The Alabama Senate approved a bill that would authorize a state referendum on whether to allow the display of the Ten Commandments on public property and public schools. The displays would have to be mingled with other historical materials in an effort to pass constitutional muster.
“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,” Senator Gerald Dial, the bill’s sponsor 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.”
The Senate has voted 23-3 for the bill, and the next step is the Alabama House of Representatives, after that, if it passes there, the bill will be presented for approval to Alabama voters. This isn’t the first time the Alabama Senate has introduced, and passed, a version of this bill, but the House of Representatives members have always shot it down. Let’s hope that happens this time, as well, because no words on the wall can stop a shooting.
This is not the first attempt to push similar bills into the process. After the Mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, The Florida House of Representatives approved bill to post “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous place in all public schools.
State Senator Bobby Singleton, said he believes displaying religious symbols on public grounds is a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. “While I understand where you’re going, I just have a problem with wanting to put into the Constitution, when we have a right to freedom of religion in this state and in this country, one sect or a religion and not allow all others,” Singleton said. He predicts that the lawsuits would follow if the bill is approved by Alabama voters, because it could 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.
Some believe students in schools and citizens in other government buildings do not need to be reminded that killing is wrong, and the legislators who believe that shooters will be stopped by a religious sign should do something to prevent guns from getting into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Could this be another example of the usage of a tragedy to promote religion, just like the The Florida House’s bill to post “In God We Trust” in all public schools?
Photo Credits: Encylopedia of America