Pass the Pepto … because my gut is starting to churn over a highly contentious issue making its way out of the Texas Legislature.
The state Senate has approved a bill that would require public schools in Texas to display the Ten Commandments.
Oh, boy! Here we go.
It’s headed to the House, with its own Republican majority. Any bets on whether it ends up on GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk and on whether Abbott will sign it into law? I didn’t think so.
Why is issue so troublesome for me? For starters, I need to stipulate that I have no particularly strong personal objection to the Ten Commandments being displayed in public schools. The commandments, let us remember, are chronicled in the Old Testament, which tells of the instruction Moses received from the Almighty.
That’s out of the way.
However … the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates several civil liberties. The first of them declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion … ” Hmm. What does that mean, precisely?
It means, as I read it, that Congress’ prohibition is exclusive to that body. Meaning that Congress can’t enact a law. Does that also preclude state legislatures? Maybe I’m splitting hairs. I also understand fully that the founders created a secular government that is supposed to be free from religion.
Does it preclude religious influence? No, not that I can tell.
The Ten Commandments clearly are a religious statement, given to us by God Almighty. Public schools are government entities, paid for with taxpayer funds, some of which come from individuals and families that might object to any element of religion being installed in public school system. Is it fair to them to expose them to a statement they could find objectionable? No, which is what the founders realized when they created a secular Constitution.
I am not going to mount a protest if the Legislature sends this bill to Abbott’s desk and Abbott signs it.
I just fear we are about to head down that proverbial slippery slope.