Deep-Sixing the Ten Commandments. The Oklahoma Story.

Deep-Sixing the Ten Commandments. The Oklahoma Story. October 8, 2015

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent

I know more about the Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument story than my sense of responsibility to the people I worked with will allow me to say.

I’ve put off writing about it because, to be honest, I get angry every time I think about it.

But I finally chased myself around my house a few times and wrestled myself into my chair and wrote a post for Catholic Vote. I didn’t tell all. Not even close. But I think I told more than you’ll find elsewhere.

I. Am. So. Glad. I’m. Not. In. Office.

Here, from Catholic Vote, is part of what I said:

Ten Commandments monuments stand outside courthouses and statehouses all across the USA. They go back to the beginning of our country. This is fitting, since the legal structure of the Western world is built on those ten commandments.

For the first two hundred years of our republic, the only controversy was an occasional argument about whether the monument would be made of marble or granite. But for the past 30 years pressure groups have been working to drive religious expression from the public sphere.

The United States Supreme Court stopped them from acting as an American Taliban, blowing up historic monuments and statues because they had religious meaning attached to them. Otherwise, I suppose they would have kept going until they demanded that we burn the Declaration of Independence for its allusion to “Our Creator.”

Federal courts have upheld the placement of Ten Commandments monuments in states such as Texas. Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze assumed that a Ten Commandments monument that was identical to one that passed court muster in Texas would be allowed in Oklahoma.

Rep Ritz is the primary author of the legislation authorizing the monument. Rep Ritz was passionate about this bill. He was so committed to it that he even paid for the monument with his own money and donated it to the state as a gift.

I was a member of the Oklahoma House when we voted on it. Rep Ryan Kiesel, who is now the executive director of the Oklahoma ACLU, led the debate against the bill.

Without Rep Kiesel, I don’t think there would have been any debate at all. But he successfully convinced a number of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus that this bill was unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America. They followed him in opposing the monument, and several of them were defeated because of it in the next election. Rep Kiesel did not run for re-election.

It turned out that Rep Kiesel was wrong. The monument was not unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America.

That’s why the same Rep Kiesel chose another line of attack in his new position as Executive Director of the Oklahoma ACLU.

Read the rest here.

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5 responses to “Deep-Sixing the Ten Commandments. The Oklahoma Story.”

  1. Trivia has it that DeMille, as a publicity stunt, had public displays and monuments erected around the country to advertise his movie, in 1956, The Ten Commandments. They were called “decalogues”and usually placed around government buildings. It was the ’50’s. Folks were worried about Communism invading this country. Wasn’t “under God” placed into the Pledge during the ’50’s also? Seems those monuments have became common place and folks do not want to see them removed. Do they need to be in front of government buildings?

  2. I would say that in the 50’s the government needed to convince Christians that we were to good guys in the cold war. Not a hard point to sell because of the nature of the USSR, But it showed the difference. With the Cold War over the Elite don’t feel they need to pretend to like us any more. After all we are king of difficult with our disapproval of their corruption and debauchery.

  3. “Under God ” did come in during the fifties, which means older people remember when it wasn’t there. I asked my stepfather about it once, and he did remember it not being there.

    The 50s were a trip. Actually fairly garish, at least in Fort Worth. Lots of neon.

  4. Guess since “older people remember when it wasn’t there” classifies me as an “older person” 🙂