Oklahoma’s highest court ruled a monument of the Ten Commandments that’s been placed at the Capitol must come down because it violates the separation of church and state clause of the Oklahoma Constitution.
The monument was a gift to the state from Rep. Mike Ritze and his family. But seven of nine Oklahoma Supreme Court justices said its placement at the Capitol building was for religious purposes, and as such, violated clauses in the state Constitution that banned the use of public property for such uses, the Tulsa World reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union had sued for its removal on behalf of four complainants, one of whom is now dead.
The court wrote in its ruling: “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.”
Ritze expressed surprise with the ruling, due in part to the prevalence of other religious symbols on public property at the Capitol, like those from Native Americans, he said, the news outlet reported.
Enforcement of the court’s ruling has been put on hold, pending a rehearing request from Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
In “So Help Me God,” Judge Roy Moore brilliantly argues those who ordered him to remove a monument to of the Ten Commandments from his courthouse are the ones breaking the law by ordering him to violate his oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
“Quite simply, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got it wrong,” he said, the Tulsa World reported. “The court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law.”
Still, the ruling puts an end to an outside group’s attempt to erect a monument of Bahpmet, a goat-headed satanic image, on the Capitol. The co-founder of the Satanic Temple in Massachusetts, who goes by the name Lucien Greaves, said his organization would drop its campaign for religious liberty and equal access to the Capitol property since the court ruled the Ten Commandments could not stay, he said, the Tulsa World reported.