Louisiana House Green-Lights Ten Commandments Monument At Capitol

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Louisiana lawmakers are doing Moses a solid.

On Monday, the Louisiana state House approved a measure to install a monument to the Ten Commandments outside the capitol, Reuters reports.

The measure — sponsored by state Rep. Patrick Williams (D) — passed unanimously without debate. Williams took less than 30 seconds to describe the bill, the Times-Picayune reports.

The monument, according to Williams, is intended to be historical, not religious. A secular message, “Context for acknowledging America’s religious history,” with be printed on a plaque on the monument.“The significance is historical,” Williams told Reuters. “Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments. In fact, without them, a lot of our laws would not exist.”

From the Reuters report:

Williams’ bill provides for installation of a monument up to six feet tall, to be paid for with private donations. He says he modeled the bill on a Texas law that allowed placement of a granite monument displaying the Commandments on the Texas Capitol grounds, where it stands among more than a dozen monuments to historical figures and events.

Opponents, of course, believe the monument infringes on the separation of church and state. “If the government is sending a pro-religion message, that’s unconstitutional,” Marci Hamilton, a professor at Yeshiva University, told Reuters.

“The Legislature is signaling that it’s welcoming millions of dollars of litigation, because this will be challenged,” she added.

The bill now heads to the senate. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) says he will support the bill.

Read the rest here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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