Judge: Oklahoma Has One Month to Remove Ten Commandments Monument
Judge: Oklahoma Has One Month to Remove Monument
Officials have been given an ultimatum to remove a towering religious monument from the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds. District Court Judge Thomas Prince issued the order this Friday, giving Capitol officials until October 12th to remove the monolith, featuring the inscription of the Biblical 10 Commandments alongside esoteric symbols and upside-down American flags. The Capitol was ordered by Oklahoma State Supreme Court to remove the monument last June in an 8 to 2 ruling, following a lawsuit filed be a local Baptist minister, seeking plurality and separation of Church and State. Still, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) attempted to appeal the court’s decision. She released this statement in July:
“During this process, which will involve both legal appeals and potential legislative and constitutional changes, the Ten Commandments monument will remain on the Capitol grounds.”
The appeal was denied on July 27th, though as of this September the peculiar stone edifice still stands.
This is the third monument of its kind to be installed on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. The first monument, ‘gifted’ by Republican Representative Mike Hotze was removed due to numerous typographical errors. The second was destroyed in December of 2013 when now 31 year-old Tulsa Bible College student Michael Reed Tate crashed his car into the monument, citing that the “Devil made him do it” during a hallucination. This came on the heels of an announcement of the Satanic Temple’s plans to erect a Baphomet monument beside the Commandments.
Destruction of the Second Monument
Tate, an alleged mental patient, wrote in a letter to the Tulsa World about what led up to the events. “The voice had told me if I didn’t stop the cars, people would die.”
“The voice told me the cars were all carrying meat that was infected with the spirit of Michael Jackson and it was a killer virus.
“I thought it was the church of Satan awaiting me so I made a gesture of (Crowley’s) to identify myself. I left and kept thinking I would be taking (sic) up in a UFO and given a new body.”
After spending time at an Oklahoma State Mental Institution, he was released.
The Temple’s Response
At that time, the Satanic Temple released this statement:
“The Satanic Temple was appalled to learn of the act of destructive vandalism laid upon the 10 Commandments monument in Oklahoma today. As many are aware, we are seeking to have a Satanic monument erected alongside the 10 Commandments — and only alongside the 10 Commandments. We do not want our monument to stand alone. If our monument stands at the state Capitol, we want it to compliment and contrast the 10 Commandments, with both standing unmolested as a testament to American religious freedom and tolerance. We hope that by respecting religious liberty in allowing our monument to be displayed, Oklahoma will help ameliorate any animosity between differing perspectives, not cultivate them.
“To be clear, The Satanic Temple will not seek to erect its monument unless the 10 Commandments is restored. Oklahoma City has the option to wait until the ACLU’s case regarding the legal status of the 10 Commandments is resolved before it permits its replacement. However, if the 10 Commandments is immediately reconstructed, our monument will be ready for unveiling quite soon.”
A replacement for the Ten Commandments monument was erected within less than one month after the attack.
Following installation of the third monument, the Temple continued its plans to have the Baphomet statue erected. Since the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling, their monument was unveiled and is being currently housed in Detroit. Just a day ago, the Temple announced plans that it may pursue a similar issue with the State of Arkansas, who might end up with the Statue after all.
According to a press release, “The request comes in reply to the approval of Senate Bill 939 which has allowed for a privately donated 10 Commandments monument to be placed at the (Arkansas) Capitol.”
Since the Baphomet was constructed, the Temple alleges to have molds for future mass reproduction of the bronze edifice.
It will certainly be interesting to see what will happen next in this ongoing saga. We will keep our readers posted of updates to the story.
What do you think about the removal of the Monument on Oklahoma State Capitol grounds? Do you think that it still belongs there? If so, should all religions have the opportunity to participate in adding new contributions? Do you think that Oklahoma representatives will actually follow through with the Monument’s removal? Join us in the discussion! Comment below, Share on Facebook and Find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk !