Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – Overnight, an automobile destroyed the Ten Commandments monument on the northeast side of the State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City.
“While I am appalled that someone would go to such lengths to do violence to our Ten Commandments monument, I am not at all shocked. I am dismayed but not discouraged by this act of violence against the monument. This monument represents the values that an overwhelming majority of Oklahomans hold close. We are not going to be bullied; the monument will be repaired and replaced,” said State Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations.
Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)-Oklahoma, said in a Friday mornign statement, “The ACLU of Oklahoma and our clients are outraged at this apparent act of vandalism. While we have and continue to seek the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Capitol grounds through the judicial process, the Ten Commandments constitute a strong foundation in our clients’ deeply held religious beliefs. To see the Ten Commandments desecrated by vandals is highly offensive to them as people of faith.”
Kiesel continued, “Our Oklahoma and Federal Constitutions seek to create a society in which people of all faiths and those of no faith at all can coexist as equals without fear of repressions from the government or their neighbors. Whether it is politicians using religion as a political tool or vandals desecrating religious symbols, neither are living up to the full promise of our founding documents.”
Rep. Ritze said the monument will be restored using private funds, just as the original construction was financed. “I trust our law enforcement agencies will quickly apprehend the person or persons responsible for this crime, and those people will be held accountable.”