Ten Commandments Removed from Oklahoma State Capitol Last Night
A monument of the Ten Commandments was removed late Monday night from the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol because of a court order, reports say.
The monument will be moved to a spot outside the offices of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a public policy analysis organization, NewsOK.com reports.
A private contractor hired by the state began removing the monument at 10:30 p.m. Monday, a time when few people are at the Capitol, according to the Associated Press. Office of Management and Enterprise Services spokesman John Estus tolds the AP that officials wanted to avoid disturbing workers and to avoid having protesters around the heavy equipment used to remove the two-ton monument.
"We wanted it to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible, and doing it at night gave us the best opportunity to do that," Estus said. "The Highway Patrol was also very concerned that having it in the middle of the day could lead to having demonstrations of some kind."
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled, 7-2, in June that the 6-foot-tall monument violated a provision in the state constitution prohibiting use of state property to further religions, NewsOK.com reports. A judge ordered it must be removed before Oct. 12.
It is costing the state about $4,700 to have the monument removed.
Former state Rep. Mike Reynolds, a Republican who voted to authorize the monument, watched the removal Monday night, according to AP reports.
"This is a historical event," Reynolds said. "Now we know we have to change the Constitution. It would be good to get rid of some of the Supreme Court justices, too."