A man has been taken in for mental evaluation after allegedly vandalizing the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol.As much as I am against the placement of the Ten Commandments on public property (any public property), a private citizen taking it upon him or herself to demolish the monument is quite simply the absolutely wrong way to go. A very bad idea. The legal process must be respected and it must be allowed to play itself out to its inevitable end: the removal of all religious monuments from all public properties.
U.S. Secret Service Agents say it all started after a man walked into the Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City Friday morning making strange threats against the President and Federal Government.
Agents say he then admitted to them that he crashed his car into the Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol, then left his damaged car and walked to the Federal Building.
The Secret Service says the man told them that Satan made him crash his car into the statue.
He also told agents that Satan told him to urinate on the statue.
Turns out the urinating Decalogue deconstructionist has some larger issues:
According to investigators, the man says he is bipolar and had been off his medication for quite some time.But this incident does raise some interesting theological questions. Setting aside all of the details regarding the accused's bipolar state and so on, what if he was a Satan worshiper and held the sincere religious belief that he was working under Satan's instructions? That demolishing the monument was simply, for him, an act of faith? On the flipside, what if there were a Satanic monument somewhere and someone else, acting under a similar set of divine instructions, were to destroy that one, would they get away with it?
I mean, if we indeed live in a post-Hobby Lobby America, where corporations can "refuse to obey laws they don't like" as long as it's based on a conflict with it's "sincerely held religious belief", why couldn't an individual do the same? If demolishing a Ten Commandments monument was an act of sincere faith (and I am not saying that it was in Oklahoma, we're still talking hypotheticals here), wouldn't any law pre-emptively banning such an act be a violation of the First Amendment?
Back to reality. If the guy who ran over the monument is bipolar, it's absolutely necessary for him to get all the help he needs to get as healthy as possible.
And demolishing the monument is still a very wrong act, regardless of its inevitable unconstitutionality.