CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. — Honour thy father and thy mother. Thou shalt not kill. Do not take the lord’s name in vain. Those are just three of the Ten Commandments -- among the most notable set of rules anywhere.
The Bible says the Ten Commandments are laws from God given to Moses on a mountain top. Now, the Cleveland County school board is considering displaying the commandments in all 30 of its schools.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent the district a letter saying, “Stop or you could be sued.” But the district said it’s not about religion, it’s about history.
According to the board chairman, a state statute allows the Ten Commandments in schools as a historical document, as the basis for laws in the U.S.
The district’s policy committee is considering how and where the commandments should be posted.
Mother of two elementary school students Jessica Smith said she can’t wait.
”I think God should be more in schools,” she said.
Smith said it builds on the religious values that she follows at home, which she thinks is missing in school.
“It builds good character for the kids,” she said.
Chris Line, an attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said Smith’s thoughts help build his case.
“The Ten Commandments is a religious document,” Line said.
He said no matter how much supporters say the Commandments are the backbone of jurisprudence, it still has multiple references to God and displaying it promotes one religion over all others.
“It sends a message to non-adherents that they are outsiders that if you don’t follow these beliefs then you are not a part of this school community,” he said.
Line said people in the county have complained to him about the board’s proposal.
He sent the school board’s attorney a letter warning no court has upheld posting the Ten Commandments in school.
“We don’t need the 10 commandments to be the reason to tell kids not to steal or murder. That’s kind of ridiculous,” he said.
The school board said it’s waiting for their policy committee to come to them with recommendations.
One faith leader told Channel 9 he supports posting the commandments in school, but he’d rather have people remember and follow them.
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