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Louisiana MAGAts Have No Use For The Constitution— But Don't Get Between Them And Their Buy Bull

How will Clarence rule?

Are you aware of a legal case, Stone v. Graham (1980)? In 1978, Kentucky passed a law requiring the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom. Sydell Stone, a Kentucky resident, filed a lawsuit against James Graham, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, challenging the constitutionality of the law, arguing that it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. After it was upheld by the Kentucky Supreme Court, the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a per curiam (unsigned) opinion, the Court reversed the decision and struck down the Kentucky law as unconstitutional. In the 5-4 decision, the Court ruled it was passed without a secular legislative purpose and endorsed religion. 4 right-wing justices dissented, arguing that the posting of the Ten Commandments could be seen as having a secular educational function, permissible if presented in a historical or educational context rather than a religious one.

The ruling is directly applicable to Louisiana doing exactly the same thing on Wednesday and should be struck down by a lower court and not even make it all the way to the Supreme Court. The ACLU (along with Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation) filed a lawsuit immediately, noting that “The law violates longstanding Supreme Court precedent and the First Amendment. More than 40 years ago, in Stone v. Graham, the Supreme Court overturned a similar state statute, holding that the First Amendment bars public schools from posting the Ten Commandments in classrooms. No other state requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools.The displays mandated by H.B. 71 will result in unconstitutional religious coercion of students, who are legally required to attend school and are thus a captive audience for school-sponsored religious messages. They will also send a chilling message to students and families who do not follow the state’s preferred version of the Ten Commandments that they do not belong, and are not welcome, in our public schools… Louisiana’s communities and public schools are religiously diverse, yet H.B. 71 would require school officials to promote specific religious beliefs to which people of many faiths, and those of no faith, do not subscribe. Even among those who may believe in some version of the Ten Commandments, the particular text that they adhere to can differ by religious denomination or tradition. The government should not be taking sides in this theological debate, and it certainly should not be coercing students to submit day in and day out to unavoidable promotions of religious doctrine. All students should feel safe and welcome in our public schools. H.B. 71 would undermine this critical goal and prevent schools from providing an equal education to all students, regardless of faith. We will not allow Louisiana lawmakers to undermine these religious-freedom rights.”

In plain English, the Louisiana law blatantly contravenes the U.S. Constitution, particularly the First Amendment, which clearly establishes a separation of church and state. Mandating the display of any religious documents is a violation of this principle. The imbeciles behind the law clearly intend to endorse Christianity and infringe on the rights of students and teachers who may hold different religious beliefs— or none. Obviously, public schools serve students from diverse backgrounds, including various religious beliefs and secular viewpoints. Mandating a specific religious text will alienate students who do not share those beliefs, making them feel excluded or marginalized. The focus of public education should be on secular subjects and skills that prepare students for the future, rather than promoting religious doctrine.

Yesterday, the NY Times reported that Jeff Landry, the far right kook who was elected governor, is eager to put Louisiana in the forefront of a national MAGA movement to use legislation to advance Christian nationalism. He also signed an anti-LGBTQ bill on the same day, mandating that children could only be addressed using pro-nouns for the gender on their birth certificates, blaming God for both idiotic laws. I guess it’s easier for a neanderthal like Landry to work on pointless culture war issues than try to solve the real problems that face his state:

  • Louisiana spends significantly less on public education per student than the national average

  • Louisiana has one of the lowest high school graduation rates of any state always fighting with Mississippi and Texas for the honor of being dead last

  • Louisiana ranked 49 out of 50 in terms of public school quality, including student-teacher ratios and standardized test scores

  • Louisiana one of the lowest percentages of college graduates in the country

  • Louisiana consistently ranks near the bottom in health metrics.

  • Louisiana has a far lower per capita income ($43,660) than the national average (around $60,000)

Louisiana is at the top of the ratings though in two area:

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

I did a Google News search for “Louisiana, Ten Commandments” and this is what came up:

Earlier I saw Trump’s post on his pretend-Twitter platform. I’d imagine that most non-cult members had the same thought that I did about Trump violating every one of the commandments as part of his lifestyle.

"Many other places"-- but not Mar-a-Lago

Let’s go through ‘em

  1. 1 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Trump focuses on and worships wealth, power and self-promotion, which really is an idolatrous pursuit, and certainly takes precedence over even any pretense of pursuit of spiritual or ethical values.

  2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” Trump's brand and properties, emblazoned with his name and image, promote a form of self-idolatry.

  3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Trump has made numerous public statements that use religious language inappropriately, trivially and blasphemously

  4. “Remember the sabbath and keep it holy.” Trump has never observed the Sabbath and probably wouldn’t even be able to answer a question about how to

  5. “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Trump has been publicly critical of various family members, including his father, whose will he changed, when the father was mentally incapacitated, in order to write out his elder brother

  6. “Thou shalt not kill.” While not directly killing, Trump's policies, particularly on immigration and foreign affairs, have resulted in deaths and suffering. And the pandemic. His COVID policy probably killed between 400,000 and 500,000 Americans who didn't have to die. Is that murder?

  7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Trump has been publicly bragged about multiple extramarital affairs on the Howard Stern Show, long before Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal became part of the national consciousness.

  8. “Thou shalt not steal.” Allegations of fraudulent business practices and the misuse of charitable funds have been leveled against Trump.

  9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Trump has made endless false or misleading statements, as documented by fact-checkers since 2015. And... does the Big Lie count here?

  10. 10 “Thou shalt not covet.” Trump's rhetoric always reflects envy and desire for others’ successes and possessions, particularly in his attacks on political opponents and criticism of wealthier individuals.

I suggest every classroom post this instead:


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