First Amendment

ACLU sues Oklahoma county seeking removal of Ten Commandments monument

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The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against Johnston County Board of Commissioners for putting up a Ten Commandments monument outside the Oklahoma county’s courthouse.

KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City reported Monday that the ACLU has filed suit on behalf of several residents of Johnston County demanding the monument’s removal.

“This isn’t something we take lightly,” said Brady Henderson, legal director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. “No public official should try and tell residents what they should believe.”

According to KFOR, the ACLU’s complaint was filed days after a similar monument was removed from the state capitol building grounds in Oklahoma City. That monument was relocated to the lawn of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Oklahoma Gov.Mary Fallin has called for a constitutional amendment allowing government entities to display the Ten Commandments.

“It’s not a Republican, Democrat or independent issue,” Fallin said earlier this month. “The Ten Commandments is a historical monument. We brought it to this location. We felt it was a good place to be able to display it properly so people could see it.”

ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel disagreed and vowed to continue fighting the state’s attempts to erect Ten Commandments-themed monuments on public property. “No government official has the constitutional authority to use the machinery of government to exploit religion for their own petty political purposes.” Kiesel said. “When the government literally puts one faith on a pedestal, it sends a strong message to Oklahomans of other faiths and those of no faith at all that they are less than equal.”

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