My parents are from Oklahoma, but I can’t blame them for this idea.
Reports the AP:
OKLAHOMA CITY — A plan to display the Ten Commandments on a monument at the State Capitol cleared a state House committee Tuesday, but an opponent said the monument will alienate people who use different versions of the religious and moral imperatives and may violate the state Constitution.
The measure’s author, Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, told members of the House General Government Committee that his bill would authorize installation of a 3-by-6-foot monument on the Capitol grounds similar to a granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. It will also use the same text from the King James version of the Bible that is used in Texas, a monument that was challenged in a lawsuit that alleged it violated the First Amendment’s prohibition against establishing a state religion. In June 2005, the high court ruled that the display was not unconstitutional.
“What we’re trying to do is recreate the Texas monument,” Ritze said.
And they might do it, too. Lots of courthouses have these sort of displays, especially in the Bible Belt. Some have managed to evade lawsuits or even win the right to keep the monuments up, for whatever reason. I suppose some could be perfectly OK, but it seems awful sketchy to me. I even saw a Burger King with the Ten Commandments up, which is not unconstitutional, but was a bit disconcerting: “Don’t have it your way! Have it God’s way!”
Anyway, the bill’s sponsor is a minister, and it gets better:
Ritze said he believes there is a need for the monument because the nation has lost its moral compass and the Ten Commandments is a reminder of basic values. “The Ten Commandments go back 3,500 years. It’s part of our history,” he said. “The Ten Commandments laid the foundation for modern law and their importance in the development of our legal system should be recognized.”
Displays of the Ten Commandments appear outside the U.S. Supreme Court building and more than 200 other public buildings in the U.S., including several county courthouses in southeastern Oklahoma.
“Who can go against the Bible?” Ritze said.
He is exactly right. I mean, we should just put the Ten Commandments up everywhere, and no one will ever murder, lie or steal. Or dishonor their parents. Hell, we can tell all the bailiffs to go home, too. No one will ever try to bring a weapon or anything into a courthouse now, because guys, look, it’s the Ten Commandments! Turn off the metal detectors, because no one can ever go against God’s word. Especially when he tells you to judge not lest ye be judged, right? No one can pick and choose their favorite stuff or anything.
There are some liberals in Oklahoma. I know of at least one personally. But at the same time, it’s never going to be known as a progressive state. I mean, this is the state that gave us Sally Kern, who was very threatened by the musical Oklahoma! I do have to give credit to some in the legislature, though I’m not sure if there are enough of them to stop this:
But Rep. Wallace Collins, D-Norman, said he believes placing a King James copy of the Ten Commandments on the Capitol grounds will segregate others who follow different versions, including Catholics and Jews.
“It’s important for society to realize there are different versions of it,” said Collins, a Catholic. “I think my rights are being molested. Don’t force it on me.”
Any particularly odd or egregious religious displays you care to share? I mean talk about them, that is. Not place them on the blog. That would be a bit hard to do anyway.