Man Behind Ten Commandments Monument At State Capitol Speaks Out
OKLAHOMA CITY - The man behind the Capitol Ten Commandments monument that's creating a religious controversy is finally speaking out.
Satanists and a Hindu organization are just two of the religious groups wanting to place statues right here on capitol ground. And what started it all was the bill behind the 10 Commandments monument, House Bill 1330.
"The Satanic statue has nothing to do with the 10 commandments monument at Oklahoma state capitol," said Rep. Mike Ritze (R-80.)
In a prepared statement, representative Mike Ritze broke his silence on the controversy surrounding the 10 Commandments monument his family donated to the Oklahoma Capitol.
"Exact replica of the Texas monument," Ritze said.
Texas was allowed to keep a 10 Commandments monument on its capitol grounds due to the Supreme Court ruling of Van Orden vs. Perry, and that was the basis for Rep. Ritze's effort.
"It would be bizarre if Texas can have the monument and Oklahoma cannot," Ritze said.
As for the possibility of a Satanic or Hindu statue next to the 10 commandments, Ritze referenced another supreme court ruling, Summum vs. Pleasant Grove, which allowed a city to deny religious monuments in a public park.
"That city did not have to accept any monuments around its 10 commandments monument," said Ritze.
Any further questions were answered with, "no comment," said Ritze.
But back in March of 2009, at the reading of House Bill 1330, Ritze could comment as to why the 10 commandments does not endorse religion.
"It's a historical display to inform and educate the people about the role the 10 commandments played in our heritage," Ritze said.
And that offends Baptist Minister Dr. Bruce Prescott.
"As soon as you say this is historical document and not a religious document then you are saying God's name has no meaning," said Dr. Bruce Prescott.
Which is why Dr. Prescott has filed a lawsuit against the Capitol preservation commission
"Even though it's my faith and I agree with that faith I don't think it's appropriate on government property," Dr. Prescott said.
As for a desired location of the monument, Dr. Prescott mentioned he'd like to see the monument moved to church grounds or private property.