Around 10:30 p.m. Monday night, contractors began taking down a 2,400-pound monument depicting the Ten Commandments from the grounds of Oklahoma’s State Capitol.
The monument’s removal comes a little more than three months after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in June that its presence violated the state constitution’s prohibition against using public property for religious purposes.
In Prescott v. Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission, the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided that the six-foot tall granite monument, which was built with private funds, “operates for the use, benefit or support of a sect or system of religion.”
Justice Thomas Prince wrote the opinion, which read, “The Ten Commandments are obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.”
He cited Oklahoma’s State Constitution, which states: “ No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.”
Gov. Mary Fallin reportedly said after the ruling that “the court got it wrong,".
The state’s Office of Management and Enterprise Services hired Wilbert Memorials as a contractor to remove the monument, which was an exact replica of one erected in 2012 after the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a bill authorizing it, which then Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, signed into law.
The original monument was destroyed last October when a man ran his car into it.
After its removal, the Ten Commandments monument was transferred to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), a conservative think tank located in Oklahoma City.