WASHINGTON—If the front door is closed, leave it to parents to find a window.
Fed up waiting for Congress and state legislatures to allow the Ten Commandments back into public schools, parents have found their own way.
“I want it on all the books,” Connie Williams, of Charleston, S.C., told the Register. Williams, with the help of volunteers, dispensed 10,000 book covers with the Ten Commandments written on them to public schools students in Charleston.
“People are excited and everyone likes the design,” Williams said. Although skeptical of the impact of placing it on the wall, Williams felt assured that if the Ten Commandments were on a child's book, he would read it.
Williams got the idea from a woman in Texas. She presented the proposal to her local church and secured $2,000 for the project.
Then, Williams did her homework. She found out where each school was located and what time its day started. She then found local volunteers who would hand them to children located off school property. Another book-cover crusade has been reported in Chicago.
“Adults are not allowed to hand them out on school property, but the kids can,” Williams told the Register.
For Williams, getting the Word of God into the hand of school children was a mission. “That was the burden on my heart,” she said.
Meanwhile, the legislative battle continues.
“I believe we are leading the nation,” Kentucky State Rep. Dr. J.C. “Bo” Ausmus told the Register of his plans to put the commandments in the schools.
Rather than making the decision statewide, the Ausmus bill would allow voters in local school districts to decide through referenda if the Ten Commandments should be placed on the wall.
“It's a local decision every turn you take in Kentucky,” Rep. Ausmus said. “We've written a foolproof bill here in Kentucky.”
The bill could give potential opposition groups like the ACLU the fits. “Normally, they would just go the court in Frankfurt, looking for an injunction,” Rep. Ausmus said. “They can't do that with this bill. They would have to go and sue each school.”
Rep. Ausmus said that the bill was crafted according to the guidelines acceptable by the Supreme Court. “Everybody that's looked at this says it's constitutional,” even opponents of the bill, Rep. Ausmus said.
Critics of the bill have deemed it merely symbolic, an act that feels good but would not truly affect any child. Rep. Ausmus dismisses such arguments.
“What if it saves just one life? Then it's the most important thing I've done,” Rep. Ausmus told the Register.
Federally, pro-family groups are promoting the Ten Commandments Defense Act, now stalled in the Senate.
“We think there's a hole in the heart of America,” Janet Parshall, chief spokesperson for the Family Research Council, told the Register. “We've tried everything else, we've tried metal detectors, who not try heart detectors?”
Parshall understood that the court has ruled in Stone vs. Graham against the displaying of the Ten Commandments, but she is convinced that this does not end the issue once and for all. “It's still debatable; I think it's worth a challenge.”
In a statement, Terry Shroeder of the ACLU countered that legislation to put the Decalogue in schools will “force feed” religion to public school children.
Parshall answered that the Ten Commandments have widespread support. “The Ten Commandments are recognized by three major religions of the world. Anyone who opposes them suffers from ‘theophobia’,” Parshall told the Register.
Parshall also fended off criticism that the act was simply symbolic. “The flag is just a symbol. The cross is just a symbol. But you know what? There are powerful ideas behind those symbols,” she said.