Oklahoma House Approves Bill That Would Return Ten Commandments to State Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY,  Okla. — The Oklahoma House of Representatives has advanced a bill that would allow the display of the Ten Commandments on public grounds and thus return the Decalogue display to the state capitol follow its removal in 2015.

H.B. 2177, introduced in January by Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, passed 79-11 on Tuesday and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

As previously reported, the measure recognizes the impact of certain documents on American history.

“Every county, municipality, city, town, school or any other political subdivision is authorized to display, in its public buildings and on its grounds, replicas of historical documents including, but not limited to, the Ten Commandments, Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Oklahoma Constitution and other historically significant documents in the form of statues, monuments, memorials, tablets or any other display that respects the dignity and solemnity of such documents,” it reads in part.

Other religions, such as Islam or Satanism, would not be included because they did not play a role in the founding of the nation. The bill only applies to the display of historical documents influential in the founding of the state or country.

The measure also authorizes the attorney general’s office to defend the constitutionality of the display should it be challenged in court.

“What we are talking about is remembering who we are, where we come from and not being ashamed of that,” Bennett said last month after the measure first cleared a House committee. “The bill will leave it to local governments to decide on whether or not they want to display historic monuments like the Ten Commandments, but I believe they won’t find any opposition from most Oklahomans if they decide to put them up.”

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“I think historians have successfully proven that the Ten Commandments are the basis of our laws dating back to the colonies and the Founding Fathers,” he outlined. “The Ten Commandments form the basis for much of the moral teachings we use today. Certainly, the pioneer families who settled Oklahoma followed these principles. Appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court have upheld local government displays, including the Ten Commandments.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma opposes the legislation as it states that it elevates Christianity and alienates unbelievers.

“Continued attempts to place a religious monument on the capitol grounds sully the deeply held beliefs of many Oklahomans, marginalize people of minority faiths and those of no faith at all, and amount to a monumental waste of time and money,” executive director Ryan Kiesel told the Red Dirt Report this week.

“Regardless of what Rep. Bennett and other supporters of this misguided effort may claim, their actual intention is to elevate, for their own political advantage, an interpretation of one single faith above other faiths and above the conscience of those who have no religious faith at all,” he opined.

As previously reported, the ACLU was at the helm of the 2013 legal effort to have the previous monument removed, as it asserted that the placement of the Decalogue on the grounds of the state capitol building was unconstitutional.

The lead plaintiff in the case was liberal minister Bruce Prescott, the director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists.

The case was fought up to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which ruled in June 2015 that the monument must come down because it violates the state Constitution’s prohibition of government property being used to support religion. It was removed in the dark of night in October of that same year.

Last April, following the removal of the monument and a determination among some to have it restored, lawmakers approved a resolution to place the Ten Commandments controversy on the Oklahoma ballot. But the resolution was rejected by voters in November 57 to 42 percent.

H.B. 2177 is believed to be another effort to return the commandments to the capitol.

As previously reported, the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Van Orden v. Perry, which upheld a Ten Commandments monument at the Texas state capitol, noted that Decalogue displays are “common throughout America.”

“We need only look within our own courtroom,” the justices wrote. “Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the south frieze.”

“Similar acknowledgments can be seen throughout a visitor’s tour of our nation’s capital. For example, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building since 1897,” the decision continued. “And the Jefferson Building’s Great Reading Room contains a sculpture of a woman beside the Ten Commandments with a quote above her from the Old Testament (Micah 6:8).”

“A medallion with two tablets depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the national archives,” the court outlined. “Inside the Department of Justice, a statue entitled “The Spirit of Law” has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments lying at its feet. In front of the Ronald Reagan Building is another sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments.”


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  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Good. The USA always needs the Ten Commandments for life and decency and lawfulness. Otherwise, the civilization only upholds inhumane blasphemy, infanticide, and immorality. The Westerners must realize that there is only savagery outside of the Judeo-Christian values. Technology alone is meaningless to savages. Mankind need the Gospel of Jesus Christ for salvation and the Christian teachings to be humane and proper.

    • RWH

      Historically, there has been a lot of savagery within Judeo-Christian values. All one has to do is look through Exodus. The Israelites were commanded to wipe out entire populations. Today we would equate that with genocide. Church history is not a model of good behavior in a number of instances.

      • Amos Moses

        “The Israelites were commanded to wipe out entire populations.”

        why was that …. out of context scripture means absolutely nothing …. until you can tell us WHY they were told to do that …. your statement is pointless ………..

        • RWH

          And for someone who likes to clobber others with your Bible, are you telling us that you are unable to read through the Book of Exodus?

          • Amos Moses

            have studied it … and what you say is there …. but you cannot give the context and so your observation is less than useless ….. except to further your agenda of lies and partial truth …..

          • RWH

            Amos. You are playing games with the wrong person. Go find someone gullible enough to fall into your web of deceitful trickery, feigned misunderstandings, deliberate distortions, and dismissive pronouncements. I have better things to do than to debate anything with anyone who flies false colors.

          • Amos Moses

            “Go find someone gullible enough to fall into your web of deceitful trickery, feigned misunderstandings, deliberate distortions, and dismissive pronouncements.”

            so all you have is a self description ………. Got it ….. and little to NO biblical knowledge ……… GOT IT ……………

          • Amos Moses

            boohoo ……….

          • RWH

            Amos, You responded to this email yesterday, so this email serves nothing else but to bait me.. You’re trying to play games with someone who does not play games.

          • Amos Moses

            boohoo ……

          • Amos Moses

            “Go find someone gullible enough to fall into your web of deceitful trickery, feigned misunderstandings, deliberate distortions, and dismissive pronouncements.”

            so all you have is a self description ………. Got it ….. and little to NO biblical knowledge ……… GOT IT ……………

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Who cares?

          • Amos Moses

            … the the liar does not ….. if you are a liar …… they only cares about lying about scripture …….

          • Ambulance Chaser

            As usual, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

            My question is: who cares WHY the Israelites were commanded to commit genocide? There exists no reason that could ever justify such a thing.

          • Amos Moses

            sure there is …… we did it to a large extent to Germany and Japan …… how soon we forget ……

      • Robert

        Who is the we your talking about .as we in the Lutheran confessional church see ACTS such as that as a loving act of God .it was the way God preserved his promise of Jesus to Israel who would write it down in the bible through profits so we could believe in Jesus and be saved to.

        • RWH

          I think that the point is that we interpret and reinterpret history. In Exodus, the Israelites were instructed by God to wipe out the entire populations of Jericho and Ai. Nothing was to be spared. In today’s context, this would be seen as genocide and the mass slaughter of civilian populations, and we would prosecute these people as war criminals. Despots like Hitler used God and Old Testament passages such as the events of Exodus to justify the wholesale slaughter of the Jews as God’s will. The Catholic Church also used the Old Testament to justify the virtual extermination of the Protestant Church once Franco gained power prior to World War II. Things were so vicious in the camps that even Hitler’s SS was shocked. People are now discovering mass graves of 50,000 plus people or that died at the hands of Franco. The Franciscans had a hand in all of this just as they did with the slaughter of thousands of Serbs prior to WWII in Majagorgie. Even today, elements within the Catholic Church want Cardinal Stepanic canonized. The Serbian Orthodox consider him a war criminal as he knew what was going on and implicitly approved it through his lack of action. Even more recently, we had the mass slaughter of civilians in Central Africa.

          • Robert

            Let’s get real Actually that is the points you are making I’m not making it . It’s not the point at all lutherans like me make .

          • Chris

            Let’s start at a more basic level. Is genocide evil? Yes or no.

    • Johndoe

      Only two of the ten really apply to our current laws. Once again, the US is not a theocracy and is a nation of many faiths. Yours is just one and holds no more weight than any other.

      • Amos Moses

        the US is a theocracy … you just fail to recognize who is in charge of it ………

        • Johndoe

          Nope. Purely opinion. Too funny!

          • Amos Moses

            nope …. purely the truth … which you do not recognize either ……..

          • Johndoe

            Proof?

          • Amos Moses

            satan rules the governments of this world ….. and it is apparent …….. unless you are in denial …….. and you are …………

          • Johndoe

            LOL! No proof or evidence of satan.

          • Amos Moses

            when you sit in denial of the evidence ….. sure …. you cannot prove a conspiracy if you fail to look for evidence of it …….. a one world order as in a one world government only happens when all the governments work for the same guy and the same goal ………. it is plainly obvious ………..

          • Robert

            GOD RULES Over the whole world. Even his permissive will is still his powerful will. Even the most remote and uneducated tribes know that bout God. So your not even up to par with them.

          • Amos Moses

            God rules satan …… but satan rules the governments of this world …. all of them ……

          • Robert

            Satan has no choise in the matter .Satan wish,s he didn’t because he knows God works every thing out in the end to the good of those who love Jesus.

          • Chris

            “Even the most remote and uneducated tribes know that about God.”

            Definition of the Bandwagon Fallacy “Idea ‘B’ is popular.
            Therefore, ‘B’ is correct.”

            A true opinion has NOTHING to do with how many people hold it.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          You’re gonna need to back this one up. What in the world are you talking about?

          • Amos Moses

            a one world order as in a one world government only happens when all the governments work for the same guy and the same goal ………. it is plainly obvious ……….. it is all the same Godless theocracy ……..

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        The USA is a theocracy; it was created to spread the Christian religion. Secular USA is bad. It only forces homosexuality and transgenderism upon the world like a mad man. No submission to the Western Sodomites. Americans submit to God alone.

        • Johndoe

          You need to get a history book and start reading. The USA has never been and will never be a theocracy. Our nation is made up of many faiths…not just yours. You should be worrying about your own country instead of slandering ours.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are wrong. American fathers were superior only because of the Christian religion. The USA funds and forces Asia to be a homosexual perv; therefore, strike the heart. Asia was never a Christendom before. Besides, I feel like American. Even according to your liberal doctrines, I’m more American than any of you and your likes. You have no rights to silence me. Those who love can say anything to the beloved for the sake of the truth.

          • Johndoe

            You’re not American in any sense. You spend your days on here insulting true Americans and anyone else who doesn’t believe as you do. Your christian religion is no better than Hindu, Islam, Lutheran or Atheism. Get a grip on reality

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are wrong. Christianity alone grants everyone the truth, virtues, freedom, humaneness, civility, and everything vital and excellent. Pagan religions conduct barbarisms and Western secularism destroys morality and everything normal out of boredom. The Westerners must admit this century that they are mere nude-loving barbarians apart from the Judeo-Christian teachings. I’m stunned to see the white people becoming more foolish than illiterate pagans by throwing away Christianity. Stop insulting your normal, superior white forefathers. You guys always need Christianity to be good and educated, not just for salvation.

  • Michael C

    As this article clearly states, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma determined that this display violated Article 2, Section 5 of the Oklahoma state constitution.

    If lawmakers just make up a new law that violates their state constitution, it’s gonna get rejected by the courts. All of their laws must operate in accordance with their constitution as well as federal law and the U.S. Constitution. If they want to put the statue back up on public land, they’re gonna have to amend their state constitution.

    These elected representatives already tried to remove Section 5 of Article 2 of their state constitution but the voters rejected this plan just four and a half months ago. Oklahomans have spoken. Stop wasting time and Oklahomans’ hard earned money on this nothing-burger.

    • Croquet_Player

      Or, ultimately, they must open the door to other religious monuments too. And what a hue and cry that will provoke. Suddenly there will be a great rush to “go back to original city hall lawns with no religious monuments!” How do people not think these things through?

      • Michael C

        I think that’s exactly why the Oklahoma constitution is written the way it is, They didn’t want to show favoritism to any one particular religion and they didn’t want to have to provide special treatment to any and all religions. Section 5 of Article 2 of their constitution is super clear;

        “No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion”

  • Lexical Cannibal

    Does this bill change the state’s constitution? No? Then it’s still illegal. These legislators may as well just be setting giant piles of OK’s money ablaze; comparable effects with far fewer steps.

    • Dan Bixel

      Does it change the Federal Constitution? No. Lawsuits to come.

  • Croquet_Player

    I think what so many people fail to grasp is that when you get one religious monument up on public property, you’re going to get quite a few more. And you’re really not going to like some of them. Also, what is this bizarre obsession with wanting a religious monument (to your own religion) on public property? Is there some shortage of church lawns, privately owned business’ lawns, and people’s own lawns? No, and it’s perfectly legal and fair for people to erect all the religious monuments they want, everywhere and anywhere, on private property. This is such an extraordinary waste of time and money, which could be so much better spent elsewhere. Mark my words, if this nonsense continues there will be a nostalgia for the days when city hall and courthouse lawns were simply nice plain lawns where people could eat an sandwich for lunch without bumping into some marble or granite edifice erected to something or other.

    • Amos Moses

      “I think what so many people fail to grasp is that when you get one religious monument up on public property, you’re going to get quite a few more. ”

      competing ideas are not a problem ….. creating a vacuum is a problem ….. something WILL fill it …… so you either choose to fill it with one thing …. or …. something not good for you will …………..

      • Croquet_Player

        Welcome your new Baphomet statue. And Hanuman the Hindu monkey god. And a large crescent moon and star. And dozens of others.

        • Amos Moses

          fine with me ….. they all lose ………..

          • getstryker

            Agreed !!!

        • Dan Bixel

          No, this bill says that ONLY the Ten Commandments will be considered as a “historical document” and thus worthy of public display. Any other religious statue would NOT be considered a “historical document” and wouldn’t qualify. Pretty nifty trick. Do an end run around the U.S. and State Constitutions, build in automatic legal appeals if questioned and prohibit any other religious expression EXCEPT the Ten Commandments. Talk about a good BS story.

    • Robert

      No such thing as public property All property is God’s property he made it all.

      • Croquet_Player

        Wow. I can’t even.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Yeah, I can’t have a reasoned conversation with someone not anchored to this reality.

          • Mark0H

            Go watch your porn, fairy.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Reported.

            This is a discussion board, not an insult board.

        • Redboyds

          I bet you can’t.

      • Chris

        “No such thing as public property All property is God’s property he made it all”

        Well then the matter is quite simple. Ban the commandments from the land around the courthouse until the Maker of the land shows up in court to object. If God doesn’t show up to object then maybe God doesn’t care.

  • Robert

    Yes the first table of the law lets even the ACLU know who The real God is. AND WHAT they owe him. ONLY through faith in Christ can you Love laws like Gods Ten that shows our sins. The ACLU show no Love for God’s laws. Tells fairly well it’s not Christians in that group or they would love seeing Gods Laws.they would delight in them because Jesus obeyed them perfectly in our sinful stead.

    • Chris

      Your argument is a non-sequitur. The ACLU is concerned with violations of constitutional rights. The ten commandments have NOTHING to do with the U.S. constitution.

      Secondly displaying the commandments outside a courthouse is a clear violation of the establishment clause.

  • Tangent002

    Whether or not a particular document has “historical significance” or not is irrelevant. A Ten Commandments monument is still a religious display and a violation of the 1st Amendment unless a larger context is provided, as it is with the various depictions of Moses and the TC in the Supreme Court building.

    This is largely a “skidoo” that would allow a Ten Commandments monument without allowing for the installation of the Satanic Temple’s Baphomet statue.

    There is little evidence that the Ten Commandments formed the basis for our government in the first place.

  • David Stoneslinger

    Consider the millions of visitors who every year visit the Jefferson Memorial in DC and read its inscriptions.

    “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

    “Almighty God hath created the mind free.”

    “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

    5 uses of the word “God.” Also, “Creator” and “holy Author of our religion.”

    Why do the religion-bashers ignore these very public references to Jefferson’s Deist God? This isn’t this considered “establishment of religion” or “favoring one religion over another” why not? Is the government supposed to erase all public references to the Christian God and give a pass to the Deist God?

    Personally, I’m happy with the Jefferson Memorial just as it is. The reason the anti-religion bigots ignore it is because they know they would come off looking really bad if they go after the Jefferson Memorial.

    Oh, incidentally, there are Easter Sunrise Services held at the Memorial every year. Wonder when those will come under attack?

    • zeddicuskotor

      Jefferson was a staunch supporter of the separation of church and state. On his obelisk are these words:

      “Here was buried
      Thomas Jefferson
      Author of the Declaration of American Independence
      of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
      & Father of the University of Virginia”

      This is important because the statue of Virginia for religious freedom was one of the first instance of the separation of church and state in colonial government systems. It predates the first amendment. The university of virginia is also important in that it did not require sectarian education and didn’t require mandatory church attendance. He did this because, since it was a state college, it had no right to force religion onto its students.

      You are a idiot.

      • jane doe

        you typed “you are a idiot” which actually makes you the idiot, it should read “an idiot” you idiot!!!!