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All religions should have equal access to state Capitol

Published: December 16, 2013

Regarding “Hindu group wants to erect deity statue at state Capitol” (Tulsa World, Dec. 11): The Oklahoma state Capitol has a Ten Commandments monument, despite the fact that the government has no interest in telling anyone they must worship only God or to keep the Sabbath. In fact, if the government did try to enforce such prohibitions, it would be a direct violation of the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment. Prohibitions on murder and theft are universal; they long predate the formation of the commandments. But this monument exists because Christianity is popular in Oklahoma.

So if the government is allowing religious monuments, it must support the right of all religious groups to do that, including Satanists. Yes, a Satanist group wants to put up its own monument at the Capitol; so does a Hindu group. As a humanist and an atheist, I don't believe in any religion's beliefs being literally true — although some might contain wisdom within them. But all groups deserve full equality within the law.

I hope Oklahoma's state government can fully support those rights. Otherwise, it should leave the question of religion up to the marketplace of ideas.

Jerome McCollom, Milwaukee, Wis.