A poster-sized copy of the Ten Commandments is required to be displayed in every public school classroom in Louisiana under a bill signed into law on Wednesday.

Louisiana is the first state to successfully pass legislation requiring the display of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms, including state-funded universities, since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to banish the tenets from America’s classrooms in 1980. Efforts to restore the commandments to public schools are active in other states, including Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah, although none so far have been successful.

The bill outlines that no state funding is to be used to place the Ten Commandments into public school classrooms — rather, schools may accept donated funds to purchase displays, or accept donated displays.

“I’m going to organize an effort, and we will fund it,” Dean Young told Breitbart News on Wednesday ahead of the bill’s signing. Young is a Christian activist who has worked for 30 years to restore the Ten Commandments to classrooms across the United States. 

“There will be a Ten Commandments for every single classroom in Louisiana, at LSU, at every college — and it will be funded,” Young continued. 

The bill points to more recent decisions by the Supreme Court finding that the Ten Commandments “have historical significance as one of the foundations of our legal system” and represent a “common cultural heritage.” The bill further states that “Recognizing the historical role of the Ten Commandments accords with our nation’s history and faithfully reflects the understanding of the founders of our nation with respect to the necessity of civil morality to a function self-government.”

“History records that James Madison, the fourth President of the United States of America, stated that ‘(w)e have staked the whole future of our new nation . . . upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments,”‘ the bill reads.

The bill also allows, but does not require, the display of Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinance. The bill mandates that displays be paired with a four-paragraph context statement, in which the Ten Commandments are described as “a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries.” Public school classrooms from kindergarten to universities must have the displays no later than January 1, 2025.

Although the bill did not receive a final approval from Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry (R), the time for him to either sign or veto the bill lapsed, allowing the legislation to go into effect, CBS News reported. Landry’s office did not respond to Breitbart News’s request for comment by time of publication.

Local media previously reported that Landry was supportive of the bill and even welcomed legal challenges to law.

“I’m going home to sign a bill that places the Ten Commandments in public classrooms,” Landry said during a speech on Saturday at a fundraiser in Tennessee. “And I can’t wait to be sued.”

So-called free speech groups have condemned the legislation as unconstitutional and a violation of separation of church and state.

“It is meant to impose Christianity on all students in Louisiana’s public schools, even if they belong to a minority religion or no religion at all,” The Center for Inquiry’s director of government affairs Azhar Majeed wrote in a June 14 letter to Landry. 

The Louisiana law comes after the Supreme Court decided in favor of a former Bremerton High School football coach who was fired for praying on the field. In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Coach Joe Kennedy’s silent prayers on the field after games did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. 

The Supreme Court also struck down the “Lemon test,” which was used in the Supreme Court’s 1980 Stone v. Graham decision to overturn a Kentucky law similar to the new one in Louisiana. The Lemon test was a measure of government coercion of religion that some justices had previously called outdated and misused.

“In place of Lemon and the endorsement test, this Court has instructed that the Establishment Clause must be interpreted by ‘reference to historical practices and understandings,’” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion for Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.

Focus on the Family’s Nicole Hunt queried in an op-ed for Newsweek: “Now, with the Lemon test officially rejected, it’s fair to ask whether, under this alternative test based on ‘historical practices and understandings,’ a state could require a culturally and historically significant document, like the Ten Commandments, to be posted in public school classrooms.”

She added:

Some opponents of the Louisiana legislation argue that it violates the separation of church and state. This is a specious claim—”separation of church and state” is never even mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

The phrase comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a Baptist church association. The association expressed concern about being targeted by the government for persecution because it was a religious minority. Jefferson used the phrase “separation of church and state” in an attempt to assure people of faith that the Constitution would protect their religious liberty from government discrimination.

Ironically, Jefferson’s words have since been used by individuals who seek to exclude religion from the public square to discriminate against people of faith.

State Rep. Dodie Horton sponsored the legislation, and pointed to the 2022 Kennedy decision as part of her inspiration, Nola.com reported. Horton emphasized that her bill is not designed to indoctrinate students, but to provide “guidelines.” The Senate passed the bill 30-8 last month after it passed the state House.

“It doesn’t preach a certain religion, but it does teach a standard,” she said, adding that the Ten Commandments offer a moral code that God “holds us accountable to live by.”

When asked what makes Louisiana’s effort successful where other states have failed, Young told Breitbart News that strong state leadership plays a huge role.

“I think part of the reason is because, finally, there is a governor [and a legislature] who will stand up and do what’s right…” he said, adding:

Until 1980, the Ten Commandments were in all the schools, and [state leadership] realizes that all of this garbage that they’re teaching these children about — if you don’t have a moral foundation, you get what we’re getting today. If there’s not right and wrong, and it’s just everybody’s opinion, then this is what happens: your society falls apart. 

“They realize we have to get back to what this nation was founded on, and this nation was founded on a belief in God,” he added. 

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.

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