MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Senate has approved a bill that would place on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public property.
The measure put forth by Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, requires the Decalogue to be a part of a broader display that includes other historical pieces.
“The proposed amendment would propose a constitutional amendment which would provide that property belonging to the state may be used to display the Ten Commandments and that the right to display the Ten Commandments on property owned or administrated by a public school or public body is not restrained or abridged,” S.B. 139 reads.
“The Ten Commandments shall be displayed in a manner that complies with constitutional requirements, including, but not limited to, being intermingled with historical or educational items, or both, in a larger display within or on
property owned or administrated by a public school or public body,” it outlines.
The bill, which additionally contains language protecting religious freedom and association, also includes a prohibition on using public funds to defend the constitutionality of the amendment.
The measure was approved by the Senate 23-7 on Thursday, with all seven in opposition being Democrats. It will now move to the House for a vote.
“I don’t think there’s that much opposition in the House,” Dial told the Montgomery Advisor. “I’m going to give it the best shot.”
If it passes, the measure will then be placed on the ballot for voters.
“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, providing for certain religious rights and liberties; authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state property and property owned or administrated by a public school or public body; and prohibiting the expenditure of public funds in defense of the constitutionality of this amendment,” the ballot initiative will read.
As previously reported, the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Van Orden v. Perry, which upheld a Ten Commandments monument at the Texas state capitol, noted that Decalogue displays are “common throughout America.”
“We need only look within our own courtroom,” the justices wrote. “Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the south frieze.”
“Similar acknowledgments can be seen throughout a visitor’s tour of our nation’s capital. For example, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building since 1897,” the decision continued. “And the Jefferson Building’s Great Reading Room contains a sculpture of a woman beside the Ten Commandments with a quote above her from the Old Testament (Micah 6:8).”
“A medallion with two tablets depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the national archives,” the court outlined. “Inside the Department of Justice, a statue entitled “The Spirit of Law” has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments lying at its feet. In front of the Ronald Reagan Building is another sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments.”