AUSTIN, Texas (BP) – A bill that would have required public elementary and secondary schools to post prominently the King James Version of the Ten Commandments in every classroom has died in Texas.
The Texas Senate passed the legislation in April, but the House failed to meet a midnight deadline May 23 to advance the legislation.
Republican Sen. Phil King authored the legislation as “a good healthy step” in reviving a tradition of recognizing America’s religious heritage.
The bill “restores a little bit of those religious liberties that were lost and most importantly will remind students all across Texas of the importance of a fundamental foundation of America and Texas law,” King said when the Senate passed the bill, “and that being the Ten Commandments.”
Displays of the Ten Commandments, versions of which are prominent among many religions encompassing Protestants, Catholics and Jews, would have been required to meet certain size specifications and would have been limited to the King James Version of the Bible.
Texas Gov. Bill Abbott was attorney general when the state successfully won the right to display a Ten Commandments monument outside the state capitol.
The Texas Senate passed two additional bills this legislative session, one allowing school districts to require schools to include staff and student prayer time in daily schedules, and a second that would allow schools to place trained chaplains in schools. The House has approved neither bill.
The Texas Legislature approved a bill allowing trained chaplains in schools, and the Senate passed a second bill allowing school districts to require schools to include staff and student prayer time in daily schedules. The latter bill has not passed the House.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ senior writer.)