Interfaith Coalition to Oklahoma Officials: Get Rid of Ten Commandments Monument August 19, 2015

Interfaith Coalition to Oklahoma Officials: Get Rid of Ten Commandments Monument

Did you know we’re still talking about the Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds?

Nearly two months ago, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the monument was unconstitutional:

Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma (via James Nimmo)

Governor Mary Fallin said at the time that the monument wasn’t going anywhere. At least not until she exhausted every appeal from the other branches of government. Attorney General Scott Pruitt asked for the Court to rehear the case, a request that was quickly rejected.

Now, a coalition of local groups including the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations are calling on state officials to do the right thing and remove the monument:

The wording of the Oklahoma Constitution is very clear and the Supreme Court has done what it is supposed to do — to rule on the constitutionality of a law or action. We urge that our legislators, Governor, other Oklahoma officials, and Oklahoma citizens accept and obey this ruling. This was not a close decision, but a 7 to 2 vote, so a reversal of their decision was very unlikely. The Oklahoma Attorney General asked for a judicial review of the decision, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court turned this down. Further attempts to reverse this decision would be a significant waste of taxpayers’ money.

The Ten Commandments are important to many of us as a religious document. That they are part of the expression of our religious beliefs, and play a role in guiding our relationship with God and with our fellow human beings is not altered or prevented by insisting that the state abstain from any action, including funding, that would favor or promote any one religion or part thereof. There is nothing in our national constitution nor in our state constitution that refers to the Ten Commandments. To treat them as an “historical document” trivializes their religious significance, and is not an acceptable argument for placing them on the grounds of government property.

Our Supreme Court did exactly what it was supposed to do. Acting independently from the other branches of government, it decided NOT what the majority may want, but what is constitutional. Our nation’s founders knew how important it is to prevent the tyranny of the majority from depriving others of their constitutional rights. Our legislative branch has the right to make laws. We expect our legislators to be smart enough and responsible enough not to pass laws which, predictably, are unconstitutional and will waste taxpayers’ money with subsequent appeals. The current process for selection of justices in our higher courts is a good one, one that provides for selection of highly competent individuals, preserves their independence, and prevents legislators or the governor from threatening them when their decision is not what the legislature or governor want.

When even religious people are telling you to take your faith-based decisions down several notches, maybe it’s time to listen.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

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