Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Suit Challenges 10 Commandments On Oklahoma Capitol Grounds

The ACLU of Oklahoma yesterday filed a state court lawsuit on behalf of several plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality under the state constitution of a Ten Commandments monument that was erected on the State Capitol grounds in 2012. (See prior related posting.) The complaint (full text) in Prescott v. Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission, (OK Dist. Ct., filed 8/19/2013) contends that the monument, paid for personally by a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and his family, constitutes an illegal "appropriation of public property" in support of religion, in violation of Art. 2, Sec. 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution. The complaint contains an extensive analysis of the religious implications of the text and design of the monument-- which are similar to those of monuments placed around the country by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.  In its press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit, the ACLU said in part:
The lawsuit also seeks to remedy the state monument’s impact on Jewish and Christian believers. The government has taken a text that, in various forms, is deeply sacred in both of these faiths and have trivialized its religious meaning by placing it in a political and secular context, with its proponents arguing that the monument is a constitutionally permissible recitation of a purely non-religious history of our legal system and government.

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