Alabama to vote on Ten Commandments amendment

Alabama voters next month will decide a constitutional amendment regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and government buildings.

Posted: Oct 20, 2018 7:14 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama voters next month will decide a constitutional amendment regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and government buildings.

The proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution says schools and public buildings can display the Ten Commandments as long as it is done in a way that “complies with constitutional requirements” such as being intermingled with historical documents.

Lawyers for groups who have argued both for and against the legality of such religious displays said the larger impact of the amendment could be encouraging schools and governments to put up the Ten Commandments — something that may or may not draw a legal challenge depending on how it is done.

“On one hand, it really doesn’t do anything. It basically says you can post the Ten Commandments as long as you post them in a constitutional manner — which can be done today,” Randall Marshall of the ACLU of Alabama said of the amendment.

“The other hand though is I think that this is going to lead, more than likely, a school district to think that now if this passes they have the right to post the Ten Commandments. ..... A school district just posting the Ten Commandment as a stand alone document is going to find themselves getting sued. It’s going to be held to be unconstitutional,” Marshall said.

Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, which has defended Ten Commandments displays in several states, said the language will encourage people to display the Ten Commandments by giving them some guidance.

“It doesn’t change what the U.S. Supreme Court would do on something of this nature other than in that area it would give comfort, I guess, or some guidance to the display of the Ten Commandments,” Staver said.

The measure was approved by the Alabama Legislature this year in a largely party line vote with supporters saying it would send a message about the state’s beliefs and some opponents deriding it as a political trick intended to drive conservative voters to the polls in an election year.

Alabama is revisiting the issue 15 years after former Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office for disobeying a federal judge’s order to remove a 5,280-pound granite Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building.

Dean Young, a Christian activist who supported Moore during that fight, created and funded a political action committee to promote the amendment. Young said the amendment’s passage will send a message that state wants to “acknowledge God and that’s the Christian God on that this nation was founded on.”

He predicted Alabamians will overwhelmingly approve the amendment on Nov. 6 and the displays will go up across the state.

The amendment vote comes at a time that some evangelicals are hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court will take a more favorable view of such displays.

State Sen. Gerald Dial, a Republican from Lineville pushed the legislation for more than a decade before it was approved last year in his final legislative session. It finally passed after Dial added the caveat that the displays had to be constitutional and a provision saying state funds couldn’t be used to defend a lawsuit against the amendment.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19774231
Hinds18916394
Harrison16850282
Rankin12823265
Jackson12700230
Lee9711162
Madison9499204
Jones8017148
Forrest7272138
Lauderdale6856227
Lowndes6051140
Lamar592081
Lafayette5761114
Washington5229130
Bolivar4626124
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Warren4143115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall405192
Monroe3994128
Union396674
Neshoba3836170
Lincoln3590104
Hancock351978
Leflore3394120
Sunflower319786
Tate303574
Pike301996
Scott295771
Alcorn292563
Yazoo291466
Itawamba290575
Coahoma282769
Tippah280065
Copiah279759
Simpson277180
Prentiss271258
Wayne254841
Leake253572
Marion252878
Covington249980
Grenada248778
Adams235378
George232445
Newton232252
Winston222179
Jasper213945
Tishomingo213065
Attala206871
Chickasaw201753
Holmes182770
Clay179351
Stone173129
Tallahatchie171739
Clarke170273
Calhoun158628
Smith153633
Yalobusha145636
Greene128133
Walthall124840
Noxubee123331
Montgomery123140
Perry122735
Lawrence120821
Carroll119325
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99624
Claiborne99029
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper90823
Quitman77414
Franklin76420
Choctaw69917
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62527
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498887

Reported Deaths: 10122
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719121402
Mobile36328740
Madison32639469
Tuscaloosa24372421
Montgomery22765520
Shelby22231218
Baldwin19890289
Lee15057158
Calhoun13901294
Morgan13770255
Etowah13407325
Marshall11452213
Houston10130264
Elmore9499190
Limestone9429138
St. Clair9041227
Cullman8991183
Lauderdale8618214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7628165
Walker6593259
Jackson6551104
Autauga633392
Blount6246128
Colbert6004121
Coffee5268104
Dale4676107
Russell407333
Franklin400078
Covington3998106
Chilton3902103
Escambia379273
Tallapoosa3631143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3422142
Pike293273
Marion288595
Lawrence285386
Winston258568
Bibb245758
Marengo243057
Geneva240570
Pickens225557
Barbour213951
Hale212269
Fayette202257
Butler201766
Henry183641
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165140
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146555
Clay146054
Cleburne139941
Lamar133933
Lowndes132851
Wilcox122825
Bullock117436
Conecuh107024
Perry106227
Sumter100432
Coosa90224
Greene88732
Choctaw55423
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