The Ten Commandments may soon be coming to Idaho public schools

By Jim Jones
JJ Commontater

Jim JonesLouisiana Governor Jeff Landry recently signed a bill into law requiring the Ten Commandments to be hung in every public school classroom in his state. He knew the bill violated the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, but did it anyway. Landry is a Christian nationalist who wants to infuse his version of Christianity into practically every aspect of public life in America.

Landry acknowledged that the bill would provoke a legal challenge, but welcomed the prospect. He obviously wants to bring the case before the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in hopes of getting the Court to overturn previous rulings prohibiting the intrusion of religion into public schools. He knows he will have favorable federal judges in Louisiana to get the case before SCOTUS, and who knows what may happen there?

But, what does this have to do with Idaho? The fact is that copycat legislation will surface in Idaho in the near future. Idaho has grappled with any number of culture war issues having strong religious overtones in the last several years, including the criminalization of abortion, terrorizing librarians, LGBTQ discrimination, school vouchers and in vitro fertilization. The extremists understand the power of demagoguing culture war issues and won’t be able to resist trying to scare up votes with this one.

The far-right faction that now controls the Idaho Republican Party has a platform plank calling for school prayer, discussion of religion in the classroom and religious displays in schools, all of which are strictly prohibited by Idaho’s Constitution. The Idaho Freedom Foundation, which has dished up any number of culture war issues to help like-minded individuals win and retain public offices, is all in for religious teaching.

There is another powerful group with a strong interest in infusing religion into practically every aspect of governmental policy that will play a strong role in pushing the Ten Commandments into Idaho public schools. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a powerful, dark-money-funded Christian nationalist group that provides free legal help to like-minded state attorneys general will be there to help with the indoctrination effort.

Before taking office as Louisiana Governor earlier this year, Landry served eight years as attorney general of that state and worked closely with ADF on litigation to advance the cause of Christian nationalism. This year, ADF supported his successful effort to enact a universal school voucher program. ADF also wants school vouchers in Idaho.

There is an important public office in Idaho where the policy interests of Christian nationalists, the Moon branch of the GOP, the IFF and the ADF intersect on a variety of culture war issues, including religion and education. Idaho’s Attorney General is that point of intersection. Labrador has worked closely with Moon and the IFF on a variety of cultural issues since taking over as AG. He has used the “free” legal services of the ADF on a number of cases, mostly related to enforcement of Idaho’s total abortion ban.

The most interesting point of connection is Labrador’s devoted friendship with Governor Landry. They were both members of the far-right Freedom Caucus in the US House of Representatives in 2011-2013. It may be recalled that Labrador breached Statehouse tradition by skipping Governor Little’s State of the State Address in January to attend Landry’s swearing-in ceremony in Louisiana. The two have partnered up in a number of cases dealing with religion and education. Last year, Landry joined Labrador’s challenge to a California law prohibiting use of public funds for religious education. They have both strenuously opposed emergency medical care for women with dangerous pregnancies.

Considering all of these factors, it is almost inevitable that Idaho will soon be engaged in a fight over the Ten Commandments. The thing that mystifies me is why folks who claim to be followers of Christ and want a Christian nationalist government, don’t follow or even give fleeting reference to the teachings of Christ. You would think that they would take to heart and share Christ’s message of love, compassion and social justice in the New Testament, Christ’s Testament, rather than seeking political power through Old Testament laws. Jesus does not rate even a bit part in their play for religious power.

5 thoughts on “The Ten Commandments may soon be coming to Idaho public schools

  1. Freedom of Religion is not being respected if they try to force one religion’s beliefs into schools. The freedom to chose ones religion is what Jesus taught! Christians should respect that not all people believe as they do!

    1. Untrue. You should read you Bible, if you have one. “No one comes to the Father except through me”(John 14:6).

      1. Untrue. Tell that to a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Sikh, Shinto, a Zoroastrian, Islam or a non-believer. Each and many more are as valid as any other, though of course only the one I happen to believe is the one true religion, only my sacred and holy book the true word, written by men about 2,000 years ago who can assure you with unwavering conviction they were inspired.

        1. Sir, you self canceled your Christian belief. If you truly believe all other beliefs are valid, then you are not a Christian . The Bible is clear on this. This in no way disrespects other beliefs, put points out that only through Jesus salvation is obtained. The other religions are false, no matter what their well meaning believers say.

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