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The Ten Commandments Should Be Taught In Classrooms, Not Just Hung On The Wall

The problem is with radical left-wing teachers and administrators, not what’s hanging on all classroom walls.


Louisiana made news this week for passing a law that mandates the Ten Commandments be displayed on the walls of every public school classroom, including elementary schools, middle and high schools, and all public college classrooms.

The law defies a 1980 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar law in Kentucky, so this is certain to be challenged in court — a prospect supporters of the legislation are counting on. “I can’t wait to be sued,” said Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry, who has been rather open about one of the purposes of the law: to challenge Supreme Court precedent on the First Amendment, specifically regarding the establishment clause, which for the past half-century has been used to excise nearly all formal recognition of religion from America’s public schools.

As a vehicle for challenging bad precedent, the law seems sufficient. But another purpose for it, at least according to Landry and other Republicans, is to instruct and mold students. “If you want to respect the rule of law,” the governor said, “you’ve got to start from the original lawgiver, which was Moses.”

This is true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far. The idea that posting the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms will do anything to inculcate in students a respect for the rule of law, to say nothing of basic morality, is pure fantasy. You might say it’s necessary but not anywhere close to sufficient.

If you want to teach students to respect the rule of law and understand that just laws are based on objective moral standards, then you’re going to have to do more than post the Ten Commandments. You’re going to have to get to the root cause of why these things are not taught in public schools anymore — in fact the opposite is taught, that objective morality is oppressive and that the rule of law is systematically racist.

That means you’re going to have to do something about the teachers and administrators. It’s no secret that public school teachers all over the country tend to be far more left-wing than the average American and that no matter how small or conservative your community might be, its teachers and librarians and public school administrators are among the most radical people in it. They are supported by powerful teachers unions and come out of an education and credentialing pipeline that exists to put left-wing ideologues in classrooms and school bureaucracies.

If you really want students to learn about the importance of the Ten Commandments — to say nothing of Christianity, Western philosophy, or the American founding — then you’d better be ready to take on the teachers unions and dismantle the teachers colleges and credentialing programs.

All of those things are of course well within the mandate of state legislatures. If the GOP-controlled Louisiana legislature has enough votes to mandate the Ten Commandments be displayed in every classroom in the state, surely they have enough votes to shut down the teachers colleges and repeal the laws requiring that every public school teacher be credentialed from such colleges.

It’s all well and good to pass laws with a view of changing Supreme Court precedent on establishment clause jurisprudence, but that doesn’t really strike at the root of the problem. Even if the Ten Commandments are allowed to remain on the walls of Louisiana classrooms, students aren’t going to learn anything about them unless they’re taught by teachers who themselves understand the importance of the Ten Commandments.

Therein lies the problem. The institutions that were once supposed to safeguard our education system have been taken over and transformed by leftist radicals who hate the very things we need them to teach our students — like respect for the rule of law or what the Ten Commandments are and where they came from.

What can be done about this? Plenty. Conservatives who actually care about such things are in the minority in America. They don’t wield a lot of institutional power. But Republicans, who count at least some conservatives among their ranks, currently control state legislatures and governors’ mansions (trifecta control) in 23 states. If the GOP in those states really wanted to fight back against the left’s control over public schools, it could push for the abolition of teachers colleges, or of credentialing requirements, or change them so that public school teachers need not be indoctrinated in Marxist ideology to teach in a Republican-controlled state.

And of course, much more than just that could be done — if the right wanted to fight back. The key thing is getting over this idea that we must preserve at all costs an outdated and fundamentally flawed notion of neutrality in our public institutions, that public schools, for example, must be silent about religion and morality even as they indoctrinate students in what amounts to a new religion of leftist political activism, bombarding them with lessons derived from critical race theory and LGBT ideology.

The left obviously doesn’t care about neutrality. Every institution and public space they are able to control is immediately used to push a very non-neutral message and agenda. Conservatives are the only ones who even pretend to care about neutrality anymore. It’s time to change that. Neutrality has always been a luxury good that only a religiously and culturally homogenous society could afford. Once the left weaponized it as part of a campaign to take over institutions, it became folly to adhere to it.

And yet most Republican officeholders still do. They should stop and get serious about getting the Ten Commandments back in public school — in the curriculum, not just posted on the wall.

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