Assailant knocks over Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma capitol

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 24, 2014 1:56 PM

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An unknown assailant drove up on the grounds of the Oklahoma statehouse, knocked over a Ten Commandments monument and then fled, leaving the vehicle behind, police said on Friday.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said they believe a single person was responsible for the act on Thursday night that left the 6-foot (180 cm) tall monument broken in several large pieces not far from where it was mounted.

Conservative Christian groups fought for years to have the Ten Commandments displayed at the statehouse. Legislative approval was eventually granted to the groups, who said they were using private funds to commemorate a historical event and were not in violation of constitutional restrictions on the state sponsoring religion.

The monument went up in 2012.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued to have the monument removed on the grounds that it violated church-and-state provisions. Groups including Satanists and Hindus have petitioned to erect their own monuments on the capitol grounds, saying their monuments also will mark historical events.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, said the Ten Commandments monument will be rebuilt and restored.

"This monument was built to memorialize the historical significance of the Ten Commandments in guiding our own laws and lives," Fallin said.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)