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Ten Commandments Law Is Worse Than Worthless; It's Pandering

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Up front, I want to say this: I have no problem with the Ten Commandments.

They're solid, as far as life rules go. Of course, there are at least seven different versions, there are more than 10 of them, and they make now-unnecessary references to things like graven images and the coveting of slaves. But if you need a handy list of how to keep yourself out of serious trouble, they'll do in a pinch.

The issue I take is not with the commandments themselves but with the recent bill signed by Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry requiring every public school from elementary to high school to display a copy of the commandments in classrooms in "large, easily readable font" in a poster or framed picture at least 11 by 14 inches big.

Unlike the Ten Commandments, that Louisiana law is worthless.

No, it's worse than worthless. It uses God to pander and deceive, and it's a colossal waste of lawmakers' time. When the lawsuits start rolling in, and whoo boy will they ever, then it'll also become a colossal waste of the courts' time.

If the Supreme Court's majority comprised unbiased jurists instead of guys who fall asleep during argumentation and go home at the end of the day to avowed Trumpers, the law would certainly be found to be unconstitutional. And while that still may be the case (as brazen as the court gets, even they might have trouble justifying overturning a 1980 ruling prohibiting Kentucky schools from doing the exact thing Louisiana is proposing), it's no guarantee.

And, in the meantime, lawmakers in Baton Rouge have been busy throwing away their time and energy on a measure that does nothing to repair what is clearly a troubled educational system.

I went to a fantastic elementary school in New Orleans, one that wound up being among the 100 destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. After the natural disaster, Louisiana's school system was changed into a charter model, one that let higher-income students thrive in good schools and left economically disadvantaged kids in underfunded ones.

The hurricane's legacy and the resulting right-wing takeover of Louisiana's educational system show the rest of the nation what happens when Republican politicians run schools.

According to the Nation's Report Card, Louisiana fourth graders were "significantly below" the national averages in both math and reading in 2022, and eighth graders were "significantly below" in math (but only just lower than the national average in reading).

U.S. News and World Report ranked Louisiana dead last among its 2024 list of best states. It came last in crime and corrections, second-to-last in natural environment, economy and infrastructure, 46th in education, and in the bottom 10 on all their other metrics.

A 2024 report by WalletHub put Louisiana as the 48th most educated state (in other words, only two states are lower) and 46th in quality of its school districts.

Great time for the governor to focus on wall decorations, right?

 

I mean, Landry could throw a dart at a board covered with 1,000 possible education initiatives, and 999 times he'd hit on a better idea than forcing schools to teach religion.

It's also profoundly ironic that the very people going wild at the thought of kids learning some men are married to men have no issue with teachers explaining adultery to kindergartners.

I've heard so much about all the allegedly obscene content to which public schools are subjecting children, however, I've yet to see an iota of evidence of it in my own kids' schools. So, if MAGAs want me to believe they truly just have a problem with sexualized content in schools, they're going to need to explain how teachers will define adultery without using the word "sex." And if you think the kids won't ask, that only proves you've never met a 7-year-old.

For his part, Donald Trump said he loves the Ten Commandments in schools, which is hilarious because 1. I'd bet my 401(k) he couldn't name them all and 2. We have direct evidence that he broke at least half of them.

I often wonder if Republicans will ever tire of the GOP pandering to their base's basest instincts, but then I realize it's been happening for 50 years and they're still totally fine with it.

The final step for GOP politicians is the inevitable grandstanding about the value of biblical morality while simultaneously sticking their hands into the pockets of naive donors who'll think they're paying for God's law to be defended in court.

"I can't wait to be sued," Landry said to a Republican fundraising crowd recently, according to reporting by The Tennessean.

Now, that I believe to be true.

Looks like Landry's read at least one of the commandments, anyway.

To learn more about Georgia Garvey, visit GeorgiaGarvey.com.

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Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.


 

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