On November 16th, a 2,000 pound block describing the Ten Commandments was installed on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Representative Mike Ritze (R) sponsored the “Ten Commandments Monument Display Act” which states that the Ten Commandments found in the Bible are “an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma” (Bufkin). Is he trying to suggest that Oklahoma is controlled by the bible? Because if he is, he did not take high school government since the First Amendment (a law that Oklahoma should actually be following) states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (U. S. Constitution). The law clearly states that the government cannot make a law establishing a religion, yet Oklahoma created a religious monument and placed in on government grounds. Also, in the Treaty of Tripoli, sent to the Senate by President John Adams, is written that “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion (Mount).” Once again, a founding father points out how the United States is not founded on the Christian religion.
Though the Ten Commandments do have some good laws, like how one should not murder someone else, it also forbids people from believing in other gods. Seeing how this statement is sitting a few feet from the Capitol, it can make other religions feel uneasy, as though Oklahoma may possibly create laws from the Christian religion. As Ryan Kiesel, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma, claims that when “legislatures set up a monument that seems to put one faith above others, it creates an environment where some visitors will feel like second-class citizens” (Bufkin). Another problem is what will happen when other religious start creating laws that support their religious laws to be shown at the Capitol grounds also? If the laws pass, a nice Scientology monument may be the next monument to share space on the Capitol grounds.
At the moment, ACLU has not begun to sue Oklahoma for violating the separation of state and government but the Liberty Legal Foundation promises to represent Oklahoma at no cost. The Liberty Legal Foundation also led legal challenges to President Barack Obama’s place of birth (Bufkin) – in other words, Oklahoma will be represented by a bunch of crazies. This is just more proof that Oklahoma is wrong to place religious text on government property.
The fact that there was an actual law about this monument also shows how politicians are wasting their time. Instead of actually trying to help the people, they are wasting time and money creating religious monuments. The tax payers did not pay for the monument since it was raised through private donations and the Ritze family (“First Amendment Center”); the fact that people were willing to spend $10,000 to put a bunch of ancient laws near the capitol is insulting to Christians. In the bible, it is mentioned how important donating to the less fortunate are, but people actually thought a historical symbol depicting ancient laws from another country were important. That money could have gone to supporting education, helping the homeless, saving the rain forest; but instead, it went to a monument that contains scripture found in every hotel room in the United States.
Bufkin, Sarah . “Mike Ritze, Oklahoma Lawmaker, Erects Ten Commandments Monument With Spelling Errors.” Politics . The Huffington Post, 2012. Ten Commandments
“ConstititionalTopic: The First Amendment.” U.S. Constitution. 2010. First Amendment
“U.S. Constitution Online.” Treaty Between the United States and Tripoli 2010. Treaty of Tripoli
“Okla. installs Ten Commandments Monument at Capitol.” First Amendment Center. Associative Press, 2012 Monument at Capitol