Mark 13:13 “You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
In the quiet of night, the controversial Ten Commandments monument, located on the grounds of the Oklahoma City Capitol building, was removed. A state hired contractor began removing the monument shortly after 10:30 p.m. The removal comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision in June that the display violates a state constitutional prohibition on the use of public property to support “any sect, church, denomination or system of religion.”
Originally authorized by the Legislature in 2009, the privately funded monument was erected in 2012, bringing about a lawsuit from Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister from Norman who complained it violated the state constitution.
“Frankly, I’m glad we finally got the governor and attorney general to agree to let the monument be moved to private property, which is where I believe it’s most appropriate,” Prescott said Monday. “The first sermon I ever preached was on the Ten commandments. I am just opposed to it being on public property.”
Its placement at the Capitol prompted requests from several groups to have their own monuments installed, the list including a satanic church in New York that wanted to erect a 7-foot-tall statue that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard.
Office of Management and Enterprise Services spokesman John Estus said that the state is paying the contractor about $4,700 to remove the monument and take it to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs’ offices, a few blocks away. Estus said the decision to remove the monument under the cover of darkness was made to avoid disturbing workers at the Capitol and to keep protesters from demonstrating while heavy equipment was being used to detach the two-ton monument from its base.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol had increased security around the monument earlier Monday, and barriers were erected to keep visitors from getting close to it.
Several conservative legislators have promised to introduce a resolution when the Legislature convenes in February to send to a public vote an amendment that would remove the article of the constitution that prevents the use of public money or property for religious purposes.