Oklahoma!

August 30, 2013

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit on behalf of a few of plaintiffs seeking to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma state Capitol grounds. My friend Bruce Prescott, President of the ACLU Oklahoma chapter, is the lead plaintiff in the suit. He explained part of his reasons for the suit here. The large idol monument was placed on the state Capitol grounds after state Representative Mike Ritze, a Republican from Broken Arrow, gave and raised a total of $20,000 to create it (and then state funds were apparently used to place it on the Capitol grounds). There are multiple problems with this monument. First, it is - as the lawsuit argues - an affront to our historic principle of separation of church and state. Politicians like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and ministers like John Leland and Issac Backus all worked to create our system of separation since it is beneficial to both the state and the churches. Second, it seems ironic to try and honor the Ten Commandments by violating the second one that prohibits the making of graven images. After all, erecting an expensive monument and demanding its presence on public property as if it is some magical token to keep us prosperous seems like we are treating it like an idol. Third, if Representative Ritze really wanted to honor God, why not use the $20,000 to help people instead of building this monument. How many people could have been fed and how many missionary efforts supported with this money? It is tragic that we keep wasting so much time and money trying to build these monuments and place them on public lands across the nation.

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