A Ten Commandments monument planted on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol was quietly removed on Monday night, after years of quarreling over the 6-foot, 4,800-pound granite slab’s presence at the statehouse. The court-ordered relocation puts to rest the divisive issue, but perhaps only temporarily—conservative lawmakers are considering a (state) Constitutional amendment to bring the monument back.
“Originally authorized by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2009, the privately funded monument has been a lightning rod for controversy since it was erected in 2012, prompting a lawsuit from Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister from Norman who complained it violated the state constitution,” the Associated Press reports. “The [move] comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision in June that the display violates a state constitutional prohibition on the use of public property to support ‘any sect, church, denomination or system of religion.’"
“Oklahoma is the latest in a string of states, cities and school districts to grapple with whether government display of the Ten Commandments violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on any ‘law respecting an establishment of religion,' or similar provisions in state constitutions,” according to the New York Times. “Courts have prohibited displays for religious purposes, while allowing those for broader cultural reasons, leading to mixed results in legal challenges.”