‘Theocrat’ signs Ten Commandments bill that ‘secularist’ Brian Tyler Cohen scorns

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Brian Tyler Cohen and Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry

FFRF Action Fund’s “Secularist of the Week” is Brian Tyler Cohen, the popular progressive political commentator, for denouncing the bill our “Theocrat of the Week” has signed into law. 

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signed HB 71 on Wednesday of last week. The bill dictates that the Ten Commandments must be in “large, easily readable font” and be displayed next to a three-paragraph statement saying that the commandments have been a prominent part of education in the United States. Last Friday, Landry appeared on a Fox News program in his first interview since signing the bill, where he shamelessly defended the new law. 

Landry started his defense: “Look, when the Supreme Court meets, the doors of the Supreme Court on the backside have the Ten Commandments.” Landry is wrong. The lower portions of the doors of the Supreme Court are engraved with a symbolic depiction of two tablets bearing the Roman numerals I through V and VI through X and do not necessarily represent the Ten Commandments. Landry continued: “Moses faces the U.S. speaker of the House in the House chamber. He is the original giver of law.” However, Moses is notably depicted here as a historical exemplar of a lawgiver, not as a religious figure. 

Landry further argued: “I mean, look, this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and every time we steer away from that, we have problems in our nation.” Landry apparently wants to steer public education towards Judeo-Christian principles in his “Dream Big” Education Plan, which wants to “reform Louisiana schools” through various bills that would remove Covid-19 vaccination requirements, implement school voucher programs, install chaplains in schools and require parental consent for students’ preferred pronouns.

Landry had previously declared, “I can’t wait to be sued,” while giving a keynote speech at a fundraiser for the Tennessee Republican Party four days before he signed the bill into law. Landry reiterated this point this week in a fundraising email with the subject line, “I cannot wait to be sued.” In the email, Landry wrote, “We’re in a culture war not of our making, and in the face of this Marxist, anti-American and anti-Christian LGBTQ agenda, I choose to advance the values of our Founding Fathers.” Landry, of course, means his interpretation of Judeo-Christian values.

“It’s either their values, or ours, that will rue the day — and I will not apologize,” Landry concluded. Landry has been granted his wish of legal action. Earlier this week, FFRF announced its participation in a coalition suing Louisiana to block HB 71. The complaint was filed on Monday and represents nine Louisiana families with children in public schools. We are relieved to have the chance to deter Landry’s gross Christian nationalist pursuits.

Meanwhile, our “secularist” is using his substantial platform to point out the danger, and overt constitutional violations, in requiring public classrooms to display a religious doctrine. Progressive political commentator, host of “No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen” podcast, YouTuber and MSNBC contributor Brian Tyler Cohen recently called out Louisiana’s awful Ten Commandments bill.

Last week, Cohen reposted an X post detailing how Louisiana has become the first U.S. state to sign a Ten Commandments bill into law. Cohen added his own commentary, writing, “This is unconstitutional and maybe the state ranked 46th in health care, 47th in education, 49th in economy, 49th in infrastructure, and 50th in crime should focus on something other than shoving religion down kids’ throats.” 

Cohen reiterated this point in an Instagram Reel, saying, “This is blatantly unconstitutional. It violates the separation of church and state. The Supreme Court has already ruled as much in Stone v. Graham that this display isn’t allowed.” Cohen added that Louisiana is also ranked 50th in maternal mortality. 

Earlier this year, Cohen posted on X, alongside a Politico article about Project 2025, “NEW: Trump’s team is preparing to fundamentally reshape America under their ‘Project 2025’ plan if he wins in November. Their first priority: Declaring America is now a ‘Christian nationalist’ country.” Cohen has long used his platform to publicize the dangerous developments from the Right. He does not shy away from warning the public about the precariousness of Christian nationalism and the looming threat of a second Trump term. 

Cohen has a book coming out in August titled: “Shameless: Republicans’ Deliberate Dysfunction and the Battle to Preserve Democracy.” The book details the lies and hypocrisy within the MAGA Republican Party and what Democrats need to do to fight back. It includes a foreword from a frequent ally of FFRF and FFRF Action Fund, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin. We are endlessly thankful for Cohen’s voice and platform. His work ensures that more and more people are made aware of the seemingly constant Christian nationalist developments coming from the Right — such as Landry’s recent theocratic move in Louisiana. 

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.