Kentucky Senate Passes Resolution to Post Ten Commandments

February 16, 2000

Source: The Courier-Journal

On February 16, 2000, The Courier-Journal reported that the Kentucky Senate passed a resolution to encourage schools to post the Ten Commandments and teach about religion's influence on America by a 37-1 margin. A great deal of debate ensued over the inclusion of the influence of the Jewish faith on American history. The original resolution only referred to the teaching of the Christian faith, but the Senate decide to include the entire Judeo-Christian faith's impact in the United States. Sen. Albert Robinson, who sponsored the original resolution and ultimately voted for the amended version, spoke out against the inclusion of Jews in teaching American history: "I think we have done the Christians and the Christian history of this nation a terrible injustice...When the boat came to these great shores, it did not have an atheist, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew...Ninety-Eight percent plus of these people were Christians."

The one dissenting vote came from Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, who felt that the resolution diminished the separation of church and state and did not adequately include other religions. The resolution would require that the State's Education Department quell "any climate of fear by those who would discourage teachers from teaching about Judeo-Christianity's historic influence on the founding of America and the development of its law and government." The resolution also prevents the "suppressing or censoring" of historic documents that acknowledge God. The Kentucky House of Representatives is drafting a bill that would allow the teaching of religion in schools only if it is part of a comparative religion class. House Floor Majority Leader Greg Stumbo said that the House won't be quick to move on the Robinson resolution. Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport of The Temple in Louisville, KY opposes the new resolution: "From my perspective, and from the perspective of a minority religion, I think it's essential that we protect the rights of everyone."