Oklahoma’s Supreme Court Orders 10 Commandments Plaque Removed from Capitol Grounds.

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court Orders 10 Commandments Plaque Removed from Capitol Grounds. June 30, 2015

oklahoma-state-sealOklahoma’s State Supreme Court has ordered the removal of a 10 Commandments monument that was commissioned statutorily by the Oklahoma legislature from state capitol grounds.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt argued that the monument was nearly identical to a Texas monument that was found constitutional by the United State Supreme Court. The court ruled that the monument violated the Oklahoma Constitution, rather than the United States’ Constitution.

The Attorney General is considering what other options he might have in this case. among those options are amending the Oklahoma Constitution in the next legislative session. Here is the AG’s statement:

“Quite simply, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got it wrong. The court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law. Furthermore, the court’s incorrect interpretation of Article 2, Section 5 contradicts previous rulings of the court. In response, my office will file a petition with the court for a rehearing in light of the broader implications of this ruling on other areas of state law. Additionally, we are requesting a stay of the enforcement of the court’s order until the court can consider the petition for rehearing. Finally, if Article 2, Section 5 is going to be construed in such a manner by the court, it will be necessary to repeal it.”

Also from KOCO.com:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —A Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds is a religious symbol and must be removed because it violates the state’s constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a religion, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The court said the Ten Commandments chiseled into the 6-foot-tall granite monument, which was privately funded by a Republican legislator, are “obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.”

The 7-2 ruling overturns a decision by a district court judge who determined the monument could stay. It prompted calls by a handful of Republican lawmakers for impeachment of the justices who said the monument must be removed.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt had argued that the monument was historical in nature and nearly identical to a Texas monument that was found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oklahoma justices said the local monument violated the state’s constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. The Attorney General Office’s has filed for a rehearing in the case.

Private funds were used to erect the monument in 2012. Since then, others have asked for space, including a Nevada Hindu leader, animal rights advocates, the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and a group pushing for a Satan statue.

 

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13 responses to “Oklahoma’s Supreme Court Orders 10 Commandments Plaque Removed from Capitol Grounds.”

  1. Tell him to come take it down himself, then arrest him if he tries. This is ridiculous. You must respect both majority and minority rights.

        • The state cannot promote any religion. The statue should be turned over first to the private money provider for the statue or else to anyone who wants it.

          • The state also cannot restrict religion. In Texas a nearly identical statue has been ruled by SCOTUS as legal and it remains. If it bothers you, ignore it. It is hurting no one and is the basis for our justice system, as Ken said.

  2. I understand that you see the statue as some great symbol of law, but I think it is fairly obvious that its probably for the best to not have them on property of a government that represents all people for which the statue does not serve as a symbol of religious freedom but religious texts’ quotes being displayed above all others.

    • Well, pushing religion out of the public square is de facto establishing unbelief as the civic religion. Personally, I would be pleased to see Oklahoma make room for serious religious religions, such as Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim, and politely allow the frivolous, satanists, atheists, and the like, an option as well.

      In fact, the 10 Commandments are a fundamental source of ethical practice in western civilization. Hindus and Buddhists likewise have ethical contributions to make. Island is largely non-representational, but a public space to appreciate the best in Islam could well counter what’s not so noble. Some of their religious poetry is beautiful, as well.

  3. If the first you run into the Ten Commandments is on the State Capitol Grounds, chances are the reason you are seeing them is because you are protesting one or more of them.

  4. I sympathize with those who really believe that their god really did write Ten Commandments on stone. However, the statue is religious in nature and should not be on publicly owned property. It definitely violated the First Amendment. I personally have no problem with it myself.

  5. Just a suggestion — since you’re no longer working in the legislature, you might have time to research a piece for your readers on the history of the “Blaine Amendments”, both the failed federal and the 38 at the state level. (This particular case ruling seems a result of the Oklahoma one.) My impression is that were mostly introduced in the era that both Democrats and Republicans were including planks in their party platforms supporting the separation of Church and State. That era of American History seems to have considerable potential to shed light on the present era.

  6. This is what happens when the culture fractures. The question becomes: Exactly which of the 10 Commandments do you have a problem with?

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