Texas capitol

AUSTIN — A bill that would require Texas public classrooms to display the Ten Commandments failed Wednesday morning.

Senate Bill 1515 looked to place a selected version of the Ten Commandments in each classroom. It also dictated that the document must be at least 16 inches wide and 20 inches tall and include the text of the Ten Commandments “in a size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom.”

It was authored by state Sen. Phil King, R-Weatherford.

“I think this would be a good, healthy step for Texas to bring back this tradition of recognizing America's religious heritage,” King said when laying out the bill. “And most importantly, remind students all across Texas of the importance of a fundamental foundation of America and Texas law.”

King said a recent U.S.Supreme Court decision cleared the way for this bill after it found that the country’s traditions, including religious ones, cannot be censored. He argued that the Ten Commandments were part of the fabric of America.

The bill died after missing a key deadline this week.

Texas Democrat state Rep. James Talarico, of Round Rock, a self-identified Christian, said he was against the bill because he believed it was “idolatrous” and “exclusionary.”

He said the failure of the bill is an “important win for religious liberty and the separation of church and state.”

“The Ten Commandments are important to me personally and to my faith. But this bill … is deeply offensive to me as a Christian,” Talarico said following the vote. “A religion that has to force people to put up a poster to prove its legitimacy is a dead religion.”

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