A bill that would have required all Texas public schools to place the Ten Commandments in a “conspicuous place” failed to meet a Wednesday deadline for it to be considered by the House.
Senate Bill 1515previously garnered the support of the state’s Republican-led Senate. For the bill to be reconsidered, it would have to go through the Senate again.
The bill was opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which claimed the bill violated religious freedom.
"This bill was an unconstitutional attack on our core liberties that threatened the freedom of and from religion we hold dear as Texans. It should never have gotten this close to passage,” said David Donatti, an attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Whether trying to place the Ten Commandments in every classroom or replacing school counselors with unlicensed chaplains, certain Texas lawmakers have launched a coordinated effort to force state-sponsored religion into our public schools.”
But proponents said the bill promoted religious liberty.
“I will never stop fighting for religious liberty in Texas. Allowing the Ten Commandments and prayer back into our public schools is one step we can take to make sure that all Texans have the right to freely express their sincerely held religious beliefs,” said Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
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The bill appeared after the Supreme Court sided with Joe Kennedy in the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District case.
Kennedy was terminated from his job as a high school football coach in Washington state for praying at football games, and on June 27, 2022, the court determined that Kennedy was praying as a private citizen rather than as a district employee.
"Religious liberty was a bedrock of America's founding. For the last several decades, expression of that liberty has been restricted. However, thanks to this recent SCOTUS opinion, those restrictions have been lifted," bill co-sponsor Texas State Sen. Phil King said.
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