One Step Forward, One Step Back: VA School Board Removes Commandments, but Adds Problematic Display
Sometimes government entities manage to do something right and something wrong simultaneously.
The Giles County School Board voted unanimously last week to remove the Ten Commandments from a hallway display at Narrows High School in Narrows, Va., according to The Roanoke Times.
In its place, the board elected to put up a page titled “Roots of Democracy” from a history textbook. The poster-like page mentions the English Parliament, ancient Greece and the Enlightenment as contributing to democracy in America. But it also celebrates the “Judeo-Christian roots” of American government.
The document says: “The values found in the Bible, including the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus, inspired American ideas about government and morality.”
If you’ve been following the situation in Giles County, then you know why this change was made. Last year the Virginia ACLU sued the school board on behalf of a parent and a student who wanted the Commandments display, which had been in place since 1999, removed.
In May, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski heard oral arguments in the case and ordered mediation. The Times reported that Urbanski suggested removing the first four commandments, which are explicitly religious in nature, and leaving the six more secular commandments.