FARGO — Nearly a week after Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed in school classrooms, the law is already facing its first potential legal challenge.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation based in Madison, Wis., is starting to put together evidence to possibly sue the state over the law.
Dan Barker, the foundation's co-president, said the law is unconstitutional, and it's an attempt to sneak Christian values into the classroom.
"Believers are free to have them in the churches and in their homes — this is a free country — but they're not free to impose their private religious views on the rest of the students," he said.
Supporters of the law say this gives schools more freedom and control over displaying the Ten Commandments and other documents, but Barker argued they shouldn't be put up at all in schools.
The law also requires the Ten Commandments be displayed alongside other historical documents. The foundation said in a statement that is against the Stone v. Graham decision in the United States Supreme Court, which bars any Ten Commandments display in a public school.
"To put some window dressing around it as if, 'Oh, there's a secular purpose here,' does not erase the religious purpose," Barker said.
While the state law has a provision in it that shields school boards, teachers and administrators from legal liability for the Ten Commandments displays, attorneys noted it won't protect them from federal lawsuits.