Beliefnet
Indiana legislators overwhelmingly approved a bill Mondaypermitting public schools and other government entities to post theTen Commandments in their buildings.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 92-7 and sent it to theSenate, which already has approved a similar measure. One of the billsis expected to end up before Gov. Frank O'Bannon for final approval.

O'Bannon has said he would sign such a bill if it was constitutional.

The bill permits the commandments to be posted in schools,courthouses and other government property if they are on display withother documents of historical significance that have helped create orinfluenced the U.S. legal system, the Associated Press reported.

The legislation is part of a nationwide debate over the display ofthe commandments in public places. Supporters say America based itslegal system on the commandments in the biblical Book of Exodus.

A similar measure is due for consideration in South Dakota. Other Ten Commandment bills are pending in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Colorado and Oklahoma.

In Indiana, opponents said during Senate debate of the legislation thatsuch a law would violate the separation of church and state guaranteedby the U.S. Constitution.

But Rep. Dean Young, R-Hartford City, said Monday he expects tosomeday meet God face to face.

"Am I going to say to him or her, `Well, God, I thought it wasunconstitutional?" said Young, who voted for the bill.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union and its national counterpart, theAmerican Civil Liberties Union, oppose the posting of the commandmentsin public buildings.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that putting the commandmentsin schools violates First Amendment protections against the governmentpromoting religion.

However, as in Indiana, proponents of the new wave of Ten Commandment bills believe that including the biblical list with other historical documents will enable such legislation to pass constitutional muster.

The current political emphasis on posting the Ten Commandments began some four years ago in Alabama when Circuit Judge Roy Moore refused to take down the commandments from his courtroom wall after he was challened, the Washington Post noted. A court case against him was dismissed on a technicality.

Last summer's Columbine High School shootings in Colorado gave impetus to the movement, which has became a cause celebre in conservative religious and political circles.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus