September 16, 2015
A judge has ruled that a Ten Commandments monument must be removed from the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol within 30 days.
The monument was erected in 2009 with personal funds from Oklahoma Rep. Mike Ritze, according to Christian Today, and has been controversial since 2013 when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma, led by Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists Director Bruce Prescott, told the court that the monument was unconstitutional.
To prove their point, the ACLU quoted the section of the Oklahoma Constitution which states that public property cannot be used to promote a “church denomination or system of religion.”
Judge Thomas Prince who issued the ruling initially ruled that the monument served a historical purpose, as well as a religious one, and was therefore permitted to be on state capitol property.
The ACLU appealed the decision, however.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt argued to keep the monument in place stating that “The Constitution forbids states from banning all religion from public spaces, and from making churches the ghettos of religion where all manifestations of faith are kept separate from public life. Religious people have an equal right to participate in the public square and to have their contributions to Oklahoma history and society recognised.”
Pruitt’s argument was ultimately unsuccessful as Judge Prince ruled that the monument was in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution.