The Texas Senate has passed a new bill that allows the Ten Commandments to be prominently displayed in public classrooms, NBC News reports.
The controversial bill is sponsored by Republican state Senator Phil King and has reignited the debate between the role of religion in schools and parental rights. According to the bill, every Texas public elementary or secondary school must “display in a conspicuous place in each classroom of the school a durable poster or framed copy of the Ten Commandments” by the start of the next school year in September.
“What SB1515 does is simply says that in every public school classroom in the state of Texas, there shall be posted a copy of the Ten Commandments,” Sen. King said in a statement. “Prescribes the exact same language of the Ten Commandments, which is on our own capital grounds, which has been approved by the Texas and U.S. Supreme Court.”
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R) praised both bills as part of the fight for “religious liberty in Texas.”
“Allowing the Ten Commandments and prayer back into our public schools is one step we can take to make sure that all Texans have the right to freely express their sincerely held religious beliefs,” Patrick said in a statement. “I believe that you cannot change the culture of the country until you change the culture of mankind.”
He added: “Bringing the Ten Commandments and prayer back to our public schools will enable our students to become better Texans.”
The Senate had also passed a bill that would give teachers and students will have time in the school day to engage in prayer and bible study. Despite Texas Senate pushing forth a religious initiative, multiple education and religious freedom groups testified against the bill earlier this month.