Indiana legislators have approved a bill that permits public schools,
courts, and public facilities to post the Ten Commandments. The bill permits
places of accommodation to position the Ten Commandments in displays
featuring other "historical" documents, and states that the Commandments may
be raised "as part of an exhibit displaying other documents of historical
significance that formed and influenced the United States' legal or
Supporters of the bill say that school officials who place the
Commandments next to documents, such as the Magna Carta or the Bill of
Rights, need not fear repercussions from civil libertarians. State
representatives voted overwhelmingly (91-7) in favor of the bill. The state
Senate has passed a companion measure and the governor is expected to sign
the legislation into law. South Dakota is weighing a similar House measure.
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State Rep. Jerry Denbo read the Ten Commandments on the House floor prior
to the vote in the Indiana House. "If any of you think these are bad
principles," he stated, "vote no on the bill." Well said! Of course, no one
can argue that the Commandments are harmful to students. Nevertheless, there
is a persistent effort by civil libertarians to prevent the Commandments
from positively impacting the lives of public school students. Rep. Duane
Cheney, a Democrat and one of the seven to vote against the bill, sided with
the American Civil Liberties Union and its state chapter, by stating there
were different versions of the Ten Commandments and it would be difficult to
determine which version was posted. Supporters of the bill say it does not
matter which version (they are virtually identical) is posted.
In Colorado, the "America's Moral Heritage Act" would sanction daily
silent prayer in schools and the posting of the sacred document "in every
public school classroom and in the main entryway of every public school."
That bill has already been approved by a state senate committee. The state
of Georgia is also considering a bill that would discontinue funding to
those schools that refuse to post the Ten Commandments. In Kentucky late
last year, thousands of students and parents rallied with a "Restore the
Law, Restore the Glory" assembly, calling on lawmakers to allow the
Commandments to return to public schools. Currently, six schools have
positioned the Commandments on their walls, but the legislature has yet to
vote on a law. Other bills addressing the Ten Commandments await decisions
in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Last year, the
Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives led the charge in
passing the Ten Commandments Defense Act that authorizes states to authorize
the display of the Commandments in public places.
After years of successfully eliminating our nation's Christian heritage
from the halls of state education, families finally have reason to be
optimistic regarding the return of a semblance of biblical morality in the
schools. Religious families have, for years, contended that, while religious
principles were purged from school curricula, dangerous secular philosophies
were touted. Author M. Stanton Evans, writing in "The Theme Is Freedom,"
said, "It is considered perfectly proper for children from religious homes
to be taught the precepts of Darwinian-Huxleyan evolution, extreme
environmentalism, the value-free 'alternative lifestyle' view of
homosexuality and sexual conduct generally, and other neopaganism in their
school work. It is asserted that such teaching is nonreligious, but, as we
have seen, this is an impossibility. By such instruction, axioms about the
origin of the world and the meaning of human existence are imparted, even as
the competing axioms of traditional faith are banished. Children may be
taught the precepts of neopagan nature worship; they may not be taught the
precepts of the Bible."
Thankfully, it finally appears that the Ten Commandments may be making a
much-needed return to the public schools as a first step toward rebuilding a
moral climate that has been lacking since the Supreme Court cast the Bible
out of the classroom in its 1961 Engel v. Vitale decision.
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Most sincere people of faith believe this is long overdue.