The Alabama Senate has voted 23-3 to amend the state’s constitution in order to allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools and in other government buildings.
The bill, which seeks to display Christian propaganda without technically violating the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against the establishment of religion, is now moving to the Alabama House. If it passes there, it will be presented for approval to Alabama voters, the same people who almost elected Roy Moore as senator despite multiple credible allegations of sexual abuse against young girls. (Scary thought, isn’t it?)
The proposal, which would have to be approved by voters, says the Ten Commandments can be displayed on public property. The displays would have to be mingled with other historical materials in an effort to pass constitutional muster. Sen. Gerald Dial, the bill’s sponsor, said voters have the final say. Sen. Bobby Singleton predicted the measure would face an automatic lawsuit…
This isn’t the first time the Alabama Senate has introduced — and passed — a version of this bill. But the House members have always shot it down. Let’s hope that happens this time, as well.
While this bill has been brought up and rejected several times, the landscape has changed significantly since the deadly mass shooting in Florida. A number of states have already reacted by pushing bills that would put “In God We Trust” signs in schools instead of enacting meaningful gun safety reform or dealing with mental illness, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Alabama actually followed through this time around.
If that happens, would State Sen. Singleton be right to say lawsuits would follow? Maybe. While the Ten Commandments displays would have to be part of a larger historical or educational display, it could also be argued that this bill, by singling out the Ten Commandments, is endorsing Christianity.
If there is a lawsuit filed, though, the bill prohibits public money from being used to defend it. (How they would pay up in the event they lose a legal challenge, we don’t know.)
Even worse, though, is Dial’s argument for why we need this law:
“I believe that if you had the Ten Commandments posted in a prominent place in school, it has the possibility to prohibit some student from taking action to kill other students,” Dial said.
“If this bill stops one school shooting in Alabama, just one, then it’s worth the time and effort we’re putting into it,” Dial said.
It won’t stop any school shootings.
Students don’t need to be reminded that killing is wrong, and it’s incredibly condescending for a legislator to pretend that shooters aren’t aware of the obvious.
If Dial actually wanted to prevent shootings, he’d do something to prevent guns from getting into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Instead, he’s using a tragedy to promote his religion and hoping no one will notice.
(Image via Shutterstock)