State Rep. John Bennett today thanked Gov. Mary Fallin for signing a bill that will allow the display of the Ten Commandments alongside other historically significant founding documents on public property.
“House Bill 2177 doesn’t mandate the display of the commandments it only allows them to be shown alongside documents such as the U.S. or Oklahoma Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta or others in state buildings, public schools or on other public property,” said Bennett, R-Sallisaw.
“The Ten Commandments are of deep historical significance to our national culture and a basis for our nation’s civic and common laws. The display of the commandments is both legal and historical. They have been displayed in U.S. institutions since the very founding of our nation. They are now displayed in the National Archives and the U.S. Supreme Court as well as in many state capitols, courthouses and legislative buildings across the country. Further, Americans from coast to coast recognize the important contributions made to our society by the Ten Commandments. This is not advocating for religion but rather recognizing a significant historical contribution for our nation.”
Bennett said he’s not sure why opponents consider this so dangerous, pointing out that both Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, in 1776, both proposed featuring Moses prominently on the seal of the newly formed United States of America.
“Should we not teach our children in school that they should not kill, steal or lie? Should it be against the law to teach them to obey their father and mother?” Bennett asked. “The fact that some may not agree with all of the commandments does not mean they shouldn't be displayed, any more than the fact that not everyone agrees with all of the protections granted by the Bill of Rights, yet that does not prohibit its display.
“Aside from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, it is difficult to argue there is any single work that has had a greater or more far-reaching impact on centuries of American life, law and culture than the Ten Commandments,” Bennett said. “For this reason alone, the Ten Commandments merit display.
“I’m thankful this bill was signed in to law, and I’m thankful we can recognize the important historical significance the Ten Commandments have on our great nation and on the state of Oklahoma.”
Bennett thanked the original Senate author of the bill, Sen. Michael Bergstrom (R-Adair), as well as the current author, Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow). He also thanked the 37 co-authors in the House and 11 in the Senate. He also thanked historian David Barton for helping with historical research and documents provided to support the legislation.
John Bennett represents Oklahoma House District 2. He can be reached at (405) 557-7315 or John.Bennett@okhouse.gov
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