(OKLAHOMA CITY) Recently the ACLU of Oklahoma settled with the Haskell County of Oklahoma Board of County Commissioners in the lawsuit brought by a resident of Haskell County in regard to a religious monument engraved with one of the several versions of the list known as the "Ten Commandments."
( http://tinyurl.com/2ater6q with photos )
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Commissioners to pay costs and damages amounting to $199,000.
Most incriminating in the court case based on the endorsement of a particular religion by the monument was testimony made in court and in the local newspapers by then-Commission Chairman Sam Cole: "The good Lord died for me. I can stand for him."
There will soon be another showdown over igneous monuments. Thanks to a majority vote in the Oklahoma legislature on a bill sponsored by GOP Rep. Mike Ritze, who has said many times his family will put up the money, the mistake of substituting one's personal belief for one's civic duty will result in another monument similar to Haskell County's being placed on the north side of the Oklahoma Capitol building.
( http://tinyurl.com/28lg98a )
Arnold Hamilton, editor of the Oklahoma Observer ( www.okobserver.net ) has written that, "especially in Oklahoma where some lawmakers are obsessed with the notion this is a Christian nation as opposed to a nation of religious freedom. It's difficult to imagine that erection later this year of a similar Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol's north lawn -- the brainchild of state Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow -- won't be challenged in court." ( http://tinyurl.com/36rt7s6 )
Religious freedom does not mean the majority is allowed to wield their holy writings at will until displaced by some heavenly raffle awarding top place to another mode of worship.
The Tulsa World has a strong op/ed for the separation of religious and civil issues you can read here:
( http://tinyurl.com/2bbnpbn )
Quoting from that article: "Because Congress can't do it, neither can the state or Haskell County. That's covered by the 14th Amendment.
Those willingly choosing delusion over reality don't understand that a civil right such as the First Amendment right of freedom of religion does NOT mean that "the majority rules" when it comes to a civil right guaranteed in the Constitution.
This purpose-driven delusion of the far right also comes into play around the issue of marriage equality for adults of the same gender who are otherwise capable of marrying people of the opposite gender as allowed by residents' state law.
That right to marry is included in the 14th Amendment and covered as well by several Supreme Court decisions that recognize even the right of imprisoned citizens to marry.
Yes, the majority privately-held religious demographic of the United States is Christian, yet the majority civic-held demographic is the rule of law under a judicial system without favoritism to the detriment of minorities.
It appears to me the religious far right is unable to grasp the meaning of the ten articles of the Bill of Rights just as they can't live by the meaning of their ten commandments, whichever version they choose.
Even their leader said, "Pay unto Caesar what is Caesar's..."
writer's note: This article is composed by me without co-ordination with any political party, social or civic group I might be associated with.