Religion

Oklahoma Removes Ten Commandments Monument From State Grounds

| by Daniel Rivera
A worker pries at the base during the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the state Capitol in Oklahoma CityA worker pries at the base during the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the state Capitol in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma government had a granite monument of the Ten Commandments removed from its Capitol grounds on Oct. 5.

The Ten Commandments display was ousted after the state's Capitol Preservation Commission voted 7-1 for its removal from public property, according to the Blaze. The monument is expected to be given to a conservative think tank for storage.

Oklahoma's Supreme Court voted in June that the monument violated the constitutional prohibition of states using public property to support "any sect, church, denomination or system of religion."

Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister from Norman, Oklahoma, filed a lawsuit after the display was erected in 2012, claiming it violated the Establishment Clause which commands for the separation of church and state.

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"Frankly, I'm glad we finally got the governor and attorney general to agree to let the monument be moved to private property, which is where I believe it's most appropriate," Prescott told The Blaze. "I'm not opposed to the Ten Commandments. The first sermon I ever preached was on the Ten Commandments. I'm just opposed to it being on public property."

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma raised staunch opposition to the state's Supreme Court ruling in June which declared the monument promoted the Judeo-Christian faith. Fallin described the decision to remove the display as "deeply disturbing" and "impermissible," claiming its presence was not an endorsement of religion but meant to "recognize and honor the historical significance of the Commandments in our state's and nation's systems of laws."

Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Center in Washington, told the Los Angeles Times in July the monument speaks to the country's religious history and it should be protected.

"It's a symbolic fight about how people understand their country," Haynes said. "There are many Americans who believe that unless we acknowledge our roots and Christian tradition as a country, we will fail." 

Sources: The Blaze, Los Angeles Times / Photo Credit: Nate Billings/The Oklahoman