A Republican state lawmaker in Texas has filed a formal resolution calling for Christian religious dogma — including the word “God” and the Ten Commandments — to be used in the state’s public schools.
The resolution filed by state Rep. Phil Stephenson (R) on Monday asserts that all schools should display the Ten Commandments because the Republican Party Platform says that “public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history.”
“The overwhelming majority of voters in the 2010 Republican Party Primary Election voted in favor of the public acknowledgement of God,” the resolution states, adding that “displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational institutions and other government buildings are acknowledgements of the continuing and important role of our religious tradition.”
If the resolution is adopted then the Texas Legislature would be agreeing to “hereby support prayers, including the use of the word ‘God,’ at public gatherings as well as displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational institutions and other government buildings.”
The Dallas Observer‘s Eric Nicholson pointed out that Stephenson’s resolution had dropped all pretense that there was any difference between public policy in Texas and the GOP platform.
“Public policy in Texas is already dominated by the small cadre of Texas voters who vote in Republican primaries,” Nicholson wrote. “Why not just write it into law? On what grounds could the Supreme Court possibly object to such rock-solid legal reasoning?”
The Supreme Court has already ruled that displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools is unconstitutional. In the its 1980 Stone v. Graham decision, the court said that a Kentucky law requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it had no “secular legislative purpose.”