OKLAHOMA CITY - The interim chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party thinks the best place for the Ten Commandments monument is on the grounds of the Capitol.
But, now, that a judge has ordered the monument be removed by Oct. 12, Estela Hernandez feels the area outside her office is the second best location.
"It really defines us as a nation," she said. "We really are a moral nation and, when we look at those laws that are enshrined in that monument, that's what we follow today."
While it's not a done deal, Hernandez has thrown the GOP name in the hat for the new home of the controversial monument. She said the words of the scripture are directly in line with the principles of the republican party.
"It's a reminder that we truly are a people with moral laws, with moral values and, when we start to dismiss the notion that God should not be in our schoolhouse and in our government, that's when we start to lose or start to see a decline of our culture," she said. "Those [are] principles that define us as Americans, that define us as to what our framers intended our nation to be. They sought out those Christian values, they sought out God's wisdom. And, I truly believe Oklahomans share in those values."
Hernandez said she's not sure exactly where she would put the monument.
The cost of moving the monument would be covered by donors, she said. Neither taxpayers nor the republican party - which has been strapped for cash lately - will have to foot the bill.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which led the fight to remove the monument from the Capitol grounds, said it would have no problem with the republicans housing the monument. Since the statue would stand on private property, Legal Director Brady Henderson said the location is perfectly legal.
"Scripture is very intensely personal for people and, when you do something that basically makes scripture part of a political thing, in this case part of a political party, that could be a message that's rather off-putting," he said. "Really, the decision ultimately is going to be for the republican leadership itself to say, 'Is this something we want there? Is this a message we want to send?'"
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Hernandez said she isn't worried about alienating non-religious republicans.
"We don't all believe the same, and we don't all have the same values. That's okay," she said. "I respect those individuals who have a different view as I do but, at the same time we can come together and see not only a symbol to what our nation was founded on, it's a symbol of respect, a symbol of history, and we can't forget really where we came from and how we became the America we are today and how we became the America we are today and why we are the most powerful nation. It's because we have not put God to the side."
Russell Griffin, Oklahoma Democrats Interim Executive Director, released a statement about the relocation of the monument.
While the Oklahoma Democratic Party is pleased that the Ten Commandments monument will be finding a new home at the Dewey Bartlett Center, we remain focused on the important issues facing working Oklahomans.
With a looming federal government shutdown, a possible $1 billion state budget shortfall, massive layoffs at one of our largest employers, corruption in the Tulsa County Sheriff's office, and thousands of Oklahomans still without access to quality health care, Oklahoma Republicans are more worried aboutmoving a block of granite up Lincoln Boulevard.
Here at the Democratic Party, we stand by our commitment to doing all we can to better the lives of our fellow citizens. In that spirit, we hope and pray that, when working on these issues that are facing our state, Republicans will take the time to consider those Ten Commandments and the weight they put on all of us to be honest, kind, and loving to one another.