Ky. Senate OKs Ten Commandments Bill
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ The Ten Commandments could be displayed in schools and on Statehouse grounds under a measure passed Wednesday by the Kentucky Senate that now heads to the governor.
The legislation urging public schools to post the code in classrooms passed 33-2.
A spokesman for Gov. Paul Patton said until the governor had a chance to review the legislation, it was premature to comment on whether he would sign it.
``Generally, when a strong majority approves such a measure, he (the governor) is inclined to accept it as public policy,″ spokesman Mark Pfeiffer said.
If it becomes law, the measure will likely provoke another legal fight in Kentucky on the posting of the religious commandments in public buildings.
The measure also requires that a large monument of the Ten Commandments be taken out of storage and placed outside the Capitol.
Jeff Vessels, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Kentucky, said the group would challenged the move.
``Our belief is that the monument would represent government’s promotion of religion, which is forbidden by the First Amendment,″ Vessels said.
The 7-foot-high monument was donated to the state by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1971. It stood in an obscure corner of the Capitol grounds until the late 1980s when it was removed to make room for the Capitol complex’s heating and cooling plant.
The proposal also urges schools to teach about the influence of Christianity on this country.
The measure says documents depicting the Ten Commandments may be posted in classrooms and on public property as part of ``an historical display along with other historical documents.″ No specific religion or faith is mentioned.
Sen. Albert Robinson, a Republican, said the commandments would be used as a historical document, not for religious purposes.
``I see no controversy in this,″ he said.
Vessels expressed reservations about the school postings.
``We will have to wait and see what happens with local implementation if it becomes law, and challenge specific postings as they occur,″ he said.
The ACLU has sued Harlan County schools for posting commandments in each school building. It sued Pulaski County and McCreary County for posting commandments in their schools and courthouses as signs of support.