OKLAHOMA CITY– A new Ten Commandments monument was raised at the state capitol Thursday, but the legality of the old statue is still being debated in the courts.
Back in October, 29-year-old Michael Tate Reed II admitted to law officers that he drove his vehicle onto the lawn of the state capitol and crashed into the Ten Commandments monument, breaking it into several pieces.
“We think that we need to continue to honor that,” Dave Weston, Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican party, said. “To stop doing so would be a grave mistake.”
“Our moral codes are all based upon that. Who can have an objection to what the Ten Commandments have to say? Thou shall not steal, thou shall not murder.”
“If people would simply follow those ten codes, our lives would be so much better and so much simpler.”
State Representative Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, whose family commissioned the original monument, released a statement Thursday saying, “while the destruction of the original monument was tragic, this replacement is identical in every respect and we look forward to it standing the test of time.”
Brady Henderson, with ACLU Oklahoma, points out there are pending lawsuits on the monument being allowed at the capitol.
“Politicians are not good spokespersons for God,” he said. “That’s the reality.”
Government, he said, should not be promoting any religion.
“When you take government and you take God and you try to mash them together, it doesn’t work very well,” he said. “Somebody ends up short changed and I think that’s what the founders of our constitution realized.”
Weston points out images of Moses are evident throughout Congress, as is the phrase “In God We Trust” – and says God has been a part of America’s government from the very beginning.
“Why do we still swear upon the bible? Why does congress and the senate still open in prayer?” he asked.
Rep. Ritze said the monument is one of historical importance, not a religious reference, and it is again being paid for through private funding.
The ACLU lawsuit is pending before the state supreme court and could take months to resolve.