Published December 3, 2015 by Robert McDowell (Tulsa Beacon)
Here in Oklahoma, we have gone through a much publicized part of the “War on Christianity” concerning a granite monument engraved with the Ten Commandments placed on the grounds of the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. The total expense of this manufacture and installation was paid by my state representative, flight surgeon, and personal doctor – J. Mike Ritze, D.O., and his family. That fact is critical to this case and the ramifications. Not long after it was placed, a person, believed by me to be anti-Christian drove his vehicle across the lawn and into the monument to destroy it. It was replaced with a new one, again at the total cost paid by the Ritze family.
In due course, a suit was filed in the courts to have the monument removed, stating it violated a part of the State Constitution that prohibits the use of state funds for anything deemed to be supporting or endorsing a religion. This suit went to the Oklahoma Supreme Court where the majority, by a vote of 7-2, ruled that the monument was “in violation” and must be removed. This despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that one at the Texas Capitol was quite legal. After all, the commandments are the basis of most, if not all, civil laws. They also did not issue a stay pending appeal, which reasonable judges normally do, upon request.
Governor Mary Fallin did order it to stay pending all appeals. Then an order was issued by the District Court in Oklahoma County to the Capitol Preservation Commission (CPC) to remove it. Then, one night in October at about 10:30 p.m., a crew arrived on the scene, with police protection and cut it up and removed it. News stories at the time did not state it was under whose orders to perform this most suspicious action, but implied that it was the governor. Thus the removal was done at the cost to the government, which seems to me to be a violation.
Now the plot thickens. In a column in the fall issue of The Oklahoma Constitution (a quarterly political newspaper in Oklahoma City) by Mr. Richard Engle, former president of the NARA (National Federation of Republican Assemblies), shed substantially more light on the behind-the-scenes goings on resulting in these actions. I consider Mr. Engle a friend and advisor and information from him to be most reliable.
It seems, although unreported in the daily paper in Tulsa, that the removal was ordered as a result of a special meeting of the CPC on September 29. This meeting was supposedly held at the Capitol Building, but it seems there were a number of irregularities reported in his column. First, the chair and vice-chair had resigned and a member – who was acting on her own, since the senior member would or did not – called the meeting. There was a minimum number present for a quorum and the call did not include the normal information.
This meeting was called by Linda Edmondson, who is the wife of former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a Democrat. Requests for documents used in the meeting have been denied.
Other reports are that she was interrupted in her meeting remarks by former Rep. Mike Reynolds, who claimed the meeting was “illegal.” She dismissed him and told him to sit down and then a motion was made for an executive session to remove any non-members from the room.
This whole situation, covered in more detail in the column by Mr. Engle, strikes me as being beyond the pale of any semblance of proper conduct and thus warrants a complete investigation by the office of AG. It should be remembered that, while AG, Mr. Edmondson carried out a lengthy persecution of Tim Pope, president of the Oklahoma Republican Assembly, causing his death by a very premature heart attack at his home, as well as his financial destruction.Follow @FortySixNews