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ICC Note: In June of 2015, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma decided in a 7-2 to remove a monument depicting the Ten Commandments from state capitol property. The monument was declared unconstitutional because it violated a rule of Oklahoma’s Constitution, stating that government property may not be used to endorse a particular “church denomination or system of religion.” The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently declined to accept an appeal of the monument’s removal.

By Heather Clark

07/29/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – The Oklahoma Supreme Court has declined to accept an appeal of its order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state capitol grounds after it declared the presence of the display unconstitutional last month.

“We carefully consider the arguments of the commission and find no merit warranting a grant of rehearing,” Chief Justice John Reif wrote on behalf of the nine justices, which ruled 7-2 not to accept the appeal.

As previously reported, the Oklahoma Supreme Court likewise ruled 7-2 last month that the monument must be removed because it violates Article 2, Section 5, of the Oklahoma Constitution, which states that property cannot be used to promote a “church denomination or system of religion.”

“No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such,” the section reads.

Concurring justices were Chief Justice John F. Reif; Justice Yvonne Kauger; Justice Joseph M. Watt; Justice James R. Winchester; Justice James E. Edmondson; Justice Steve W. Taylor; and Justice Noma D. Gurich. Vice Chief Justice Douglas L. Combs and Justice Tom Colbert dissented.

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.

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