Is a monument park in plans for Oklahoma Capitol?

by Graham Lee Brewer Published: September 23, 2013
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In defense of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol, the attorney general's office stated that it is the first in a series of planned statues.

However, Capitol Preservation Commission Chairman Trait Thompson said there are no current plans for such a grouping.

Paul Meyer, former Capitol architect and longtime member of the commission, also said such a monument park has been in the realm of a wish list.

“It was intended to have monuments all around,” Meyer said. “Now, monuments, but not religious monuments per se.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Ten Commandments monument, alleging it is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court found in a Texas case that a similar monument was constitutional because it had stood for decades without being challenged and that its inclusion in a series of monuments gave it a historical context rather than a religious one.

Oklahoma's monument was placed on the north side of the Capitol in 2012.

It was paid for with $10,000 donated by Rep. Mike Ritze and his family, and $10,000 raised privately.

Brady Henderson, legal director for the Oklahoma ACLU, said its placement on public property violates a section of the state constitution that states:

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by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch he went on to cover the Oklahoma Senate for eCapitol before joining the...
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