Narrows High School In Giles County, VA, Displays Textbook Page Of Ten Commandments

A Virginia public high school will display a page from a history textbook depicting the Ten Commandments, according to a recent compromise.

Originally, Narrows High School in Giles County displayed a framed copy of the Ten Commandments, prompting a lawsuit last September from the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, who argued that the display violated the separation of church and state.

The following statement will run beneath the image: "The values found in the Bible, including the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus, inspired American ideas about government and morality."

The textbook page also references other influences on American democracy, including ancient Greece and the Magna Carta.

The page will be displayed near the trophy case and will be seen by students every day, according to the ACLU.

The decision to display the textbook page came when the school board voted 5-0 in favor of replacing the commandments, which had hung for a year and a half.

According to the Roanoke Times, the motion passed by the board read:

In light of the recent controversy, and legal proceedings, and the substitution of this Roots of Democracy document in the place of the text of the Ten Commandments, this board will not approve the posting of the text of the Ten Commandments in our schools unless and until the courts provide further clarification of the law in this area.

Giles County school district is not the only one in which controversy brews over the proper place of religion in school.

In South Carolina, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and one of its local members filed a lawsuit last month against School District Five of Lexington and Richland counties over a district policy that sets benediction and invocation practices for school events.

The plaintiff, Matthew Nielson, filed the lawsuit after an initial letter of complaint voicing constitutional concerns was rejected by the district. The legal complaint indicts the district for "excessive governmental entanglement with religion."

In Rhode Island, Cranston High School West student Jessica Ahlquist was honored last month with the Humanist Pioneer Award at this year's annual American Humanist Association in New Orleans, the Christian Post reports.

Ahlquist was awarded the honor for successfully objecting to a prayer banner her school had on display. The 16 year-old brought the case to court, and in Ahlquist v. Cranston, the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island ruled in January that the school prayer banner had to be brought down because it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Ahlquist has also received a scholarship fund from the American Humanist Association.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Narrows High School. We regret the error.