The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled this week that a monument with the Ten Commandments from the Torah chiseled on it, located on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds, violates the state's constitutional ban on placing religious symbols on public property.
The 7-2 ruling on Tuesday stated that the Ten Commandments engraved in English on the 6-foot tall granite monument are "obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths," reports the Associated Press.
A previous district court had ruled in favor of the monument, but the Supreme Court ruling overturned that judgement. In response several Republican lawmakers called to impeach the judges behind the ruling.
Representative Mike Ritze (R-OK) constructed the monument in 2012 with $10,000 in personal funds. He expressed his hopes that Attorney General Scott Pruitt will appeal the ruling; Pruitt has filed for a rehearing in the case.
In court Pruitt had noted that the monument was not just religious but historical in nature, and that it was almost identical to a monument in Texas which the US Supreme Court ruled was constitutional. The judges argued back that the issue at stake was the state's constitution, and not the US Constitution.
Pruitt, who is in contact with Governor Mary Fallin about how to proceed in fighting the ruling, said in a statement, "the court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law."
"Furthermore, the court’s incorrect interpretation of Article 2, Section 5 contradicts previous rulings of the court. In response, my office will file a petition with the court for a rehearing in light of the broader implications of this ruling on other areas of state law," said Pruitt. "Additionally, we are requesting a stay of the enforcement of the court’s order until the court can consider the petition for rehearing. Finally, if Article 2, Section 5 is going to be construed in such a manner by the court, it will be necessary to repeal it."
Despite containing a statement of faith with an historical impact on the cultural and legal heritage of America as noted by Pruitt, the monument has received negative reactions since being put up in 2012.
Several groups have requested to put up their own monuments on the Capitol grounds as a protest. One group asked to place a 7-foot-tall statue showing Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure replete with horns, wings and a long beard. Likewise a Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group and the anti-religion group Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have also made requests.
Physical action has been taken against the Ten Commandments monument as well.
In October it was smashed to pieces by someone who drove across the Capitol lawn and crashed their car into it. The following day a 29-year-old man was arrested and hospitalized for mental health treatment, and no formal charges were filed. A new monument was put up in January replacing the previous one.