A Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol was destroyed last night. Police report that a vehicle smashed into the two giant stone tablets around 7 p.m. on Thursday evening. A suspect has already been arrested in connection to the vandalism.
“We’ll process the scene and suspect vehicle to further the investigation in hopes of locating the responsible party," Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesperson CPT George Brown told KFOR.
The monument, which featured two six-foot stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them, has been hotly debated since its creation in 2012. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit recently claiming the monument violates an Oklahoma law that forbids the government from promoting religion on public property. Even though the ACLU disagrees with the monument, they issued a statement last night condemning those who destroyed it.
“To see the Ten Commandments desecrated by vandals is highly offensive,” said ACLU of Oklahoma Director Ryan Kiesel. “…Our Oklahoma and Federal Constitutions seek to create a society in which people of all faiths and those of no faith at all can coexist as equals without fear of repressions from the government or their neighbors. Whether it is politicians using religion as a political tool or vandals desecrating religious symbols, neither are living up to the full promise of our founding documents.”
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Here, courtesy of Maxx Crawford, is a picture of the damage:
The monument was created with private funds from Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Ritze (R). Ritze said he will join Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin in raising funds to reconstruct the monument.
“Our monument will be rebuilt and restored,” said Fallin. “The people of Oklahoma will not stand for acts of violence against the Capitol or its monuments.
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Photo Credit: Maxx Crawford's Twitter