The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that allows for the posting of religious texts in public, including the Ten Commandments, the national motto “In God We Trust” and pronouncements from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount known as “The Beatitudes.”
In 2001, Mississippi passed the first state law in the U.S. that requires its public schools post the motto “In God We Trust.”
The action by the House comes just days after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases regarding the public display of the Ten Commandments.
The American Family Association hailed the bill’s passage.
“We commend the Mississippi House for approving legislation that acknowledges America’s spiritual heritage and its role in the foundation of society,” said Tim Wildmon, president of AFA, in a statement. “Mere acknowledgement of religion and public symbols that reflect our religious history do not equate with establishment of religion.”
The bill, introduced by Democratic Rep. Tommy Reynolds, was not supported by all his fellow Democrats.
Rep. Jim Evans, a minister, objected to the legislation, saying politicians who use holy texts for their own gain have a weak understanding of God’s word, the Delta Democrat Times reported.
And Rep. John Mayo wrote of the bill: “I hope God forgives us for using his name for political gain.”
AFA is urging Mississippi senators to pass the bill.
“Our Founding Fathers recognized the important and necessary role religion plays in the moral foundation of our culture, and we too must ensure this cornerstone of America’s heritage is not erased from our public square,” Wildmon said. “We encourage the Mississippi Senate to join the House in supporting this bill.”