Students in Chicago's public schools may soon sport the Ten Commandments on their book covers: the local school district has approved a plan for an independent religious group to distribute them off-campus. The Total Living Network, a television-based ministry, is giving out about 100,000 book covers that feature the Ten Commandments on one side and inspirational quotes from Oprah Winfrey and others on the other side.Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas gave his approval as long as the book covers are distributed off-campus and students are not forced to take them."I am enthusiastically supportive," Vallas said in August. "I view the Ten Commandments as history's value statements. They're certainly universally accepted."Church-state watchdog groups are giving their blessings as well, as long as the school district is "rigidly neutral," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State."[The school district] has no business taking a position on whether the Ten Commandments or any other religious document is good, bad, or indifferent," Lynn said.Meanwhile, the school board in Grand Prairie, Texas (near Fort Worth), is allowing book covers with the Ten Commandments and rival covers with quotes from Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the missing atheist, on the separation of church and state.

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Schools OK Decalogue Book Covers
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October 2, 2000

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