10 Commandment displays may be allowed in Georgia government buildings

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 2 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

A Ten Commandments monument in Pleasant Grove's Pioneer Park. The Supreme Court allows for historical displays.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

Enlarge photo»

ATLANTA — A copy of the Ten Commandments could be posted in all Georgia government buildings and schools under a bill passed unanimously Tuesday by House lawmakers.

Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, is seeking to expand a 2006 law that already permits the Commandments to be displayed in judicial buildings and courthouses when accompanied by other historical documents deemed to have influenced the U.S. legal system. Georgia lawmakers passed that original law one year after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 struck down Commandment displays in two Kentucky courthouses, ruling they appeared to be a government endorsement of Christianity.

His latest bill passed by a vote of 161-0 and now heads to the state Senate. It has few vocal opponents and a strong chance of passing in a Bible Belt legislature.

"If you look at the law of the United States, we have a lot of laws that are based on the Christian and Jewish Ten Commandments, so I felt that was a very appropriate item to be put in there," Benton said.

His opponents argue the bill would allow the postings in school buildings, an area where courts typically draw a sharper line in favor of the secular in disputes over church and state.

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