Ten Commandment memorial ordered removed from Oklahoma state capitol

September 14, 2015 • 1:30 pm

In 2012, Oklahoma installed a monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol—a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Here’s what it looked like, in a photo of Elise Donovan with FvF that’s entered in our contest (soon to be judged). She said that the monument’s top “looked like a butt.”

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In May of last year, people fought back, responding to this “invitation” by asking for equal space:

As Trait Thompson of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission told CNN last December, “Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork.” The applications are then approved or rejected by the Commission.

One of the most humorous pushbacks was the creation of a monument to Satan funded by an Indiegogo campaign that raised $30,000 for Satanists. Here’s what they were also going to put on the Capitol Grounds:

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Well, it ain’t going to happen now. As reported by KOCO, an Oklahoma City news station, we learn that the Ten Commandments memorial, shown below, must be removed by October 12. On Friday, a district judge affirmed the order of the State Supreme Court that the monument be deep-sixed because it violate the state constitution’s establishment clause, but the attorney general later filed a motion that the Supreme Court’s order showed an “unconstitutional hostility toward religion.” Well, that’s just wrong, because preventing a violation of an establishment clause (enforcing church/state separation) does not constitute “hostility.”

This is another victory for secularism, and I’m glad to see that the Supreme Court of Oklahoma doesn’t the the argument, floated so often, that the Ten Commandments are either just “tradition and not religion,” or are the basis for America’s legal system, which is completely bogus.

 

38 thoughts on “Ten Commandment memorial ordered removed from Oklahoma state capitol

  1. I love it when they do that. When they put it up, it’s not about religion. When they’re forced to take it down, they portray it as an attack on religion. Always trying to have it both ways.

  2. I must admit I’m a trifle disappointed. It would almost have been worth tolerating the constitutional violation of displaying the ten commandments, just for the pleasure of seeing that Satan statue installed next to them!

    But seriously…good to see that sense (and the law) have prevailed.

  3. A nice victory. I’m hoping “under God” can be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance next. Kim Davis proves “under God” is incompatible with “indivisible” and “justice for all.” Of these three phrases, only two are worthy of allegiance.

    1. I won’t swear fealty to a piece of fabric.

      This is what I would consent to in its place:

      I pledge allegiance
      to the Constitution
      of the United States of America,
      and to the Republic
      which it defines:
      one nation, indivisible,
      with liberty and justice for all.

      Cheers,

      b&

      1. I’ve heard it said that the flag should be made of asbestos. Then you can’t burn it, nor can you wrap yourself in it.

        I like your version a lot. Intellectually, it’s a better commitment. I see the pledge as a symbolic gesture intended to seed the consistency principle in the people in our nation. Since the flag is a prominent symbol, I’m ok with the flag as one of two subjects of the pledge (“and to the republic for which it stands.”)

    2. I mentioned on another post but worth the mention again, a few days ago in the NY Times an article about the Nashville, TN, mayoral race; one candidate’s campaign ad attempting to denigrate another candidate by calling attention to her refusal to say “under God” when saying the Pledge.

  4. Might be nice to see Huckabee and Pat Robertson call a joint press conference on this and self-destruct during the event.

  5. Someone really needs to get a picture of FvF positioned right above Baphomet’s fingers, like he’s pointing to it. And send it to Lucien Greaves, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.

    Anyone in Detroit?

  6. My comment elsewhere:

    The judge will try to put them in jail but Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz will show up with the Oathkeepers to defend them. Cruz and Huckabee will get into a fight over who loves religious freedom the most. Trump will buy the monument to display at one of his casinos and claim to have written them.

    1. Trump will undoubtedly display the monument next to a statue of a nude broad — he can probably work the art of the deal to glom onto the topless “Spirit of Justice” statue that Attorney General Ashcroft insisted be covered up at Main Justice back during Dubya’s administration.

  7. I’m sure there must be a running count of these church/state violations around the country. Crucifixes, Jesus statues, 10 commandments, etc. It seems to me, over the years, most of these cases have been disposed of properly, while in a few the offending objects remain.
    Close to my heart was the Grand Haven cross which I saw for many years when I lived in western MI. The outcome was they converted the 40 foot tall crucifix into an anchor to avoid further legal costs. Ya hoo!

    1. Hmmm, not knowing that monument, but I’m wondering what they’d do about the “Angel of The North?” Not that it matters ; we do have an established religion in the UK. And I did a count of churches in town, between the new house and the supermarket (3 abandoned/ derelict ; 1 in use ; 1 for rent), suggesting it’s probably less of an issue here. And I’ve always seen it as being an embrace of the metalworking heritage of the area, with only moderate goddish contamination.

      1. Oh, the Flasher! Yes indeed. Things are a little different there aren’t they?
        With religiosity in the U.S. seeming always at fever pitch, its a big issue. In little old Grand Haven, the population has been probably 99% Christian – mostly Dutch Reformed. I don’t know what the demographics are today, but you can bet there are a few more atheists and agnostics. Local taxes were used for maintenance of the cross, which is clearly unfair to any nones or non Christians paying taxes. It makes you feel unwelcome in your own community.

      2. “Angel of the North” – looking at his wings, I always thought it was a tribute to early aviators, even though the aspect ratio is uncharacteristically high. Those are NOT angel wings, either in shape or in structure 😉

        cr

        1. They look a bit like the solar panels on the ISS. Keeping in mind the need for carbon free energy, it might be helpful to apply solar cells to the wings. Ideally, they should be hinged for spinning and turning to follow the sun across the sky.

      3. Overall and name notwithstanding, I don’t see much religious in that artwork. Atheist /= curmudgeon. If a good idea for a symbol has been used by religion, IMO that doesn’t automatically spoil it for secular artwork. Human-bird hybrid with arms outstretched symbolizing progress and the importance of mining to the community? Sounds fine to me, even if it bears some resemblance to Jesus or a cross.

  8. Um, isn’t that 10c monument a graven image? I ask because I can see the words on it that say not to make a graven image.

    There’s an engraving of an eagle pooping on an American flag. Weird.

    And could someone help me out with the characters on the tablet? Is that Greek? Wouldn’t Hebrew have been more appropriate.

    1. I always think that big eye on the pyramid looks really sinister and occult. Black magic. Evil eye. Voodoo. Big Brother is watching you. That sort of thing.

      I’m going to start a Church of the All-Seeing Eye – and our sacred symbol will be everywhere.

      cr

        1. Sauron will do for a start. I was thinking of pulling in Horus as well… the Eye of Horus apparently has mathematical (numerological?) connections. And we could call the inner sanctum of our church the Chamber of Horus… 😉

          cr
          high priest and necromancer

  9. The leading litigant, along with Oklahoma ACLU and others , in this case was Dr. Bruce Prescott, an ordained Baptist minister that heads Oklahoma Mainstream Baptists and a former member of the national board of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He is also a Board member of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education and has joined me in testifying against creationist bills before legislative committees. Mainstream Baptist organizations oppose the Southern Baptists because they have left their historical position of separation of church and state and the independence of each congregation. In Oklahoma it helps us fight creationist legislation when clergy show up to lobby – a political reality in this most conservative state. Such pragmatic politics have helped use defeat the creotard bills for the last 15 years.

    1. A lot of us talk about this, but few of us (myself included) do much about it at the level of public policy. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting

  10. My dog Wilson and I walked over one Saturday to examine the monument. Wilson found it quite interesting and left a personal message.

  11. I got it!!! All this time, I’ve been wondering why Satan’s hands show the index and ring fingers extended and the lesser two fingers flexed to the palm. He’s got bilateral Dupuytren’s contractures, of course!

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