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Ten Commandments in Louisiana schools backed by Trump

05 July 2024

Alamy

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at 180 Church in Detroit in mid-June

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at 180 Church in Detroit in mid-June

DONALD TRUMP has endorsed a new law which requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every school classroom in Louisiana, following the publication of the results of a poll showing that his supporters believe that the Bible should influence US lawmaking.

The poll was carried out by Pew Research in February and April and has revealed that two-thirds of Trump supporters believe that the Bible should influence lawmaking. The same proportion of President Biden’s supporters say that it should have little or no influence on the laws of the United States.

When asked which should have primacy, the will of the people or the Bible, 45 per cent of Trump voters said that the Bible should have more influence, compared with just 15 per cent of Biden voters. A majority of both groups, however, say that religion should be kept separate from government policy, although Trump supporters believe that policies should support religious values.

Mr Trump’s backing of the Louisiana law comes as he seeks to galvanise support from the religious right, which has overwhelmingly backed him in previous elections. According to an AP Votecast survey, four in ten of Trump voters identify as white Evangelical Christians. At a gathering of the politically conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition at the weekend, Mr Trump said: “Has anyone read the ‘Thou shalt not steal’? I mean, has anybody read this incredible stuff? It’s just incredible.’’

He had previously posted on his social media network “I love the Ten Commandments in public schools, private schools, and many other places, for that matter. Read it — how can we, as a nation, go wrong???”

The Louisiana Bill has already led to legal challenges from civil liberties groups. The Bill requires every classroom which receives state funding to display the text prominently on a poster. Complainants say that such a display violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion.

A similar law in Kentucky was struck down by the US Supreme Court in 1980.

Mr Trump called on Christians to vote, saying “Go and vote Christians, please!” Evangelical Christian support for Mr Trump does not appear to have been swayed by his conviction for falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

Speaking to the Independent newspaper, one pastor at the Coalition conference on Saturday said: “We’re not looking for somebody who necessarily is going to live out our faith in all its particulars. We’re looking for someone who’s going to defend our right to live our faith. He’s going to give us the freedom to live our faith.”

Some analysts believe, however, that it won’t be Evangelical Christian votes that swing the election, but the votes of other faith groups in swing states, including “mainline” Protestants and Catholics. Greg Smith, from Pew Research, said that “white non-Evangelical Protestants and white Catholics” were at the centre of the political spectrum, and that the gaps between the two parties were much closer among these two groups.

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