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)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.