Authorities say someone drove across the Oklahoma Capitol lawn and plowed into a Ten Commandments monument that a group has been suing to have removed, breaking it into pieces.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. George Brown says the person responsible drove into the monument on the statehouse steps Thursday night, abandoned the vehicle and then fled the scene. Brown says the vehicle was impounded and authorities are searching the car for evidence.
— Mike Airward (@AtheistAir) October 24, 2014
The 6-foot-tall granite monument was erected in 2012 after Republican state Rep. Mike Ritze and his family forked out nearly $10,000 for it. The American Civil Liberties Union had been suing to have the monument removed, citing it violates the Oklahoma constitution.
Ryan Kiesel, Oklahoma Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union released the following statement in response to the broken monument:
The ACLU of Oklahoma and our clients are outraged at this apparent act of vandalism. While we have and continue to seek the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Capitol grounds through the judicial process, the Ten Commandments constitute a strong foundation in our clients’ deeply held religious beliefs. To see the Ten Commandments desecrated by vandals is highly offensive to them as people of faith. Our Oklahoma and Federal Constitutions seek to create a society in which people of all faiths and those of no faith at all can coexist as equals without fear of repressions from the government or their neighbors. Whether it is politicians using religion as a political tool or vandals desecrating religious symbols, neither are living up to the full promise of our founding documents.
Governor Mary Fallin voiced her concerns regarding the destruction of the Ten Commandments monument and volunteered to help raise money to restore it.
“This monument was built to memorialize the historical significance of the Ten Commandments in guiding our own laws and lives. It is absolutely appalling that someone would vandalize anything at the Oklahoma State Capitol, the People’s Building, much less a monument of such significance,” Fallin said.
Other groups have since asked to erect statues on the Capitol grounds, including one group that wants to erect a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan, reports SF Gate.