Lessons from Louisiana’s Ten Commandments Displays: ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill

Louisiana’s governor, Jeff Landry, recently signed into law a bill mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in every classroom across the state’s public schools. While this move has sparked considerable debate, it also presents an unexpected opportunity to foster compassion towards all sentient beings. Central to this discussion is the commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” a directive that extends beyond human life to encompass all creatures. This divine injunction challenges the ethical foundations of the meat, egg, and dairy industries, which are responsible for immense suffering and death. By reinterpreting this ancient tenet, students and educators might begin to view the lives of animals with renewed reverence, potentially transforming societal attitudes towards the consumption of animal products and the treatment of animals in general.

Lessons from Louisiana's Ten Commandments Displays: 'Thou Shalt Not Kill July 2024

Louisiana’s governor, Jeff Landry, recently signed into law a bill requiring that all public schools in the state display the Ten Commandments in every classroom. Although controversial, this decision to display the central tenets of Judaism and Christianity in publicly funded schools could also be a win for animals by shifting the way students and educators see other sentient beings.

One commandment in particular is a clear call and requirement for God’s people to be compassionate: “Thou shalt not kill.” And this commandment isn’t just “Thou shalt not kill human beings.” God gives life to all animals, including humans, and it’s not within our purview to take it from anyone, no matter their species.

Meat, egg, and dairy companies are part of a multibillion-dollar killing industry that gravely violates this commandment. Any meal that includes animal flesh, eggs, or dairy is an embodiment of horrific suffering and terrifying death. Factory farms are a living hell for cows, pigs, chickens, goats, fish, and other sensitive, intelligent animals, where they’re denied their God-given dignity in order to cater to consumers’ harmful habits and turn a profit. These animals are subjected to painful, horrific deaths; mutilations without anesthesia; and filthy, cramped living conditions before they’re sent to slaughter. But each of these living, feeling individuals was lovingly created by God, and just like us, they look to Him for comfort: “In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. … These all look to you .… When you hide your face, they are dismayed ….” (Psalm 104:24–29). It can only displease God to break His commandment by killing animals for food.

And we should also remember that even before He gave us the Ten Commandments, God instructed us to eat vegan: “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food’” (Genesis 1:29).

Louisiana’s decision to bring the Ten Commandments into classrooms will encourage students and teachers to contemplate this commandment in relation to the food they eat and help them lead the compassionate lives God intended for them.

As Gov. Landry clearly values the rules God has set forth for us to be good stewards of His creation, we’re asking the president of the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Ronnie Morris, to compassionately enact the commandment against killing by banning meat from meals served by his state’s public schools.

As Louisiana’s students see God’s commandments every day in their classrooms, putting this commandment into practice by teaching them to adopt compassionate food choices will help usher in a new generation of kind, mindful, and socially conscious leaders who respect everyone. And that will be a huge win for all animals!

Notice: This content was initially published on PETA.org and may not necessarily reflect the views of the Humane Foundation.

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