Every public-school classroom in Louisiana has been ordered to display a poster of the Ten Commandments – a move that civil liberties groups say they will challenge.

The Republican-backed measure is the first of its kind in the US, and governs all classrooms up to university level. Governor Jeff Landry signed it off on Wednesday.

The new law describes the commandments as foundational to state and national governance. But opponents say the law breaks America’s separation of church and state.

The first amendment to the US Constitution – known as the Establishment Clause – says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The state law requires that a poster include the sacred text in “large, easily readable font” on a poster that is 11 inches by 14 inches and that the commandments be “the central focus” of the display.

The commandments will also be shown alongside a four-paragraph “context statement” which will describe how the directives “were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries”.

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