Spurred by recent fatal shootings in public schools, the House of Representatives in June voted to permit the display of the Ten Commandments in schools and other public buildings.

The House passed the "Ten Commandments Defense Act Amendment" 248 to 180. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), the Congregationalist son of a lay minister, offered the amendment to a juvenile crime bill in order to protect "the principles which we as a civil society need to live by to maintain order and decency, and to preserve the American family." The crime bill and Ten Commandments amendment are awaiting approval in a House-Senate conference committee.

Welton Gaddy, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance, calls the amendment a "transparent attempt to legislate a narrow and extreme interpretation of Christianity into public life." Sponsor Aderholt called the Ten Commandments "the principles which we as a civil society need to live by to maintain order and decency."

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, says that while the amendment does not specify which version or interpretation of the Ten Commandments can be displayed, it still "politicizes religion." Lynn vows to take the issue to court if the amendment becomes law.

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