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EXODUS: Ten Commandments monument leaves capitol, heads to right-wing think tank

Sarah Hussain / Red Dirt Report
The spot on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol where the Ten Commandments once stood.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Under the cover of darkness and away from prying eyes, construction crews removed the controversial Ten Commandments monument from the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol, Monday night.

But media reports say troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol were out in force in case anyone learned about the monument’s removal, out of concern about dissidents.

Crews remove the Ten Commandments Monday night. (Screenshot via News 9)

Regardless, the monument, which had been reportedly heading to the headquarters of the Oklahoma Republican Party, is now heading to the grounds of right-wing think tank Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, some ten blocks south of the Capitol.

Speaking to OCPA spokesman Alex Jones on Tuesday morning, he said a press conference would be held Tuesday afternoon and that all questions were being deferred to the office of Gov. Mary Fallin.

Will OCPA headquarters now be the permanent home for the Ten Commandments monument? (Sarah Hussain / Red Dirt Report)

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the monument, violating the separation of church and state, had to be removed from the capitol grounds no later than Oct. 12, 2015.

Oklahoma City television station News 9 is reporting that the state paid a private contractor $4,700 to remove it. It is unclear which private contractor was chosen and why. Also, private funds are being used to reinstall it, coming from an unknown source.

Recall that in October 2014, the original, six-foot high monument was destroyed by a mentally-ill man who ran his car into the monument. A replacement of the 2,400-pound monolith was installed some time later, although it is unclear who paid to have the second monument installed or if the monument has even been paid for.

THOU SHALT PAY FOR THY MONUMENTS

Incidentally, a Red Dirt Report reader who contacted Kansas-based Wilbert Memorials this week, said he talked to spokesman Gary Mosier about the new monument - inquiring if some or all of the bill for the monument had been paid for yet - and was told by Mosier that Wilbert Memorials has not been paid for creating the new monument.

In a January 2015 Associated Press article, State Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow), whose family commissioned the $10,000 to pay for the original monument, installed in 2012, said he was privately raising money to reimburse Wilbert Memorials, while the monument company fronted the cost for the new monument. That was 10 months ago. It is unclear which commandment warns against not paying one's bills. 

And in an email to John Estus with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, he told Red Dirt Report that OMES - after speaking with both Ritze and Fallin - that since OCPA was the first to offer a home to the displaced decalogue - that it would be best to send it there in order to meet the court's deadline. 

An OMES worker finishes loading up his truck at the site where the Ten Commandments once stood. (Sarah Hussain / Red Dirt Report)

Red Dirt Report is looking into the matter and certainly has more questions and will cover today’s press conference.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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