One week after the symbolic removal of the Confederate flag in South Carolina, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court has ruled that the 6-foot-tall Ten Commandments statue that sits outside the Oklahoma Capitol must be removed.
The court ruled that the presence of the statue violates Oklahoma’s laws prohibiting the use of public funds or property for religious purposes, as CNN reports. The 7 to 2 ruling is a definitive statement on what has long been viewed as a controversial symbol of the debate surrounding the separation of church and state in Oklahoma.
In an approach comparable to the states fighting back against the U.S. Supreme Court’s similarly definitive ruling on gay marriage on June 26, many Oklahoma lawmakers are already working towards repealing the section of the state constitution that the court referenced in its ruling.
Even Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman made a statement in support of the statue. “I have visited with many of my colleagues in the House and already heard from many Oklahomans since the Oklahoma Supreme Court announced this ruling and the consensus is overwhelming that if the court is not able to reverse this ruling then Oklahoma voters want the opportunity to correct it with an amendment to our state constitution on Election Day in November 2016,” Hickman said, reported NewsOK.
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Hickman and other legislators have a point that Oklahoma voters support the statue. Oklahoma is one of the nation’s most religious states — 67 percent of its residents are Protestant.
According to Gallup, the state has one of the lowest proportions of non-religious residents, with 6 percent. Only Tennessee, North Dakota, Louisiana and Mississippi are more religious. In a state like Oklahoma, it’s tough to separate church from state no matter what the Constitution says.
There have been, of course, many Oklahomans fighting against the Ten Commandments statue since it was erected. A group called the Satanic Temple even applied for a location on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds to display its own devil-worship statue near the Ten Commandments one.
As CNN reports, the Satanists claimed their statue would “complement and contrast” with the existing monument. The group even raised more than $28,000 during an IndieGoGo campaign, signifying that many non-religious residents were offended by the presence of the Ten Commandments statue.
The outrage on both sides regarding the Ten Commandments statue has been somewhat ridiculous.
According to KOCO, some Oklahoma legislators are so upset with the court ruling that they’re calling for the impeachment of the seven justices who voted in favor of removal.
The fact that so many people would donate to an obviously antagonistic campaign to erect a Satanic statue shows how the non-religious population is just as crazy when it comes to the issue of the statue.
The monument has even been smashed by critics and built by supporters in the past.
Ultimately, the court likely ruled correctly. Religion has no place on public grounds. Yet those who rally against the statue are just as outrageous as those who rally in support of it. In the end, it’s just a symbol.
Image Source: Screenshot via The Huffington Post