it next week.