A monument of the Ten Commandments was removed from the Oklahoma Capitol grounds Monday night, after judges ruled that the statue violated state and federal “provisions against government support of a religion,” Reuters reported.
Though the statue will no longer be at the Capitol, it will be moved to outside the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs office. It cost about $5,000 to move the statue, Reuters reported.
The statue was moved between 10:15 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. so that workers at the Capitol wouldn’t be distracted, and to avoid potential protesters, The Washington Post reported.
“We wanted it removed as quickly and safely as possible with little interruption as we could,” John Estus, spokesman for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, told The Post. “We didn’t want disturbance that could’ve complicated the removal. There were legitimate security concerns. The patrol heard enough chatter after the court ruling. There was a little hooting and hollering from a few folks who showed up, but it went smoothly.”
Protesters, as well as lawmakers who fought for the statue back in June during the court case, felt the statue was a way for the state to mark a historical moment and not about religion, Reuters reported.
That’s why other religions, including one Hindu leader, requested its monument be placed at the building, too, according to NewsOK.
The American public seems to feel the same. A Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll found that most Americans approve of seeing God and religion in the public square, according to the Baptist Press. In fact, 70 percent of Americans felt it was fine to display the Ten Commandments monuments in schools or outside government buildings, BP News reported.
But, as the court ruled, “the Ten Commandments are obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.”
The Ten Commandments influence more than just Jewish and Christian believers, though, by offering lessons to both believers and nonbelievers alike, despite their religious origins.
“These centuries-old guidelines still speak to us today — whether we’re kindling romance online, grappling with the idea of plagiarism, or spinning through the realm of social media,” our editor, Allison Pond, wrote for OnFaith earlier this year.
For example, the Ten Commandments teach lessons about embracing healthy relationships, whether that’s one between a parent and child or one that requires partners to forgive each other, which are taught through the “honour thy father and thy mother” and “thou shalt not commit adultery” commandments, according to Pond.
The Commandments also remind Americans to slow down and embrace their time away from work, as suggested by the fourth commandment — “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” according to Pond.
And, overall, they teach us about having a good life, Pond wrote.
“The Ten Commandments, like other religious texts, have endured because they offer a blueprint for navigating the essential human struggle to live well with other humans,” Pond wrote. “In doing so, they also provide a moral compass for individuals to live a good life and orient themselves in relation to society — whether that society is one that uses stone tablets or electronic tablets.”
For more lessons from the Ten Commandments, visit our series on the Ten Today.
More on the Ten Commandments:
The Ten Commandments in today's society
A Baptist minister from South Carolina calls the Ten Commandments 'sayings' instead of mandates
Quiz: How well do you know the Ten Commandments?