On Friday October 24, 2014, Michael Tate Reed II drove to the state capitol building in Oklahoma City and ran into the Ten Commandments monument, destroying the six-foot tall monolith. Though erected in possible violation of the First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause,” its destruction should not be celebrated.
Ryan Kiesel, the ACLU of Oklahoma‘s executive director who has filed several suits to have the monument removed, was “outraged” at the event, as should all atheists, Humanists and others. The wanton destruction of property, private or public, should never be condoned.
Though funded through private donations, the monument was erected on state grounds. Despite the funding mechanism, the fact that the state donated a place on the capitol grounds could hold the perception of the state favoring and sponsoring “the establishment of religion” in Oklahoma. But this is no excuse for anyone to purposely destroy property to achieve any end.
The driver of the car reportedly walked into a federal building “rambling, making derogatory statements about President Barack Obama, admitting to damaging the monument and saying Satan told him to do so.” The Secret Service described the driver as “deranged.”
I am not supporting the rebuilding of the monument for placement on the grounds of the state Capitol. However, I do support prosecuting the driver for the destruction of property.
So what should the atheist community do? I suggest that we do nothing as it concerns the criminal action of the wanton destruction of property, private or public. However, our voices need to be heard concerning the possible re-erection of the monument on government grounds. This must include the capitol, state, county or city buildings or property.