Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Monumental Mistake


An Oklahoma State Representative has introduced a bill to put a Ten Commandments monument up at the State Capitol in Oklahoma.

With a wink and a nod, he says that his intent is not to have the state endorse any faith, but to recognize a "historical document" that is "part of our law."

It is hard to find a "conservative" Christian in Oklahoma who opposes this ruse. When they are in a courtroom the swear they are only recognizing a "historical document," but that is not what they say in private conversations and in their churches. The language and rhetoric of Christian Nationalism and Christian Reconstructionism permeates the politically active conservative churches in Oklahoma.

Like County Commissioners who approved a monument to American theocracy in Haskell County, I expect Oklahoma's legislators would rather chisel commandments in stone than observe them.

3 comments:

Asinus Gravis said...

This is another appeal to the superstitious, under educated, historically illiterate, voters of Oklahoma.

Apparently the economy of Oklahoma must be going great guns, if the legislators believe they can afford what it will cost to defend such blatantly unconstitutional nonsense in the federal courts.

V. H. said...

The Supreme Court ruled that the 10 Commandment Monument on the Texas Capitol grounds was constitutional since it was just a part of a large array of other 'historical' monuments. Thus, there is some evidence that a monument in OK might be ruled O.K., BUT does the few such monuments at the OK capitol qualify? vhutchison

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Vic,

The monument in Texas was part of a publicity stunt to drum up interest in a movie.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that ten commandments displays at a courthouse in Kentucky violated the First Amendment because their intention was to endorse religion.

The courts will have to decide whether those who erect a monument at the Capitol today are truly promoting history or religion.

The best way to test that is for someone to offer to put a monument to the Code of Hammurabi or English Common Law, etc. beside it and see what happens. The Summum case in Utah is currently addressing the issue of whether governmental authorities truly want to create a public forum for all monuments or merely want to endorse monuments from a single religious tradition.