Texas Bill Fails: No Ten Commandments in Public Schools

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Failed Texas Bill Required Ten Commandments in Public School Classrooms

A recent push to incorporate religion into public schools across Texas was unsuccessful, as the State House failed to pass a contentious bill that would mandate the display of the Ten Commandments in every classroom. This measure was part of conservative Republicans’ efforts to expand the scope of religion in the daily lives of public schools, which included allowing religious chaplains to be hired in place of licensed counselors.

Texas Legislature Explores Legal Boundaries of Religion in Public Education

These bills seemed intended to test the conservative Supreme Court majority’s willingness to reevaluate the legal limits of religion in public education. The court sided with Washington State football coach Joseph Kennedy last year, asserting that he had a constitutional right to lead prayers with players at the 50-yard line. With the legal landscape shifting, religious groups in several states have become interested in exploring the extent to which states can now offer direct support for religious expression in public schools.

Ten Commandments Bill Controversy in Texas and Beyond

Similar to the Texas bill, the South Carolina legislature introduced its own bill this month to require the display of the Ten Commandments in all classrooms. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma state education board rejected an application to create an explicitly religious charter school. Critics argue that forcing public schools to display the Ten Commandments is part of a Christian Nationalist agenda to impose their beliefs on everyone.

Lack of Counselors in Texas Public Schools Leads to Chaplain Proposal

The proposed Texas legislation, allowing school districts to hire chaplains or accept them as volunteers, was presented as a solution to the shortage of school counselors. However, opponents of the measure argued that chaplains do not have the same expertise, training, or licensing as counselors, and therefore would not adequately address the issue.

Time Runs Out for Texas Ten Commandments Bill

While the Ten Commandments bill, known as Senate Bill 1515, passed smoothly through the State Senate, it ran into problems in the Texas House due to deadlines in the legislative calendar. Democrats used a delaying tactic known as “chubbing” to prevent the bill from coming up for a vote on the final day of the legislative session.

Story at www.nytimes.com – 2023-05-25 03:07:17

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