Oklahoma State Capitol Officials Call Moratorium on All Additional Monuments After Satanic Temple Opens Floodgates

You knew there would be problems when Oklahoma state officials approved a Ten Commandments monument outside the building in 2012.

The Ten Commandments monument outside the Oklahoma State Capitol building (AP)

Two weeks ago, the Satanic Temple made nationwide headlines when they said they wanted to donate a monument to be placed in the same area.

A week later, a Hindu group followed, saying they wanted to donate a monument of Lord Hanuman:

You *know* more applications were in the pipelines, too — I mean, atheists hadn’t even offered anything yet! — which must be why the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission voted unanimously today to declare a moratorium on monuments:

Chair Trait Thompson, who also serves as senior policy advisory to Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, made the motion proposing the ban. “Earlier the (American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma) brought a lawsuit against the Capitol Preservation Commission regarding the placement of the Ten Commandments monument on the north grounds of the State Capitol. Since that time, the CPC has received numerous requests from individuals and groups seeking to place additional monuments on the grounds.

“At this time, I believe action by the CPC on any of these requests would be premature given that the lawsuit has yet to be decided,” he added.

Or, to paraphrase, we’re not saying yes or no to any of these other monuments because we’re already dealing with a lawsuit from the first one.

It’s interesting how the moratorium was declared now, even though the ACLU’s lawsuit was filed on August 20. The CPC didn’t anticipate any additional groups wanting monuments until the Satanic Temple opened the floodgates. (And hats off to them for doing so!)

How incredibly short-sighted of state officials not to see this coming… but it’s a positive development for First Amendment advocates who saw the Christian monument as an unfair establishment of one religion over all other belief systems.

(Image via Shutterstock — Thanks to @Calvyn82 for the link)

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • revyloution

    Timing… Moratorium starts right after the 10 redundancies are mounted, but before any else can be placed, leaving it the only monument over the Christmas holiday. Channeling through the the courts could take up to a year, putting the majority of the arguments, and press coverage, right smack dab in the middle of the mid term elections.

    Coincidence?

  • evodevo

    I think not !!!

  • Castilliano

    I think you’re giving them too much credit.
    They got overwhelmed with their situation and pressed ‘pause’.
    It’ll sink in there’s nothing they can do except rewind.

  • revyloution

    Perhaps I’m giving them too much credit. Ive watched too much House of Cards, and I’m starting to see plans within plans…

  • WallofSleep
  • WallofSleep

    I dunno, I think I can see the logic in what they did here. I bet the conversation went something like this…

    Jim: “The monument is up, and it does look pretty decent. But who gives a shit, this crap plays big with the rubes and it boosts my numbers”.

    Bob: “Well, just as you predicted, the ACLU has something to say about it.”

    Jim: “Badge of honor among my constituency, my boy. You know that. Those rubes eat this shit up like mana from heaven. No pun intended.”

    Bob: “I know, but now some metal band or something wants their own monument. The ‘Satanic Temple’ or something.”

    Jim: “HA! Fucking satanists? That’ll go over like a lead balloon ’round here kid. Nothing to worry about.”

    Bob: “I’m sure you’re right, but the Hindus want a monument now as well.”

    Jim: “The fucking what now? Spin-doos?”

    Bob: “Hindus, sir. Hinduism is a legitimate world religion with millions of followers. This shit could get serious, sir.”

    Jim: “Fuck me. What do you recommend?”

    Bob: “Put everything on hold for now, sir, and wait for the lawyers. And for God’s sake Jim, shut the fuck up until this is over.”

  • Psycho Gecko

    I can’t wait until the Christians have to get rid of their monument to Judaism (seriously, anyone else think that part’s weird?). You’ll be able to come back to this and go:

    Bob: It’s dead, Jim.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    As a person who grew up Jewish, I always thought this was weird, yes. If they’re going to use those laws, why not the other 603 of them?

  • Psycho Gecko

    It’s Christians erecting monuments to a religion they don’t believe in. Back them into a corner about Jewish law and they’ll admit that Jesus said they don’t have to follow those old Jewish laws, so it takes on a real doublethink feeling after awhile.

  • Tim Matter

    They don’t even follow all of these Ten Commandments. The sabbath is Saturday, and the penalty for working on it is death.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Sure. Though the penalty for most of them is pretty terrible. Christians always seem to forget to mention the penalties for breaking them.

    The Landover Baptist Church (a parody church) has a great list of the Christian Ten Commandments and their punishments. The punishments for breaking them, from 1 to 10 in order, are genocide, genocide, death, death, death, death, sometimes death, fines or enslavement, despisement and scorn, and despisement and scorn.

  • UWIR

    They also take pictures (graven images).

  • Randay

    Also in approximately converting from Biblical measures, the hypothetical stones were about 10 inches by 20 inches. Isn’t making these monumental graven images sacrilege?

  • skinnercitycyclist

    And of course, the monument itself is a graven image….

  • Anymouse

    And indeed, they die… eventually.

  • gimpi1

    Wow, that sounds so… uncannily accurate. Were you a fly on the wall, or are you psychic?

  • Castilliano

    And special thanks to our Hindu friends for joining the cause against “Christian Nationalists” or “Dominionists” as I’ve also heard them called.
    Cheers.

  • quasibaka

    The state guys would have been pretty scared when Hindu gods came up . Imagine if the different Hindu Sects wanted one of their particular god – Vishnu , Shiva , Krishna , Kali , Shakti , Ganesh , Muruga … You get the idea :)

  • Artor

    Kali would give them nightmares. I’ll donate to that, and I’m not even Hindu.

  • Rain

    They’re just mad because they can’t “shalt have no other gods”.

  • WallofSleep

    Seriously, this planet is going down the tubes. Life was so much simpler, so much more decent and wholesome when you could just “HULK SMASH!!!” the living shit out of anyone who didn’t believe in your deity just the way you knew they aught to.

  • Psycho Gecko

    It’d be hilarious if you couldn’t see that commandment because there were too many other god statues in front of the thing. Besides, what about having other gods after Yahweh? Like building your own pantheon of Yahweh, Mother Durga, Jar’Edo Wens, Coyote, Anansi, Sheogorath, Loki, Joe Pesci, and Superman.

  • Rain

    Nobody would know where to get in line. Yahweh is the only one nobody knows what the hell he looks like. You can’t have a god parade if nobody knows where the head of the line is. Where the hell is Yahweh?

  • Psycho Gecko

    Just pray to Joe Pesci. He’ll get this line straightened out, even if he has to use a baseball bat.

  • Artor

    He’s in the upper left corner of the crowd, in the red & white striped beanie & sweater.

  • randomfactor

    They could get the lawsuit kicked out of court tomorrow by removing the 10C memorial. Cheap at twice the price.

  • WallofSleep

    Yeah, but that would actually save the taxpayers a good chunk of money, and as you know, Republicans are all about saving the taxpayers money and reducing frivolous gov’t waste.

    Wait… fuck! Now I’m confused.

  • Richard Thomas

    No no no, you’ve got it all wrong. Republicans are for saving taxpayer money AFTER their voter base gets theirs. When it comes to people who disagree with them, they’d rather make them lose money (see proposed boycott of Times Square businesses because a billboard hurts feelings).

  • WallofSleep

    Times Square is in China, right?

  • Gehennah

    And I’m sure there are numerous churches in the area that would love to have the monument.

  • Tim Matter

    They don’t want it on church property. They want it on government property for a reason. To show who has the official approval of the government.
    I compare it to a dog pissing on things to claim them as his own.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    The officials are just postponing the inevitable, and probably inadvertently making more arguments for removing the Commandments monument. If they refuse the other monuments, they’ll have to give a rationale. It will require laughable contortions of logic to keep that rationale from also applying to that tandem tombstone they already put up.

  • Daniel Miller

    So they’re declaring the moratorium conveniently after a Christian monument is up, but before any other monument goes up? And not removing the original monument?

    This doesn’t sound like a good sign for their eventual fate in court.

  • Tor

    So which version of the Ten Commandments are on display? Protestant? Did you know Catholics and Protestants and Jews, and Orthodox Christians number their commandments differently? Perhaps they need a commandment monument from each tradition – for you know – the sake of tradition.

  • CamasBlues

    Yes, altho’ funny thing – most evangelicals tend to either not know that or simply declare that those others are just wrong.

  • Tor

    Similar deal with Lord’s Prayer. If Christians can’t agree on their two most important items, what hope do they have?

  • http://bintalshamsa.blogspot.com/ bintalshamsa

    I’m Orthodox and, lemme tell ya’, most American protestants don’t even know we EXIST! If they have seen an Orthodox church, they assume it’s just Roman Catholic.

  • $925105

    Awww, are the Christians feeling persecuted because other religions are given equal rights? Boo hoo!

  • RossPDX

    I have a problem with this ten commandments monument made in the likeness of a book that displays a commandment from God forbidding the creation of such a monument:

    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”

    While engraving it on the Sabbath day, the murderous, ungrateful son who carved it from a stolen slab of granite took the lord’s name in vain, slept with his neighbor’s wife, and then lied about it. Did I miss any? Even if the monument is constitutional, few of the commandments on it are, and even Christians are very selective in observing them. I guess the message they’re trying to send is “rules are made to be broken”.

  • Itarion

    “Have no gods before me”, I think. “Capitalist” or money worshiper will do nicely, i think.

  • baal

    Some one may correct my historicity but my understand is that we need to look to the context to get a better idea what the ‘graven images’ law is about. On one hand, we have the people of the book. The book tells you the law, culture and ‘right’ behavior. We see the ‘people ofhte book’ language even today in Islamic cultures. On the other hand were the people who worshiped idols…carved images. here, you can think of the golden calf or eqyptian gods who had super holy gods that were only to be seen on certain days of the year and they set up temples so that the light of the sun fell on the idols on the special day (etc). We can see something similar with god veneration parades / holy days in India today.

    So while the 10 commandments aren’t venerated like Ganesh on his birthday, the fetishistic quality the xtians have been putting on 10 commandments monuments is a lot closer to idol worship than it is to stick to the book.

  • Jonas

    Stop persecuting those poor Christians! How dare you mock these downtrodden people who run the economy and government. It’s just not right man. Can’t you see how much lasting harm your calls for equality are causing? Can’t you see how intolerant and disrespectful you are for trying to end Christian special privilege? Truly, this country has reached new heights in discrimination by asking for equality!

  • Dave The Sandman

    ….or “How to Loose a Court Case in One Easy Step”

    Next step….that chapel the right wing god botherers want to build in the Capitol.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    So, in the interest of fairness, they are temporariliy removing the Ten Commandments monument until they have the time to consider other monuments.
    … right?

  • $84687101

    That’s just fine. It should be a lovely document to add to the evidence in the trial, making the ACLU’s lawyers’ jobs that much easier. Thanks, Satanists, Hindus, and Oklahoma legislature!

  • GubbaBumpkin
  • https://agoldstardad.wordpress.com/ Fozzy

    I hate living here!!! Its like prison,,, pretty easy to get into.. not exactly easy to escape from

  • SeekerLancer

    It would be nice if we didn’t have to always go through this whole rigmarole to get the simple point across that religious displays don’t belong on public property at all.

  • Artor

    Oh, but then we’d miss out on the schadenfreude. It’s delicious!

  • Gerry Mooney

    I think “Incredibly Shortsighted” is the Oklahoma state motto, isn’t it?

  • Darrell Ross

    I am not convinced this is shortsighted at all.

    It’s a calculated move. They now get to maintain the Christian monument for as long as the law suit continues.

  • Artor

    I don’t see how the moratorium helps Oklahoma in any way. Now that they’ve already accepted the Xian monument, under explicit objections, establishing a moratorium now sounds like a clear admission of intent. Not like there was any doubt of that in the first place, but this is like shooting yourself in the foot after the horses have left the barn.
    I wish that, when they inevitably lose this case, instead of taking down the Ten Commandments, they are forced to accept every monument from anyone. Make the Okie State Capitol look like the circus ring it is.

  • Jacobi Coriolanus

    We all know the United States derived its laws from the Ten Commandments. All those other groups are just weirdos with unnatural beliefs trying to force what they believe on everyone else.

  • http://MY.EMAIL.IS.centirem.at.gmail.com/ yohocoma

    Somebody in Oklahoma needs to take a sledgehammer to the existing 10C monument – video the act and take responsibility for it, Snowden-style. They’ll suffer arrest and fine, but they would provide a good target for that 3 grand Mehta has sitting around, as well as for support from other people. Mainly, it would clearly send the message that bureaucratic shenanigans to favor Christians won’t be tolerated by the people of this country.

  • Jacobi Coriolanus

    It would confirm the bias of Christians that everyone who doesn’t think like them is antisocial and destructive. Religious pluralists handled this exactly the right way.

    Honestly given the degradation of Christmas into glorified commercialism I think all the other groups should band together and make a nationwide effort to cooperate and spread goodwill towards others during the holiday season. It would make a perfect contrast to people shoving one another and trampling them on Black Friday after camping on a sidewalk all night long in the snow to go buy junk to celebrate the birth of the savior who came to sacrifice himself for everyone’s greater good. “You guys only put effort into self serving hostility; we actually commit ourselves to the message of harmony in John 3:16 you claim exclusively for yourselves.”