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05/09/2023 11:10:41 AM

May9

Efforts to require The Ten Commandments in Texas' Public School

Last week the State of Texas came closer to requiring the Ten Commandments to be posted in public schools.  According to Senate Bill 1515, public schools in Texas would have to prominently display the Ten Commandments in every classroom starting next school year. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

On the surface, this seems tame. After all, The Ten Commandments come from the Torah, so why not? Why should Jews in this country be worried by including part of our Torah on classroom walls?

The problem comes when we realize there is no one version of the Ten Commandments. Yes, the Hebrew is the same, but not so much the various translations. Jewish and Christian communities disagree on how the laws are numbered, and Catholics don’t like to include the part about graven images. So, the issue becomes which ones do you put up on the wall? Which religion do you privilege? My guess is it isn’t going to be the Jewish version!

And so now we have our state one step closer to the establishment of Christianity as the religion of the land. So much for the Bill of Rights!

The religious nature of the Ten Commandments would suggest it they best be left out of the secular sphere. Consider what the Supreme Court of the U.S. said in 1980 when it struck down a Kentucky law requiring the Ten Commandments in public schools:

"The pre-eminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one's parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord's name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day.”

Once we allow such a religious encroachment into the secular sphere, we will only see more attacks on the separation wall. This will not be good for America, and it most certainly will not be good for the Jews.

Wed, February 21 2024 12 Adar I 5784