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ICC Note: Following a legal battle that began in 2013, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled that a monument outside of the state capitol building depicting the Ten Commandments must be removed. They stated that the presence of the monument violated the state’s Constitution because government property was being used to support a particular religion. In a 7-2 ruling, it was decided that the monument must come down.

By Heather Clark

06/30/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – Following a legal challenge from an apostate Baptist minister, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that a Ten Commandments monument placed on the grounds of the Oklahoma capitol building must be removed because it violates the state Constitution’s prohibition of government property being used to support religion.

As previously reported, the display had been proposed by Rep. Mike Ritze in 2009, and was soon after approved by the largely Republican-run state legislature. Ritze paid over $1000 for the display, and no taxpayer funds were utilized in its creation.

“[T]he Ten Commandments are an important component of the foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma,” the 2009 bill authorizing the monument acknowledged. “[T]he courts of the United States of America and of various states frequently cite the Ten Commandments in published decisions, and acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America.”

In August 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma filed suit against the display, asserting that its erection on the grounds of the state capitol building was unconstitutional.

The lead plaintiff was liberal minister Bruce Prescott, the director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists. Prescott said that mixing the sacred with the secular in such a manner cheapens the display, and asserted that it violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

In the meantime, a New York-based Satanist group sought to erect an “homage to Satan” near the monument, and other groups chimed in to seek permission to place statues at the location as well.


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