Should the Ten Commandments hang in Utah’s public schools? Thus saith this lawmaker: yes.

Rep. Mike Petersen’s bill would mandate the display of a framed copy of the biblical precepts.

A Utah lawmaker wants to require every public school in the state to display framed copies of the Ten Commandments in a prominent location.

Rep. Mike Petersen, R-North Logan, unveiled HB269, which mandates that schools post a framed copy of the biblical document at least 16 inches by 20 inches. Schools must also accept donated posters of the Ten Commandments that meet those requirements.

In 2021, Texas adopted a law requiring public schools to display donated “In God We Trust” signs. Last year, Lone Star State lawmakers rejected a measure requiring the display of the Ten Commandments in every classroom.

Petersen did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Salt Lake Tribune.

Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said requiring the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools makes a mockery of the U.S. Constitution’s requirement to keep religion out of government.

“Displaying an inherently religious message like the Ten Commandments in public schools is divisive and tells students their public school — a government institution — favors certain religions over others and over nonreligion,” Laser wrote in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune. “In America, every child must feel equally welcome in their own classroom, regardless of their or their family’s religious beliefs.”

Furthermore, Laser added that it is improper for schools to impose religious beliefs on students.

“Forcing public schools to display the Ten Commandments is part of the Christian nationalist assault on public education and church-state separation. They want to ban books. They want to block lessons on race, sexual orientation, gender identity and even menstruation,” Laser said. “Now, they want schools to tell students how to worship. School officials cannot impose religion on students as a condition of getting a public education. Public schools are not Sunday schools.”

In 1980, the Supreme Court struck down a Kentucky law requiring the display of the Ten Commandments in classrooms. The court held that the Kentucky law violated a three-prong test, known as the Lemon Test, to evaluate whether a law or government activity infringed on First Amendment religious protections. That precedent was overturned in 2022 when the court implemented a new test considering whether a law was consistent with the country’s history and tradition.

A donated monument displaying the Ten Commandments on city property in Pleasant Grove was the center of a yearslong court battle after the Utah County city rejected another religious monument donated by the Utah-based Summum religion, which featured the faith’s “seven aphorisms.” That case wound its way to the Supreme Court. In 2009, the justices ruled the city’s rejection of the monument did not violate the Constitution.