The separation of church and state is a contentious topic here in the United States, and a crowdfunding campaign launched by a spokesperson for the Satanic Temple seeks to prove a point by crowdfunding a monument to go alongside an existing Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma.
The story begins late last year with the erection of a monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of Oklahoma’s State Capitol. It was facilitated by the passing of Oklahoma House Bill 1330, the “Ten Commandments Monument Display Act.” A monument was eventually donated by Oklahoma Rep. Mike Ritze (R) (who also led the charge on enacting the legislation) and erected at the capitol.
The move prompted a legal challenge filed by the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this year. “The monument’s placement at the Capitol has created a more divisive and hostile state for many Oklahomans,” said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma’s executive director. “When the government literally puts one faith on a pedestal, it sends a strong message to Oklahomans of other faiths that they are less than equal.”
The New York-based Satanic Temple picked up on the ACLU’s argument and has launched a campaign aimed at raising funds for a monument of their own. Spokesperson Lucien Greaves has already obtained the paperwork necessary to submit the proposal to the State of Oklahoma.
By accepting our offer, the good people of Oklahoma City will have the opportunity to show that they espouse the basic freedoms spelled out in the Constitution. We imagine that the ACLU will also embrace such a response. Allowing us to donate a monument would show that the Oklahoma City Council does not discriminate, and both the religious and non-religious should be happy with such an outcome. Our mission is to bring people together by finding common sentiments that create solutions that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.
The campaign seeks $20,000 in donations via a flexible funding campaign on Indiegogo, and the campaign has received just over $1,600 at the time of writing. In what may be the least surprising news of the day, this story has some serious legs and has been picked up by news outlets all over the country. Those advocating for the project argue that allowing one religion to be represented on the grounds of a state capitol should mean all can be represented. Those arguing against the move say that the project comes from a New York-based organization with no influence in Oklahoma.
The entire matter could eventually end up in the courts.
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