A Ten Commandments monument that stood on the lawns of the Oklahoma Capitol was removed quietly in the dead of night in order to avoid sparking protests.
The state paid a contractor about $4,700 to take down the monument after the Oklahoma Supreme Court found it violated a law that bars placement of monuments that show preference for “any sect, church, denomination or system of religion” on public property, the Daily Mail reported.
The monument, which was funded by private dollars, was approved for placement at the Capitol building by state lawmakers in 2009. Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister, complained the statue’s presence violated the state constitution, and demanded its removal.
Contractors hired by the state took down the monument about 10:30 p.m. Monday, and sent it to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs’ office down the road from the Capitol, said John Estus, with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.
“We wanted it to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible and doing it at night gave us the best opportunity to do that,” Estus said, the Daily Mail reported. “The Highway Patrol was also very concerned that having it [moved] in the middle of the day could lead to having demonstrations of some kind.”
Prescott said he was glad to see the statue go.
“I’m glad we finally got the governor and attorney general to agree to let the monument be moved to private property, which is where I believe it’s most appropriate,” he said, the Daily Mail reported. “I’m not opposed to the Ten Commandments. The first sermon I ever preached was on the Ten Commandments. I’m just opposed to it being on public property.”
The presence of the statue sparked other groups in recent months to demand placement of their own monuments on the Capitol lawns. A satanist group from New York, for instance, said if the Ten Commandments could stay, then its members ought to be able to place a statue of Baphoment with horns, wings and a long beard, seated by two adoring children, on the same property.
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.
Former state Rep. Mike Reynolds, who voted to authorize the monument’s placement years ago, called its movement “historical,” the Daily Mail reported.
“This is just a historical event,” he said. “Now we know we have to change the Constitution. It would be good to get rid of some of the Supreme Court justices, too.”