When I first lived in Springfield from 1957 to 1962, I attended kindergarten, first and second grades. I remember the school days starting for the first and second grades with the Pledge of Allegiance, singing a patriotic song and then a prayer, often accompanied with a reading from the Bible.

The third grade was in Montgomery, Alabama, and the same basic morning ritual existed there, except for the fact we had to sing “Dixie.”

By the time I was in the fourth and fifth grades (mostly in Hadley schools), the daily prayer was substituted by a “moment of silence.” We all knew what that was supposed to be — time for silent prayer.

Hadley though, took time out of the school week for an early dismissal to separate the Protestant and Catholic kids and send them down the street to their respective churches for some religious training, which in hindsight seems a bit over-the-top.

Clearly it had been assumed by school officials there were no kids in Hadley who couldn’t fall into the definition of Catholic or Protestant. If a kid was something else, clearly he kept his mouth shut to get along.

Supreme Court decisions in 1962 and 1963 made clear that religion did not have a place in public schools. By the time, I was in junior high any vestige of religion was out of the public schools — as it should have been.

I bring this up in light of the recent decision by the state of Louisiana to post in every school a poster of the Ten Commandments. It should be noted that in 1980 the Supreme Court ruled against the state of Kentucky for a similar action.

Now, let me state at this point, I don’t care how you conduct your spiritual life as long as your faith doesn’t call for hurting others and that you respect the faith of others. It’s called being an American.

Today, though, with the rise of “Christian” fundamental conservatism — I use quotes there as I don’t think they are indeed following the word of Christ — the idea of posting something like the Ten Commandments where school children can see them is believed to somehow be positive. Little Johnny will think twice before shoplifting a candy bar because he has been exposed to “thou shall not steal” on the wall of his classroom.

No, Little Johnny won’t steal because his parents have actually taught him the difference between right and wrong — and the idea that stealing isn’t right is amazingly universal through the world’s religions. Agnostics and atheists will also attest that stealing isn’t right.

Behaving in a caring and responsible manner can certainly be encouraged by religion but the best way is a home environment where parent or guardians guide a child to understand ethics and morality.

For the life of me, I don’t understand how people who call themselves Christian can think a poster in a school can somehow make a difference to a kid. Actions speak louder than words. It’s the most transparent kind of window-dressing designed for elected officials to appear they have actually done something.

They have done nothing other than violating the Constitution, which supposedly they hold dear, but in reality they don’t.

But for members of the right, words — meaningless words — are the currency of the day. Consider U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert for a moment. She recently said on Steve Bannon’s podcast, “I think this is something we need throughout our nation, and I am so proud of Gov. Jeff Landry, he’s a wonderful man, a great friend of mine, and I’m glad he’s in that position and taking action because we need morals back in our nation, and back in our schools.”

She continued, “If there is anything that we’re going to present in front of our children, it’s going to be, it should be the word of God because this is the one truth that is never going to change, and never going to leave them. It’s not some woke fad of the day that you can get canceled for believing in 10 years from now.”

“God?” Which God? Whose God?

Boebert, of course, is well-known for her do-nothing record in Congress as well as her most recent scandal involving her lewd behavior at a play.

What is her sense of right and wrong? When she and her date were tossed out of the theater because they were groping one another, where was her “morality” then?

It’s an election year for Boebert and other members of Congress so she has to do something to seem relevant. Any “conservative” talking about the Ten Commandments is pretty easy and certainly has no real impact.
Want to make the world a better place? If hanging a poster of religious teachings works for you, fine. Do it in your home not in a public school.

Maybe though you should think about treating others with respect. Perhaps don’t be so quick to judge. Take a breath before reacting and think about the consequences of potential actions.

Simple steps we all can take can indeed make a difference.