Oklahoma Legislator Files Bill to Keep Ten Commandments Monument on Capitol Grounds

Last week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol was unconstitutional:

Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma (via James Nimmo)

But Governor Mary Fallin says the monument isn’t going anywhere. At least not until she’s exhausted every appeal from the other branches of government:

“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions,” Fallin said. “However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government.

“At this time, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, with my support, has filed a petition requesting rehearing of the Ten Commandments case. Additionally, our Legislature has signaled its support for pursuing changes to our state Constitution that will make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible. If legislative efforts are successful, the people of Oklahoma will get to vote on this issue.

“During this process, which will involve both legal appeals and potential legislative and constitutional changes, the Ten Commandments monument will remain on the Capitol grounds.”

Here’s what the legislature is doing: State Rep. John Paul Jordan wants to change the state Constitution to remove this passage:

No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.”

It was the section directly cited by the State Supreme Court in their decision.

… Jordan’s proposed amendment cannot be considered by the Legislature until it meets in February. To become effective, it would have to be approved by the House and Senate and put to a vote of the people.

With a Christian majority, that’s a safe bet…

But we’ve gone through all this before. No matter what happens, the government cannot put up a Christian monument and close the doors on everybody else. If the Legislature and voters vote in favor of the Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds, they would also be saying yes to public monuments from The Satanic Temple, a Hindu group, and American Atheists.

In fact, those groups were all making plans to erect their own monuments until state officials declared a moratorium on applications while they waited for the original lawsuit against the Ten Commandments to work its way through the legal system. When the Supreme Court said the monument was illegal, there was no need for the other groups to continue fighting, so they backed off. But if the Christian monument goes back up, you can bet the others will continue where they left off.

I don’t think Jordan realizes he’s doing atheists and Satanists a huge favor…

So I don’t care if Fallin lets the monument stay up for now. I don’t care if Jordan pushes this resolution. Ultimately, they’re paving the way for more non-Christian monuments to make their way on government property — and it’ll be entertaining to watch.

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