Ten Commandments at Texas State Capitol

The Ten Commandments on display outside the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

This monument outside the Texas State Capitol in Austin was the subject of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case (Van Orden v. Perry) about whether or not its presence violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On June 27, 2005, the court ruled that the display was constitutional, on the grounds that the monument conveyed a message that was both religious and secular. A similar case, involving a monument in Kentucky, was heard at the same time, and in that case the monument was ruled unconstitutional, attesting to the ambiguous nature of questions relating to the government and religion. The Texas monument itself was given to the state in 1961 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles and Cecil B. DeMille, who directed the film The Ten Commandments.


The Ten Commandments on display outside the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

The first clause of the First Amendment in the United States Constitution, prohibiting the establishment of a state religion.

The first article in the United States Bill of Rights; it prohibits the government from instituting a state religion or infringing on freedom of speech.

Unrelated to religion.

The foundational document of the United States, which outlines the structure and powers of the government as well as the rights of US citizens.

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