Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said that the state’s controversial Ten Commandments statue is staying put despite a state Supreme Court ruling ordering it to be taken off the statehouse grounds.
The state’s highest court handed down a broad 7-2 decision last week, which found that the monument violated the state’s constitution.
In statements issued Tuesday, Fallin defended the statue and said that “the court got it wrong.” She added that the statue will remain in place while the state appeals the court’s decision and the legislature considers changes to the constitution.
“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions,” Fallin said. “However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government.”
“At this time, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, with my support, has filed a petition requesting a rehearing of the Ten Commandments case. Additionally, our Legislature has signaled its support for pursuing changes to our state Constitution that will make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible,” she added. “If legislative efforts are successful, the people of Oklahoma will get to vote on the issue.”
In the ruling, the court noted that the statue, a six-foot-high stone replica of two tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments, is “obviously” religious in nature. The state constitution specifically prohibits state funds or property from being directed “for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.”
Fallin and proponents of the statue note that it was paid for with private donations and say it is no different from a Christmas tree lighting held at the capitol every year or Native American works of art that include symbols of religion, tribal culture and history that are permitted to be displayed on government property.
“Legislators and supporters of the monument intended it as a tribute to the importance of the Ten Commandments in our history and our system of laws,” Fallin noted in a statement. “Celebrating the historical importance of religions and religious values is not a new idea. Our nation is steeped in references to God and the rights He bestows on all men and women.
“None of these represent state endorsement of or support for any religion. They are celebrations or visual representations of our culture and events of historical importance,” she added.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, which handled the legal proceedings in the case, called Fallin’s decision “political grandstanding.”
“We along with no doubt a large number of Oklahomans were astonished at the governor’s reaction and the statement today pretending that she has the authority to enforce the laws of some hypothetical future instead of enforcing the laws as they are today,” Ryan Kiesel, the group’s executive director, told the Washington Post. “Governors do not get a blank check to make up the laws as they see fit.”
“That’s not the way that our democracy works and the governor’s statement is unprecedented.”
Kiesel said he believes it is highly unlikely that the state Supreme Court will agree to rehear the case, which has already spanned more than 2-years of litigation. The process of changing the state constitution, which requires putting those changes to a vote could take well over a year, he added.
If the court’s order remains in place during that time and Fallin refuses to remove the statue while waiting for constitutional changes, she could be in contempt of court.
“It creates the potential for a showdown between the legislative and judicial branches,” Kiesel said. “If you refuse to comply with a valid and lawful order of the court, there’s a word for that: it’s contempt.”
In an interview with the Washington Post last week, one of the plaintiffs in the case against the state noted that the monument is so large and unavoidable that it gives the impression of a state-sanctioned religion.
“I’m not opposed to Ten Commandment monuments; I’m opposed to them on government property,” said Bruce Prescott, who is an ordained Baptist minister. “How do you take a covenant between God and his people and make it a secular monument?”
Source: Washington Post
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If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them- Jeremiah 18:8 (KJV).
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not- Jonah 3:10 (KJV).
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance- 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV).
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry – 2 Timothy 4:3-5 (KJV).
Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.- Nahum 3:4-5 (KJV).
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies- Revelation 18:3 (KJV).
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (KJV)
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage- 2 Peter 2:19 (KJV).
Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: Jeremiah 32:19 (KJV).
It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.- Psalm 119:126 (KJV).
Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth- Habakkuk 1:4 (KJV).
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!- Isaiah 5:20-21 (KJV).