Seems that for the past ten years, this one legislator in Alabama (where else?) has been repeatedly, but without success, introducing legislation that would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in schools and other public facilities, at the sole discretion of the administrators of those facilities - school principals, mayors, police chiefs, etc.
Bear in mind that this is the same legislature which has already faced adjudication and, effectively, knockdown of such legislation before...back when former State Supreme Court justice Roy Moore put a 2.5+ ton granite slab with said Commandments engraved thereupon in the rotunda of the State judicial building in 2001.
But, no, Senator Dial thinks it has a good chance of passing this time around. And why? Behold the breathtaking disconnect that is his rationale, as expressed by a member of the legal team of the organization promoting this bill:
But this bill might not be as clear-cut violation of the federal constitution as Lynn and Neal make it out to be, said John Eidsmoe, a member of the Foundation for Moral Law’s legal team. A number of different religions accept the Ten Commandments, he said.Not distinctly religious?
Beyond that, Eidsmoe said, courts have cited it in opinions and laws are based on its guidelines.
“I think you’d have a hard time saying the Ten Commandments are distinctly religious,” Eidsmoe said. “They’re an expression of the basic precepts that just about every society has been built upon.”
You might argue that successfully for 6-10. Not killing, cheating on your partner, stealing, lying, or hankering for what belongs to your neighbor...all these are certainly good for civilization.
But the first five are all about religion and nothing but, beginning with the first, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." All the rest of 1-5 are couched in the form of marching orders from this very particular, self-described "jealous," God. Because they're - ya know - "commandments." Things that Sky Guy specifically wants you to do or not do.
It reminds me of the time my daughter's Brownie leaders wanted the girls to spend the bulk of their year on a unit called "God And Me" - an adjunct to traditional Scouting provided by some outfit called PRAY Publishing - and tried to sell me on the idea that it wasn't religious indoctrination because it was nondenominational. I held firm and said, no, you are going to offer an alternative activity so my kid isn't railroaded into this program (run by a male pastor of one of the leaders: there's role-modeling for young women's leadership, eh?), or I will go to the regional Girl Scout Council with a complaint that you are violating the core precept of Girl Scouting that there is no religious test or requirement (one of the things that is a differentiating factor from Boy Scouts).
Fortunately, at the end of the year, all the kids said their favorite activity was when I taught them how to make soap in the microwave. Score points for fun over sermonizing!
It's endorsement of religion or it isn't, Senator Dial. Just because you don't name whatever God you're referring to doesn't erase the meaning you hope to push on the public, any more than calling the garbage collector a "sanitation official" makes him something other than your garbage collector.