American Atheists have filed a federal lawsuit which demands the removal of a 2000-lb monument to the Ten Commandments which was placed on the grounds of the Oklahoma statehouse in 2012.
“This action challenges the constitutionality, under federal law, of the state of Oklahoma’s placement of a massive monument displaying an abridgement of a portion of religious text originating from a Hollywood movie director’s rendition of one of many versions from the Bible,” reads the suit in part. “The display was placed on the grounds of the state capitol building…which plaintiffs contend is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment.” In a statement released Monday, American Atheists’ Public Relations Director Dave Muscato argued that the issue with the monument was due to it being placed on government property. “If this monument were on privately owned land — say, in front of a church — there would be no legal conflict,” said Muscato.
The monument’s defenders claim it has historic value and therefore does not violate the Establishment Clause. The NYC-based Satanic Temple has been attempting to place a monument to Satan nearby.