Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Oklahoma Ten Commandments Must Go

The saga of the Oklahoma City Ten Commandments monument appears to be over. Yesterday the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered that it be removed from the grounds of the State Capitol. The court ruled that the monument represented a clear endorsement of religion on the part of the state government, and therefore had to be moved elsewhere.

In a 7-2 decision, the court said the placement of the monument violated a section in the state’s constitution, which says no public money or property can be used either directly or indirectly for the “benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion.”

Lawmakers have argued that the monument was not serving a religious purpose but was meant to mark a historical event.

This opened the door for other groups, including Satanists and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, to apply for permission to erect their own monuments on Capitol grounds to mark what they say are historical events.

The court apparently chose the simpler of the two possible constitutional options. Either public grounds must be open to symbols of all religions, or to none of them. Allowing the symbols of one religion but prohibiting those of another, as Oklahoma lawmakers originally tried to do, represents an endorsement of that religion's beliefs and is not allowed.

So I suppose this counts as another win for the Satanic Temple. They never got to put up their planned Baphomet statue, but they succeeded in bringing enough publicity to the issue that they were able to get the Ten Commandments removed - which was really their goal from the start.

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