Case against Ten Commandments Monument Thrown Out by Oklahoma Judge
- By Alison Lesley --
- 29 Mar 2015 --
The monument prompted offense and action from an atheist group, American Atheists.
In 2012, a 6-foot-tall monument of stone was constructed on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds. The Ten Commandments monument was paid for by private funds, and is supported by lawmakers throughout the state of Oklahoma. In January, a man rammed his car into the monument and destroyed it. He claimed the devil made him do it. The Ten Commandments monument has been refurbished, and remains standing strong.
No Leg to Stand On
US District Judge Robin Cauthron wrote that “the Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to establish standing, and therefore the Court lacks jurisdiction to decide this action.” The argument rested when the defendants argued they had failed to exhibit how the group had been injured.
The President of American Atheists, David Silverman, spoke up, saying, “I want to be clear about this: We have a religious monument, placed on government property, by government mandate.” He, and others, have complained that the Ten Commandments monument goes against the constitutional agreement against government-established religion.
However, the lawmakers further argued that the Ten Commandments monument was not religious, but rather historic. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt offered the explanation, “The historical relevance of the Ten Commandments and the role it played in founding our nation cannot be disputed I commend Judge Cauthron’s decision to rule in the state’s favor.”
Attorney Jeremy Dys, from the Liberty Institute, offered this statement to One News Now. He said that the association has filed the suit for a nonbeliever who felt offended by the Ten Commandments monument. He adds that “as the court found, they didn’t really see it that terribly often and so they didn’t have any standing. In order to be able to address such a claim, you’ve got to be able to say to the court, I’ve got a reason to be offended, or I’ve got a reason to speak to this issue.” He said they could refile, or try to appeal, but “you know, I think it’d be a silly thing to do. The state court said that this case is not going to go forward.”