A North Dakota bill that has already passed through the State Senate would allow public schools to put up copies of the Ten Commandments in their buildings or individual classrooms… and make them immune from liability in case they get sued over it. (The same bill would permit students to recite the religious Pledge of Allegiance.)
Senate Bill No. 2308 is wildly unconstitutional, so it’s no surprise that the legislation is sponsored by five Republicans. Even if schools are declared immune, lawsuits would occur, districts would end up in court, and someone would have to foot those bills. Taxpayers are ultimately the ones who’d be screwed over.
So why do this? Why now?
State Sen. Janne Myrdal says posting the Commandments would help solve society’s problems.
“I’m here today bringing this forward because I’m sick and tired of us putting Band-Aids on all the things that we see in society that is so scary,” Myrdal told the Senate, calling the bill “a local control” issue. She also said “no religion is offended by the Ten Commandments,” and she encouraged fellow senators “not to be offended.”
“What offends you more: Thou shalt not kill, or murder?” Myrdal said.
Those are the simplistic statements of someone who couldn’t even recite the Ten Commandments if she tried. They also reek of Christian privilege, as if no one could possibly have any problems with her religion.
A lot of non-Christians — and plenty of Christians — would have legitimate gripes about a list of rules in a public school that includes mandates against believing in “false” gods, not making idols of their gods, taking God’s name in vain, and keeping the Sabbath day holy. Myrdal ought to explain how obeying the first four Commandments would make life better for people. (She can’t. She won’t.)
Why should the school be telling kids about avoiding adultery? Who knows. What’s wrong with coveting things? Who knows.
More to the point: If students need a sign to remind them not to murder others, they have bigger problems that the school needs to address.
The Bismarck Tribune is already urging lawmakers to reject the bill on principle:
A federal judge in 1980 overturned a 1927 state law that required the posting of the Ten Commandments. A 1980 Kentucky law requiring the posting of the Ten Commandments was found unconstitutional.
Senate Bill 2308 would just create divisions in school districts pitting parents against parents, splitting school boards and teachers. Members of other faiths might want to post items from their religious texts. Despite efforts in the bill to prevent it there eventually would be lawsuits. The Tribune believes the bill is unconstitutional.
It’s a guarantee that lawsuits would be filed over this. And yet this is what Republicans in North Dakota are doing because they don’t actually give a damn about the students. Instead of making sure they can safely return to school, or giving them the tools they need to succeed, these legislators just want to use their power to shove their faith in everyone’s faces for no useful reason.
The same conservatives who worship the Founding Fathers have no regard for church/state separation. And they foolishly think a simplistic and silly list of religious rules are what teachers throughout the state are clamoring for because that’s how out of touch these lawmakers are.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian for the link)