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10 Commandments monument: ‘Thou shalt be replaced’

January 8, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds that was destroyed by a man who drove into it was replaced Thursday with an exact replica.

Workers used a large crane to move the 2,400-pound (1,100-kilogram) granite monument onto its repaired base on a staircase landing outside the state Capitol building. The design is an exact replica of a monument at the Texas Capitol.

The family of a Republican state legislator, Rep. Mike Ritze, commissioned the original monument for $10,000.

The monument, which is at the center of a lawsuit, was smashed into pieces in October when someone drove a car across the Capitol lawn and crashed into it. A 29-year-old man was arrested the next day after he showed up at a federal building in Oklahoma City, spit on a picture of President Barack Obama and acknowledged destroying the monument, according to a police report. The man was admitted to a hospital for mental health treatment, and formal charges were never filed.

The original monument was erected in 2012 after a bill authorizing it was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat. A man has sued to have it removed, saying it violates the state constitution’s prohibition against using public property to support “any sect, church, denomination or system of religion.” The case is pending before the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

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Follow Sean Murphy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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