Oklahoma Attorney General Can’t Decide if Ten Commandments Monument is Religious or Not September 4, 2015

Oklahoma Attorney General Can’t Decide if Ten Commandments Monument is Religious or Not

Back in June, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol was unconstitutional:

Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma (via James Nimmo)

The Governor ordered the monument to stay put while the state appealed the decision any way it could. That led Attorney General Scott Pruitt to file a request for a rehearing of the case.

His argument? The monument wasn’t religious. It was a part of the nation’s legal history! Furthermore, other supposedly-religious monuments/buildings were deemed legal because of their secular nature.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling was wrong because it ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments, and contradicted previous decisions of the court. The court previously upheld as constitutional a 50-foot tall lighted cross on public property and blessed the construction of a chapel at a state-owned orphanage. Now, the court is bucking its own precedent and misconstruing a section of the state Constitution that permitted those displays to order the removal of the privately funded Ten Commandments display.

The Supreme Court didn’t buy it. They denied the request, saying they “found nothing to merit a rehearing in the case.”

I thought it was all over then, but Pruitt hasn’t given up yet. His latest argument, however, is simply absurd.

He’s now arguing that taking down the monument creates “hostility toward religion.”

In other words, the monument is so religious that taking it down would be an affront to Christians:

In defending the Ten Commandments display, my office argued the monument was lawfully permitted on Capitol grounds because of the historical significance of the text on the development of Western legal code. In its decision to remove the monument, the Oklahoma Supreme Court held that no matter how historically significant or beneficial to the state, state law prohibits any item on state property or to be funded by the state if it is at all ‘religious in nature.’ That declaration prohibits manifestations of faith from the public square in such a way as to create hostility toward religion in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

This is just ridiculous. As everyone has been saying for a long time, the Ten Commandments monument can stay put… as long as other religious displays, like the Satanic Temple’s Baphomet monument, get to go up as well. But Pruitt doesn’t consider that an option.

In the meantime, he can’t decide if the monument is religious or not. And he doesn’t seem to give a damn about maintaining logical consistency.

The Satanic Temple called Pruitt out on Twitter:

The ACLU of Oklahoma also can’t believe Pruitt’s office is grasping at straws this desperately:

The ACLU will “seriously consider” seeking sanctions with the Oklahoma Bar Association against the AG’s lawyers who filed the brief.

We’re not saying they’re guilty of filing a frivolous lawsuit, but the pleading is that bad. But this is something we will take a look at. This is an AG who talks about reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits, but here he is filing one of the most frivolous I’ve seen in my career, [ACLU OK legal director Brady] Henderson said.

No response from Pruitt yet. He must be exhausted from all the mental gymnastics.

(Portions of this article were published earlier)

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