Texas public schools will be required to show the Ten Commandments in every classroom starting next school year under a bill that the Texas Senate recently approved. Senate Bill 1515 legislation will now head to the state House for consideration. During a committee hearing, Texas Republican Sen. Phil King said that he wanted Texas to bring the Ten Commandments back into the classroom because they’re an essential part of American heritage.

According to the Texas Tribune, King said during the hearing, “The bill will remind students all across Texas of the importance of the fundamental foundation of America.” King also noted that the U.S. Supreme Court indicated the bill was constitutional after it ruled in favor of Joe Kennedy, a high school football coach in Washington state who was fired for praying before games.

The proposal comes after the passage of a law in August that requires schools to show “In God We Trust” signs in a “conspicuous place” as long as they’re “donated” or “purchased by private donations.” Texas Republican State Sen. Bryan Hughes, who sponsored the legislation, wrote on Twitter, “The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God. I co-authored the bill in 2003 that allowed schools to display the motto, and last year I authored the ‘In God We Trust Act,’ which requires a school to display the motto if there is no cost associated with the display.”

The Senate also gave final passage to Senate Bill 1396, which would allow public and charter schools to adopt a policy that would set aside time for students and employees to pray and read religious texts like the Bible at school. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick applauded both pieces of legislation as wins for religious liberty in the state, saying in a statement, “Allowing the Ten Commandments and prayer back into our public schools is one step we can take to make sure that all Texans have the right to express their sincerely held religious beliefs freely.”

He added, “I believe that you cannot change the culture of the country until you change the culture of mankind. Bringing the Ten Commandments and prayer back to our public schools will enable our students to become better Texans.” The Senate also passed Bill 1556, which would codify the Supreme Court’s ruling on the high school football coach into law, protecting the right of school employees to participate in prayer or religious speech “while on duty.”

Democratic communications consultant and strategist Sawyer Hackett blasted the proposed law, calling it “absolutely crazy.” The ACLU of Texas told the Washington Post that the legislation is an “example of failed priorities and failed leadership.” David Donatti, an attorney for the ACLU of Texas, told the Washington Post, “The U.S. Constitution expressly prohibits the entanglement of church and state, and the Texas Constitution guarantees the freedom of worship. Whether we choose to belong to one religion or none at all, people of all faiths and creeds should together resist the state’s endorsement of one particular religion.”

According to the Texas State Preservation Board, the state Capitol in Austin has had a monument of the Ten Commandments on display since 1961.

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