State Rep. Dan Flynn Wants To Make Sure Texas School Districts Can't Keep 10 Commandments Out of the Classroom

Categories: Politics, Religion

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The real mystery is how Attorney General Greg Abbott feels about said Commandments.

This week, to our great excitement, Texas legislators started pre-filing bills for the upcoming legislative session, which kicks off in January. Those bills will include State Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound's proposal to drug test potential welfare recipients and a measure from Longview's David Simpson that would make it illegal for the TSA to perform pat-down procedures in Texas airports. It's going to be an entertaining session, in other words.

But just to make sure we've also got an argument about church-state separation in the mix, Republican state Representative Dan Flynn of Van has also filed a very short proposed bill that may end up drawing national attention. House Bill 51 would modify the Texas Education Code, specifying that "the board of trustees of an independent school district may not prohibit the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments in a prominent location in a district classroom."

Flynn has also pre-filed two other pieces of educational legislation: one bill proposes a moratorium on the STAAR test, while the other would require all high school students to complete a course on the Constitution.

In a press release, Flynn's staff says the Ten Commandments bill will offer teachers the "opportunity" to post them, "if they so choose."

"Each of these three bills are very important to the constituents in my district, and I and my staff were encouraged to make these a priority," Representative Flynn is quoted as saying.

There have been a host of Ten Commandments-related lawsuits in recent years; back in September, the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation sued a Pennsylvania school district over a granite commandments monument displayed at a middle school.

The Ten Commandments are, of course, also prominently displayed at the Texas State Capitol. In 2005, the Supreme Court upheld the state's right to display that monument, though it also struck down the posting of the commandments in county courthouses in Kentucky.

To our knowledge, no board of trustees for any school district anywhere in Texas has ever showed any particular zeal for banning the Ten Commandments from the classroom. But we suppose Flynn is merely being cautious. And maybe he'll even get a different outcome than he did in the last legislative session , when he filed a completely identical bill, only to have it die in committee.



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17 comments
James080
James080

There are literally hundreds of political issues which are extremely important to the state of Texas. Which 5,000 year old slogans should be posted on the walls is not one of them.

 

“I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

MattL11
MattL11

Of course. Because "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife" is perfectly relevant to a bunch of third graders. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Thou shalt not give a shit.

 

I'll start worrying when they introduce legislation REQUIRING them to display them prominently.

 

BTW, Albert, I can't respond directly to your posts, but I hardly recognized you with your critical thinking costume on.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The right-wing, that hates interference in peoples' lives, is hell-bent on controlling religious thought, controlling womens' reproduction, and controlling what children can and can't be taught in schools.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

And to think that some folks wonder why we let them meet for only 140 days in odd numbered years ....

graham57
graham57

Well, any libertarians watching from outside Texas are not going to be impressed by that sort of authoritarian masturbatory bullcrap...how is Texas going to secede if they can't get enough people to take the place of the people who, you know, actually believe that religion is none of the education system's damn business?

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

Let's see, low test scores, low teacher morale, low parental involvement, low community interest, budget cuts, low graduation rates, high teen pregnancy rates, I know - let's put the Ten Commandments in the classroom and solve everything!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

It'd be great if so many of the Ten Commandment zealots actually adhered to the Ten Commandments.

Lee-dallas
Lee-dallas

This session is going to be an orgy of all the wet dreams of the far right! The sad thing is most will pass and again make Texas the laughing stock of the country, as if we were not already looked down on for one of the highest poverty rates, the most uninsured and one of the lowest school funding levels.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@cynicaloldbastard - "Each of these three bills are very important to the constituents in my district... " Do his constituents feel intruded on? "the board ... may not prohibit the posting of..." Looks like his bill would empower teachers and protect their rights. But let's see what happens when a teacher wants to put up something representative of Islam. I say why not, as long as they 're not crossing the thin line of evangilsm.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Chuck_Schick - When you put it that way, ya gotta wonder how anything could possibly be made worse by hanging a copy of the commandments on a wall.

TitusGroan
TitusGroan

 @Lee-dallas

 You call it high poverty, high uninsured, and low school funding.

 

I call it freedom from health, wealth, and the burden of thought.

Double-O-Joe
Double-O-Joe

 @TheCredibleHulk  @Chuck_Schick  @albert.finney000 

It seems a bit of a rhetorical trick.  "May not prohibit the posting" means that any teacher would be within their rights to do so under state law, even though that action, when conducted by the teacher, would be a tacit endorsement of a particular viewpoint by the school, thereby violating the 1st amendment. 

 

State law doesn't trump federal, and especially not Constitutional protections.  And, let's be honest, the only rules of the 10 that really apply in the classroom are theft, false witness, and coveting (and possibly murder in the DISD).  Aren't those already covered by school rules?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @Chuck_Schick  @albert.finney000 It's not a requirement, and not an endorsement, either. They aren't even suggesting that it is a good idea to do so. That's a different matter, altogether.

 

You can cite the slippery slope here, I suppose, but we're a long way from Christian totalitarianism on this particular issue.

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