Oklahoma Retrieves SCOTUS Fumble and Runs With It

Well, to my shame, my great state of Oklahoma has taken the nod from the Supreme Court’s recent decisions to ignore the wording of law and go beyond the written text in order to force a round peg agenda into the square hole of legislative mockery.

In a 7-2 decision, the Oklahoma state supreme court on Tuesday ordered a privately funded Ten Commandments monument to be removed from the state capitol. According to the court, it violates the Oklahoma constitution. Article II, section 5 of the state constitution reads,


No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.

Which sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, does the Ten Commandments support?

If one were a responsible jurist, one would know that the Ten Commandments does not exclusively benefit, support, supply use for, etc., of any particular sect, church, denomination, or system of religion. In fact, there are a whole host of institutions that use and apply those ten statutes. Let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?

Christianity. This way of life set up by it’s Founder, God, is one of many organizations that take special note of this decalogue for use in worship and instruction within that faith. According to Christianity, the holy Bible is the ONLY inerrant and immutable arbiter of morality and ethics.

Judaism. This Jewish religion uses the Ten Commandments much in the same way Christianity does. It holds those words as sacred and uses them in many of their ritual practices.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Although Mormonism is a cult, this religion applies the Ten Commandments in its system of belief, relying on it for instruction and teaching.

Jehova’s Witnesses. Also a cult, these adherents recognize the same ten statutes as their cannon and hold them as sacred.

The Roman Catholics. Another adherent to the ten, it recognizes these verses as part of one of the three pillars of the word of God, the other two being Tradition and their Church.

The Easter Orthodox. Yet another organization embracing the Ten Commandments, citing it as among the verses that make up – like the Romans – one of the three sources of the word of God. That denomination, as do the Romans, considers the bible, along with Tradition and their Church, to be the word of God.

Islam. Yes, the Muslim religion also cites the Ten Commandments as holy, although they do not group them together. However, you can find them in the Qur’an as a restating of the verses found in the Hebrew and Christian Bible.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America. In the hallowed halls of the building in which that august body rules on matters of law, you will find upon the ceiling the actual Ten Commandments written in plain and easily observable view.

Yet, that body has decided a teacher can’t write them on her blackboard.

So, those are just some of the institutions that cite the controversial set verses found in the Bible.

Now, a state has the sovereignty, if it so chooses, to elect not to exhibit such words. However, given the wording of the statute laid out in Article II, section 5 of the Oklahoma constitution, the Oklahoma supreme court failed to apply the law as stated.

The text states,

No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.

The monument was paid for with private funds. Indeed, no public money was appropriated for the monument, and therefore, the Oklahoma court’s decision was illegitimate. The funding source alone should have settled the argument and dropped the gavel for dismissal.

If the justices were following the law, it would have.

Now, for those of you who wish to ignore the clear rendering of Article II, section 5 regarding appropriations, let us move to a more subtle yet just as powerful aspect of the writing found in the law.

You see, in legal matters, precision is monumental. Our Founders knew that. Which is why they put such precise restrictions upon government in the US Constitution, such as, “Congress shall make no law . . .” so on, and so forth.

But to clarify, let’s say a law states, “Sentence for the crime of robbery shall carry no more than three years in prison.” If a judge says, Yeah, but I’m going to give him five, that judge would be in violation of his powers, going beyond his duties, even if he reasons, Yeah, but when the law said ‘no more than three years’, it really meant ‘no more than five years’.

See how that works, boys and girls?

So when the Oklahoma constitution explicitly states in the singular – sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, we must take the wording to mean ‘a’ sect, ‘a’ church, ‘a’ denomination, ‘a’ system of religion. If the law would have meant sect(s), church(es), denomination(s), or system(s) of religion, it would have rendered it in the plural.

But it didn’t.

And the Ten Commandment monument does not violate the law, because no singular sect, church, denomination, or system of religion is benefitted or supported by it. First of all, because no funding (appropriations) were used to build and install it, and second, a vast number of disparate groups of many disparate beliefs and faiths enjoy its placement, including some that have no faith or religion at all, such as the “co-equal” branch of the United States of America, the Supreme Court.

But then, as that traitorous and tyrannical US Supreme Court has shown us, it really doesn’t matter what the actuall words say. All that matters is what the people who wrote it really meant to say. And of course, as Marbury vs. Madison has demonstrated, the United States Supreme Court has declared themselves to be the only stratospheric entity that can discern what someone ‘really meant.’ After all, with the magical number of nine and the sartorial superiority of the color black in the form of a robe, who else but they could possess such divine gifts.

Are we through the looking glass yet?

About the Author

Joe Keck is a writer of horror, thriller, suspense, and other fiction, some poetry and music, with the occasional op-ed piece on current events, politics, and theology. Although born in Oklahoma, he was taken to Los Angeles when he was an infant, or as his mother described, "the ugliest little thing I've ever seen", and raised there on the West Coast. He considers himself to be far superior to most on the artistic merits of film and literature, seeing the vast majority of such to be well below adequate. He has four novels and many short stories to his credit, and hopes to one day have them published, promising to hold critics like himself in harsh derision. He's currently restoring a Jason 35 sailboat and plans to sail the world, writing horror stories, and marveling at the illustrative works of the Creator and His Divine story-telling imagery. You may Find Joe's Website at http://www.joekeck.com/

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