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10 Commandments Must Be Displayed in Louisiana Classrooms by 2025

10 commandments
Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signs House Bill 71 into law. Screengrab from YouTube / @Wqadnews8

With a bill-signing on Wednesday (June 19), Louisiana became the first state to mandate that all public-school classrooms—from kindergarten to college—display the 10 Commandments.

By January 2025, every classroom in the state must feature a poster-sized display of the 10 Commandments with large, readable font. The display is to include a “context statement” about historical significance, noting the commandments were “a prominent part of American public-school education for almost three centuries.”

Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed the bill into law at a Catholic school in Lafayette. “If you want to respect the rule of law,” he said, “you’ve got to start from the original lawgiver, which was Moses.” (While Landry was signing the bill, a girl standing behind him fainted. Landry, who was facing the opposite direction, didn’t seem to notice.)

Donations, not state funds, will pay for the posters. But that’s not preventing opponents from threatening to challenge the law’s constitutionality.

Louisiana Law: 10 Commandments Have ‘Historical Significance’

Before the state senate passed House Bill 71, Sen. Jay Morris told colleagues that the legislation’s purpose “is not solely religious.” The 10 Commandments, he said, have “historical significance” as “one of many documents that display the history of our country and foundation of our legal system.”

Rep. Dodie Horton, the bill’s Republican author, called the 10 Commandments the “basis of all laws in Louisiana.” When asked about school staff who might take issue with the requirement, she said, “I’m not concerned with an atheist. I’m not concerned with a Muslim. I’m concerned with our children looking and seeing what God’s law is.”

The bill easily passed the state legislature, which has a GOP supermajority.

Horton recently spearheaded a bill that requires public-school classrooms in Louisiana to display America’s “In God We Trust” motto.

Legal Challenges Are Expected

A 1980 Supreme Court ruling held that a similar 10 Commandments law in Kentucky was unconstitutional because it served a clear religious purpose. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits any law that forms a religion.

RELATED: New Texas Bill Would Mandate a 10 Commandments Display in Every Public School Classroom

Supporters called Louisiana’s legislation an important step for religious freedom, while opponents questioned its appropriateness and legality. Louisiana Sen. Royce Duplessis, a Democrat and practicing Catholic, opposed the bill, saying he learned God’s laws in Sunday school. “You want your kids to learn about the 10 Commandments, take them to church,” he said.