The monument had been a source of controversy for years, with the ACLU filing a lawsuit saying it constituted government endorsement of religion. Over the past year, the Satanic Temple added to the discussion by pitching their own monument for inclusion on the Capitol lawn, leading to a moratorium on all monuments altogether.
In September, a judge dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit, saying the Ten Commandments monument could stay put. The ACLU said it would appeal the ruling, and the decision also opened the door to lawsuits from groups like the Satanic Temple who had been told to hold on while the case was still pending.
But all that became moot after a Christian — who, as far as we can tell, had no stake in the controversy — drove into and destroyed the monument.
The question everyone was asking was whether the Ten Commandments monument would be replaced or not. We finally have an answer to that.
State Rep. Mike Ritze, who was responsible for putting up the original monument, said today that a replacement will be built (with private money):
“We can’t repair the old one, so we have ordered another monument identical to the one that was torn down,” said Ritze, of Broken Arrow. “The fundraising is ongoing.”
That means the ACLU can continue with its appeal. It also means the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission will have to decide very soon whether other monuments, including the Satanic Temple’s, will be allowed as well. If they say no, it means even more lawsuits and more taxpayer money thrown down the drain.
Get the popcorn ready.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)