Last week the granite edifice upon which the biblical ten commandments had been etched was removed from the front lawn of the capital building by order of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Sure, the news services have told all of us the reason (i.e. separation of church and state), yet the real reason is pretty plain.
The Oklahoma legislature actually broke most of them with legislation and general non-commandment-like behavior.
Commandment #1: You shall have no other gods before me.
It is quite obvious from recent legislation that the real god of the Oklahoma government is money, more specifically the oil companies. From their ban on cities to be able to protect their citizens from oil drilling to their PERMANENT tax breaks given to oil companies, it’s pretty clear whom they worship. Perhaps they should erect an oil derrick directly in front of the capital building instead…oh wait…there’s one there already.
Commandment #2: You shall not make any idols.
See number 1.
Commandment #3: You shall not take name of the Lord your God in vain.
Our government officials are always talking about how much they love God. Governor Mary Fallin actually stood before a body of Christians at a Franklin Graham led conference and talked about how “we all need God”. The fact, however, is that our legislative body continually cuts funding to education (and is planning another huge 1/4 budget cut for 2016), shafts the poor with high sales taxes yet gives the rich tax breaks on property and then has the audacity to pass a bill exempting them from all litigation for their own corruption. Sounds to me like God’s name is pretty much just something they throw around when they want the blindly following Christian base who support them to go to the voting booths to keep them in power. Think of what message this lip service sends to those who think Christianity is a myth. Please stop throwing God’s name around like that for the good of all of us who actually believe in Him.
Commandment #6: You shall not murder.
Regardless of what this readership thinks about the death penalty, Rick Green summed it all up best by stating that “an improperly set intravenous line slowed the death of one man, the wrong drug was given to another and a third execution was called off at the last minute because of the same drug mistake.” If the state allows a person to die inhumanely, then is that murder? Sure, that inmate committed a horrible crime, but should we stoop to the level of the criminal and cause that inmate to suffer if we are going to institute the death penalty? If we are going to execute a murderer, then we should at least do it humanely out of respect for human dignity or not do it at all.
Commandment #7: You shall not commit adultery.
In Oklahoma adultery is a felony punishable by jail time and possibly a $500 fine. This is commendable, as adultery is a horrible monster that is destroying the marriages of people who probably don’t know what marriage truly is. Our governor should probably look into changing this law…or pay the fine.
Commandment #8: You shall not steal.
Where do we begin. Oklahoma earns a “D” rating for corruption and scandals from state integrity.org. “Public Access to Information” = “F”, “State Budget Processes” = “F”, etc. etc. Click on the link and follow the trail of money. It’s fun and doesn’t cost you anything. Due to the fact that in a budget crisis created by huge tax cuts, Oklahoma continues to cut state agency budgets while cutting taxes on the most wealthy of Oklahomans (namely oil companies), which robs Oklahomans of public education, good roads, parks, and other things the government is obligated to fund.
Commandment #9: You shall not lie.
I could focus on several lies that the Oklahoma government has perpetrated, but recently they wanted to ban AP U.S History in the state because they said it didn’t represent an “accurate” depiction of American History… at least one that didn’t make the Americans look like innocent angels. If there is one thing I’ve learned about history, it is that events that happened just happened that way and we can’t get all bent out of shape if we are offended by them or if they make us look bad. Just learn from them. Study them. Move on. The fact here is that the Legislature wanted to believe a bunch of lies about American history and then perpetrate those falsehoods on our children. I’m all for patriotism, but when it lies about the sad things our country has done, things we must learn from and not repeat, that’s dancing next to a fire of burning books in a German street.
Secondly, as a teacher, we as a body of concerned educators have marched on the capital twice now in as many years. We visit our representatives, and they always tell us what we want to hear about how they support education, but then they cut our funding every year regardless. A yearly budget shortfall is proof that their economic policy is an absolute failure, and yet the lies keep pouring from the capital that we are supported.