A ruling by an Oklahoma Supreme Court on June 30 that requires a Ten Commandments monument to be removed from capitol grounds has encouraged many to speak out against the decision.
Among those protesting the order is State Rep. Pat Ownbey, who worries of the nation’s outlook after the ruling.
“We are fleeing from any kind of what we consider our principles that this country was built on,” Ownbey said, reported KXII.
The Republican representative asserts that the monument is not in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution, as the Oklahoma justices ruled, which does not allow public money or property to be used for religious purposes.
“I think the first thing we need to do as a legislature is change the constitution, which would also require the right of the people, so we know that we have the right to put the monument up,” Ownbey continued.
Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma, asked for a rehearing after the decision was announced, and for a provision in the Oklahoma Constitution relating to the issue to be repealed, reports Fox News.
“Quite simply, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got it wrong,” Pruitt said. “The court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law.”
An online petition was created a day after the ruling by Eric Brinsley, an Enid, Oklahoma, resident, to keep the monument in place, reports KOCO.
A former U.S. Air Force chaplain’s assistant, Brinsley hopes that his petition will resonate on a federal level.
“I believe we need to set the example for the rest of the country that we’re not going to take it down,” Brinsley said. “Let’s set a good example and stand for Jesus.”
The petition has been electronically signed by more than 12,000 people. The Oklahoma Secretary of State office accepts only petitions signed in person.
Brady Henderson, American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma attorney, says the decision will be a difficult one to change.
“It is unlikely you’re going to fundamentally change the minds of three state Supreme Court justices who just decided something a certain way,” Henderson said to KOCO regarding the 7 to 2 decision.
The 6-foot-tall, 2,400-pound Ten Commandments monument was gifted to the Oklahoma State Capitol by State Rep. Mike Ritze in 2012. The monument was replaced with an identical replica in January 2015 after a man drove into the original and destroyed it.