N.C. Legislature Approves Posting Ten Commandments In Public Schools

July 7, 2008 - 7:03 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The North Carolina General Assembly approved legislation late Thursday allowing public schools in the state to post the Ten Commandments, as part of an overall character education bill. Gov. Mike Easley said he would sign the legislation.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, according to a spokesman, believes the legislation "could be held constitutional on its face, but the manner in which school boards apply it could be vulnerable to a lawsuit."

Bill Brooks of the North Carolina Family Policy Council in Raleigh said, "I think that's right. It's pretty straightforward. We think it's certainly possible for local (school) boards within their framework to allow schools to post the Ten Commandments. What this does is clears the way for them to do that."

The legislation also requires public schools to teach North Carolina state history and geography in fourth and eighth grades, impose dress codes and establish a character education curriculum, teaching courage, kindness, and other positive traits.

The American Civil Liberties Union North Carolina chapter isn't happy with the legislature's action.

"We oppose the amendment allowing the posting of the Ten Commandments in the schools as a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment," said Deborah Ross, head of the North Carolina chapter of ACLU.

"The Constitution requires that government and the public schools, in particular, may not prefer one religion over another or promote religion over non-religion. Local school districts are charged with educating our children. They do not need to instigate unnecessary legal battles," Ross said.

But syndicated talk show host Janet Parshall, a former spokesperson for Family Research Council and strong supporter of posting the commandments in schools, was happy about the legislature's action.

"I'm absolutely thrilled. I think it's highly ironic that the individuals who are going to object to the displaying of the Ten Commandments must forget that the basis of North Carolinian law is, in fact, predicated on those Ten Commandments," Parshall said.

"I also think it's a superb component for character education. Nothing like posting some rules that say 'don't'," she added.

Parshall, a former public school teacher, also said, "we used to say, don't run in the halls, don't chew gum, don't talk without raising your hand and don't kill, don't steal and don't take something that doesn't belong to you. Sounds like a good idea to me.

"So my hat goes off to those brave men and women of the North Carolina legislature who understand that American law is predicated on those Ten Commandments, and despite the objections of some, it's not about to be exorcised out of their experience," she added.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 prohibited the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools.