A relief statue of a man holding the 10 commandments

FFRF Action Fund condemns passage of Ariz. Ten Commandments-in-school bill 

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The FFRF Action Fund is decrying the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1151 today, which will allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools.

The bill would add the Ten Commandments to the list of American history items that teachers can read aloud, teach and display in classrooms. It is now headed to Gov. Katie Hobbs’s desk, where we presume it will get a fast veto. (See FFRF Action Fund’s action alert to Gov. Hobbs.)

The bill is patently unconstitutional, since the U.S. Supreme Court issued a definitive decision in Stone v. Graham noting that “the preeminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious.”

The court held: “The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one’s parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. See Exodus 20:12–17; Deuteronomy 5:16–21. Rather, the first part of the commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshiping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord’s name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day. See Exodus 20:1–11; Deuteronomy 5:6–15.”

A primary sponsor of the Arizona measure, state Sen. Anthony Kern, recently named FFRF Action Fund’s Theocrat of the Week and a member of Arizona’s alt-right Freedom Caucus, has made Christian nationalist statements to the House Education Committee, such as, “Our history is the Ten Commandments, our history is the Judeo-Christian values.” Kern has also been dismissive towards the notion of allowing teachers to talk about the Muslim holy book, stating: “If I go to the Middle East and promote Christianity, I’m going to get my head chopped off.”

The FFRF Action Fund expresses its deep disappointment with the Arizona Legislature.

“The willingness of Arizona lawmakers to enforce their religious views upon Arizona children of all religions and no religion is deeply dismaying,” says FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Public schools are for education, not religious indoctrination.”

The Action Fund is hopeful that Gov. Hobbs will veto this bill and send a message to students that their rights are valued. We will fight for the constitutional right to be free from religious indoctrination in public schools.

FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.