Politics

Oklahoma Supreme Court Decides Ten Commandments Monument Must Be Removed

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court has ordered that the six-foot-tall statue of the Ten Commandments on State Capitol grounds must be removed.

The statue, which was privately funded by Republican legislator Rep. Mike Ritze and installed in 2012, must be removed because the state’s constitution bans the use of state property to benefit religion, The Huffington Post reported.

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On those conditions, the court ruled 7-2 that the statue must be removed, although some lawmakers argued that the monument was meant to mark a historical event.

"Quite simply, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got it wrong,” Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement."The court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law.” He went on to call for a change to the state’s constitution and suggest that the Justices be impeached, the Associated Press reported.

"I think the idea that you go about amending the constitution every time you lose a court battle is a dangerous precedent for anyone to engage in, but in particular for the state's highest attorney to do so," said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, which represented the plaintiffs in the case. "And the calls for impeachment represent a fundamental misunderstanding of how an independent judiciary functions within our system of democratic government.”

Though the case dealt with separation of church and state, some religious groups, both serious serious and satirical, decided to make a point about the issue by proposing their own monuments. One group requested a  7-foot-tall statue that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a figure with a goat head, horns, wings and a beard. Requests were also submitted by a Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group, and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Sources: Associated Press, The Huffington Post Image via Caleb Long/Wikimiedia Commons