According to Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), an Oklahoma official has refused to heed a court ruling that came in yesterday saying that the "Ten Commandments" display at an Oklahoma courthouse must come down. Rob wrote on his blog at AU's Web site:
I’m always surprised when people in the heartland of America – conservative folks who claim to love their country and its institutions – display contempt for the rule of law.
Consider the case of Haskell County, Okla. A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that an eight-foot-high Ten Commandments monument erected in front of the courthouse in 2004 must come down. The monument, the court declared, violates the separation of church and state.
In response, Haskell County Commissioner Mitch Worsham told the Associated Press, “Whoever was the judge in this, I feel sorry for him on Judgment Day. We’re not going to take it down.”
Now, it is true that the county can appeal. They can ask the entire 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case, a rarely granted procedure known as an en banc hearing. They can also ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
But if those appeals fail, the county will be legally obligated to remove the monument. There’s no need to destroy it. It can be moved to church property – where it should have been all along.
What if county officials refuse? That exact situation happened in Alabama in 2003. Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, defied a federal court order and refused to remove a two-ton Ten Commandments monument that he had erected in the judicial building.