Alabama Voters Pass Amendment to Display Ten Commandments at Public Schools
In the Nov. 6 elections, residents of Alabma voted overwhelmingly to amend their state constitution to authorize the display of the Ten Commandments on public property, including public schools. The measure, Alabama Amendment 1, also defined certain religious liberty rights to be included in the state's constitution.
Alabama Amendment 1 won with 71.66% of the vote; 28.34% of voters opposed the measure.
According to Ballotpedia.org, "Amendment 1 added language to the state constitution to authorize the display of the Ten Commandments on public property, including public schools. Amendment 1 required the Ten Commandments to be displayed, according to the measure, "in a manner that complies with constitutional requirements," including being mixed with historical or educational items. The measure prohibited the state from using public funds to defend the constitutionality of the amendment."
In addition, the amendment added statements about religious rights to the state constitution, including, "Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience," and, "The civil and political rights, privileges, and capacities of no person shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his or her religious belief."
Amendment 1 was pushed primarily by the Ten Commandments Amendment PAC, headed by Dean Young. Commenting on the issue, Young said, "Do the people of Alabama want to acknowledge God, the God of the Old and New Testament, the Christian God? Do we want to acknowledge the God that our nation was founded upon? Alabamians will vote, they will reckon on that day with God how they vote on this, that's how serious this is. Either we stand for God or we won't."
The measure was opposed by the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Alabama ACLU Executive Director Randall Marshall said, “This is feel-good legislation that merely sets up entities to be sued if they display the Ten Commandments. The fact of the matter is, if the purpose of the display of the Ten Commandments is religious, it’s going to be unconstitutional.”
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