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Patrick Promises 10 Commandments In Texas Schools

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has promised the Texas Senate would pass a bill mandating the 10 Commandments in Texas classrooms on Thursday following a similar law being signed in Louisiana. An attempt in 2023 stalled in the Texas House.

“Every Texas Republican House member would have voted for it,” Patrick in a statement. “But, SPEAKER Dade Phelan killed the bill by letting it languish in committee for a month assuring it would never have time for a vote on the floor. This was inexcusable and unacceptable. Putting the Ten Commandments back into our schools was obviously not a priority for Dade Phelan.”

Posting blatantly religious messages in public schools has been constitutionally dubious for decades, but after the Supreme Court loosened some restrictions in a 2022 case Republicans are seeking to push the issue. Texas previously passed a law saying that a school must display “In God We Trust” if someone donated it to the school.

However, that law is bolstered by the fact that it is the nation’s motto, adopted in 1955 as part of a far-right conservative Christian backlash to leftist politics. Mandating purely Biblical messages in the classroom is still likely unconstitutional, but Republicans like Patrick are clearly hoping to further Christian nationalist values by taking challenges to the conservative supermajority in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Texas teachers are outraged at the prospect.

“It’s honestly exhausting,” one teacher told us, speaking anonymously. “If schools post things from one religion, they should post other religious paraphernalia as well. Let’s see the Five Pillars of Islam and the Five Precepts of Buddhism too. But they just want to shove the ‘right’ religion down everyone’s throats. It’s exhausting. But I will continue to do everything in my power to make school a place of safety for every student, no matter what shit is on the walls.”

“I think it is a flagrant violation of separation of church and state and an attempt by Republicans to go back to the 1950s when the Lord’s Prayer was said aloud every morning on the loudspeaker in many schools, at least in Texas according to my parents,” said another. “That aside, as a teacher, I strive from day one to create a welcoming, accepting environment for all students, and everything in my room is geared toward that goal. I work at a very diverse school with students of many different religions, so posting commandments from a Judeo Christian text in every classroom creates an automatic barrier to many students feeling safe and accepted and would also make me as a teacher her feel complicit in violating separation of church and state and doing something that would negatively impact my students.”

Both teachers also expressed frustration at the fact that Patrick is apparently making this a priority when the Texas legislature failed to pass educational funding increases last year. The matter deadlocked when the Texas House blocked Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to make a school voucher system. In response, Abbott refused to raise funding for any schools until he got his way.

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.


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