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Louisiana Parents Sue to Block Display of Ten Commandments in Schools

U.S.Louisiana Parents Sue to Block Display of Ten Commandments in Schools

A group of parents in Louisiana filed a federal lawsuit on Monday seeking to block a new state law requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in every public school classroom.

The law, which was signed by Gov. Jeff Landry last week and made Louisiana the only state with such a mandate, was widely expected to be challenged.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, one of the organizations representing the parents, has condemned the legislation as “blatantly unconstitutional.” But the law’s supporters were eager for a legal fight, which they hoped would bring the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. They were optimistic that the court’s conservative majority would support the mandate and overturn a 1980 ruling that struck down a similar law.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed on Monday in Federal District Court in Baton Rouge, La., are nine families with children in Louisiana public schools. They include two Unitarian Universalist families; a Presbyterian family; a Jewish family; an atheist family; and nonreligious families.

In the lawsuit, the families assert that having the Ten Commandments posted in every elementary, secondary and postsecondary public school classroom would render them unavoidable. As a result, according to the suit, the law “unconstitutionally pressures students into religious observance, veneration, and adoption of the state’s favored religious scripture.”

Supporters of the law have argued that the Ten Commandments are more than purely a religious text, and that it is a historical document that provided a framework for the nation’s laws.

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