In Cleveland County, NC, the school board considered a plan to place the Ten Commandments in all 30 schools in the district. But before they passed off on it, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, an activist group reportedly devoted to removing religion from all public places, descended upon the idea and told them it was illegal and threatened to sue.
The policy, which is still being drafted, would place the Ten Commandments "in a prominent place at or near the main entrance to all of our campuses." Their reasoning comes from a 2001 North Carolina Law that allows schools to display such documents in a historical lens. They say the Ten Commandments can be posted because they are also documents of great historical significance.
Chris Line, an attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation asserted that "The case law on this is pretty clear. Nothing like this has been found in court to be legal in a school context. So, hopefully, the attorney is able to explain this to them and they will not go through with this."
Line also claimed it violated the Constitution. However, members of the School Board are contending Line’s claims. One such member, Danny Blanton, stated he disagreed with Line's assessment, stating he didn't see a problem with it. But Line asserts a state law cannot trump the Constitution, stating "The Constitution trumps state law."
According to Fox 46, Board Chair Robert Queen has noted that the proposal has been sent to the policy committee, who will analyze it and make recommendations to the board. However, there is reportedly no timeline for resolving this matter done, and the placement of the Ten Commandments was not on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting.
The Supreme Court has heard several cases concerning the display of religious symbols and the ten commandments. One such case is Van Orden v. Perry, in which the court ruled that if a governing body wishes to place the Ten Commandments as a historical document, then it is not a religious symbol, and therefore does not violate the Constitution.
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John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.