Oklahoma Opens Vote to Bring Ten Commandments Monument Back

Voters will decide if the Ten Commandments Monument should be allowed on Oklahoma Capitol grounds.

Republican officials in Oklahoma are engaged in efforts to bring back the Ten Commandments monument. If they are successful, it will be reinstalled on Oklahoma Capitol grounds. The reinstatement is one of the many proposed ballot questions which the state senate has given its approval for the consideration of voters.

The Senate in Oklahoma has approved three distinct resolutions to voters. The vote was settled at 39-5. It will put the monument's legality squarely in the voters' hands. The Senate Joint Resolution 72 will repeal the State Constitution's part forbidding public money being utilized for religious usage. Interestingly, the wording is a little confused, with the voter being asked to select either “Yes” or “No.” The Supreme Court of the state was dependent on that particular provision written in the constitution to issue the order of removing the Ten Commandments monument from Capitol grounds.

Another question proposed by the state asks to raise the cap on the constitutional reserve fund of the state. The government also wants to codify the voter identification laws written in the constitution. The resolutions will now head to House for their due consideration.

There is a lot riding on Article 2 Section 5. The Supreme Court cited this particular passage when making its case for the monument to be brought down. That particular section states that no public property or money will be donated, appropriated, used or applied both indirectly or directly, for use, support or benefit of any church, sect, or a system of religion for use, support or benefit of any preacher, priest, religious leader, sectarian institution, or dignitary. The intent of the concerned Article 2, Section 5 is prohibited to the State Government and its subdivisions and officials from the usage of property or public money for benefit of any kind of religious purpose. The expansive nature of the ban is reflected in the use of words like “no”, “any” and “ever.” The Ten Commandments obviously has religious significance and are integral to Christian and Jewish faiths.

It is assumed by legislators that if this particular message is deleted from state constitution, it will be possible for the monument to be reinstalled. This is plainly wrong as government endorsement of any religion is forbidden by the federal constitution. In case the ballot measure is passed, Oklahoma state can find itself engaged in another lawsuit.

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