Displaying Ten Commandments in classrooms: A superficial gesture or meaningful step towards moral education?


Louisiana made news this week for passing a law requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom, from elementary to college. The move is likely to be challenged in court, as it defies a 1980 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar law in Kentucky. The law’s supporters, including Governor Jeff Landry, hope to challenge Supreme Court precedent on the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

While the law may be seen as a way to challenge bad precedent, some argue that it will not have the intended effect of instilling respect for the rule of law in students. To do so, one would need to go beyond simply posting the Ten Commandments and address the root causes of the lack of moral education in public schools.

These causes include the influence of left-wing ideology among teachers and administrators, who are often supported by powerful teachers unions and graduate from left-leaning education programs. If the goal is to teach students about the importance of the Ten Commandments, then the system needs to be fundamentally changed, including dismantling teachers colleges and credentialing programs.

State legislatures have the power to take on the teachers unions and reform the education system, but few Republicans are willing to do so. Instead, they focus on symbolic measures like displaying the Ten Commandments in classrooms. The result is a law that may change the legal landscape but will not fundamentally address the issue of moral education in public schools.

It is time for Republicans to stop pretending to care about neutrality and instead take bold action to reform the education system and ensure that students are taught about the importance of the Ten Commandments and other fundamental moral values.

John Daniel Davidson
John Daniel Davidson
Senior Editor. John's writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. He is the author of Pagan America: the Decline of Christianity and the Dark Age to Come.

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