In a late-night blow to proponents of promoting the Christian faith in Texas public schools, the Texas House failed to advance a bill that aimed to display a copy of the Ten Commandments in every classroom.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1515, authored by Sen. Mayes Middleton, was inspired by a recent Supreme Court case, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which sought to capitalize on the ruling that protected a football coach’s private prayers after games. Members of the Texas Legislature viewed that decision as a gateway to pass new laws to promote the Christian faith.
However, the bill faced opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which threatened legal action if enacted, citing the long-standing Supreme Court precedent against endorsing a specific religious viewpoint in public institutions. The bill’s requirement to display the Ten Commandments from the King James Bible further raised concerns about potential legal vulnerability. Despite its setback, there remains a possibility that elements of the Ten Commandments bill could resurface in other legislation before the session’s end on May 29.
Another measure aiming to introduce more religion into schools is on the brink of becoming law. This policy would allow school districts to hire chaplains instead of counselors, further entwining religious influence within the educational system.
The ongoing debate surrounding the separation of church and state continues to provoke intense discussions and legal battles as lawmakers navigate the delicate balance between religious freedom and constitutional principles in Texas schools.