On a day when the opening prayer in the House of Delegates acknowledged the separation of church and state, lawmakers reacted to the recent events in Giles County
One who sponsored legislation requiring schools to post "In God We Trust" says a display of the Ten Commandments reflects a moral code, not religious indoctrination.
"Do the opponents object to prohibitions against lying or thievery,' asked Manassas Delegate Bob Marshall? "I don’t understand this," he said.
Some of the lawmakers who represent Giles County in the General Assembly shared concerns, but were reluctant to criticize the school board or the community.
"I don’t know all of the details as to what they’re doing in Giles County," said State Senator John Edwards, "but I do know we in the Senate on several occasions in the recent past have resisted bills that would require the posting of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of separation of church and state."
"The people in Giles County are great people. I've enjoyed working with them," said Delegate Jim Shuler. "I don’t think everybody agrees with what they’re doing," he added. "There are a lot of religions out there that we deal with in this state, but if the people, the citizens of Giles County, feel strongly about this, so be it."
The State Board of Education does have guidelines on Religious Activity in the Public Schools, a document prepared with the help of the Attorney General’s Office back in 1995. It says the Ten Commandments can be posted on a temporary basis as part of an academic lesson or curriculum, but not when the purpose or primary effect is to advance religion.