Texas Schools to get Chaplains and the Ten Commandments under LegislationBreaking News
tags: Texas, First Amendment, public schools, Church-State Separation, School Prayer
Texas lawmakers are scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to require that the Ten Commandments be posted in every classroom in the state, part of a newly energized national effort to insert religion into public life.
Supporters believe the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer in favor of a high school football coach who prayed with players essentially removed any guardrails between religion and government.
The bill, which is scheduled Tuesday for the House floor, is one of about a half-dozen religion bills approved this session by the Texas Senate, including one that would allow uncertified chaplains to replace trained, professional counselors in K-12 schools.
Texas’ biennial legislative session is short, chaotic and packed, and it was not certain Monday whether the Ten Commandments bill would definitely get a vote Tuesday. If it doesn’t by midnight, it’s dead for the session. But groups that watch church-state issues say efforts nationwide to fund and empower religion — and, more specifically, a particular type of Christianity — are more plentiful and aggressive than they have been in years. Americans United for Separation of Church and State says it is watching 1,600 bills around the country in states such as Louisiana and Missouri. Earlier this year, Idaho and Kentucky signed into law measures that could allow teachers and public school employees to pray in front of and with students while on duty.
Many legislators cite the Supreme Court’s June ruling in favor of Coach Joe Kennedy of Bremerton, Wash., who prayed with his players on the 50-yard-line. They see the Supreme Court as righting the American ship after a half-century of wrongly separating church and state.