The last time we talked about the Ten Commandments banner in Giles County schools, the district has suggested surrounding it with other “historical documents” and a judge had offered the district a compromise: Just cut the Ten Commandments down to six!
Where are we at now? There’s good news!
The Giles County School Board voted today to remove a copy of the Ten Commandments that has hung on a wall of Narrows High School during a year and a half of controversy and litigation.
… and then some strange news:
The board voted unanimously to replace the commandments with a copy of a page from a history textbook that mentions the Ten Commandments in conjunction with American government and morality. The commandments themselves do not appear on the page; they are represented by a drawing of two tablets.
In other words, if you won’t let us put up the actual Ten Commandments as part of a historical tradition… then we’ll find a textbook that only mentions the words “Ten Commandments”… and “Jesus”… and post that up instead! That’s what kids are inspired by! A page from a textbook!
First of all, what sort of Ten Commandments picture is that? I drew a better one on Draw Something:
Also, if the Ten Commandments display (surrounded by other historical documents) was the problem the judge was trying to get away from with his compromise offer, how is this display any better?
(In case you’re curious, it comes from a Prentice Hall U.S. History textbook (PDF))
No word yet on how the judge will react.
Rebecca Glenberg, an attorney for the ACLU, which is representing the student in the suit, said she can’t comment on how today’s decision might affect the lawsuit until she has a chance to discuss it with her client.
On the positive side, the proposed page-from-a-book display could piss off conservatives:
The move could prove controversial among Giles County residents who have shown up en masse at earlier meetings in support of the commandments display.
The whole thing is unnecessary. If there’s a historical basis for talking about Christianity, it can already be discussed in history class. Much like moments of silence are just workarounds to saying prayers in the classroom, this subtle Ten Commandments display is really an attempt to push Christianity into the public schools. Hopefully, the judge will recognize that and put a quick stop to it.