How’s that law for religious displays working out for you, right-wing Christians of Oklahoma? Sure, you got to put up your giant 10 commandments monument in front of the State House. But this opened up the door for the Satanic Temple to ask for a memorial. Now, the Hindus are calling for their own religious statue to be placed on the state capitol grounds in Oklahoma City.
A Hindu group, the Universal Society of Hinduism, has added their voice to those wishing to place a sacred memorial on the Okla. state capitol grounds.
The Universal Society of Hinduism’s president Rajan Zed petitioned the state for “permission to place a statue of Lord Hanuman” on the public space. He goes on to say that: “This statue would raise awareness of Oklahomans about Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought,” Zed stated.
Lord Hanuman is a Hindu monkey god who represents valor, strength, and courage. Lord Hanuman is one of the most important deities for Hindus. To learn more about Lord Hanuman and the Hindus,visit here.
The Hindu’s request for a monument comes after the Satanic Temple made a similar one.
Last week, the Satanic Temple filed paperwork with the Okla. Capitol Preservation Commission to get their own religious memorial placed on the grounds of the statehouse. The statue would join the 10 Commandments monument that was built in 2012, after the GOP-led state legislature passed a law that allowed religious displays three years earlier. The Christian Right didn’t realize this would mean that non-Christian groups would also have the right to build religious monuments.
First, the Satanic Temple took a crack at it. As my AI colleague Nathaniel Downes aptly put it,
“So, what is it going to be GOP? A memorial to 666 himself, courtesy of the Satanic Temple and its members in Okla., or a return to the tenets of this nation, with a wall of separation between Church and State. Because once you open up the gates, and let the flood of religion into the public commons, you can no longer control whose messages go out to the public.”
The Okla. GOP, of course, went nuts when they heard the news. They came out against the Satanic Temple’s proposal, and revealed themselves as the hypocrites they are. But now, the Hindu group has also come forward to propose a monument, and it appears that the state of Okla. must allow it.
Both the state and federal constitutions guarantee religious freedom for all, even for Hindus and Satanists.
It really is funny to watch Okla.’s GOP struggling to deal with the unplanned results of violating our long-standing separation of church and state. For nearly 250 years, this country has operated on the tenet that government and religion should remain apart from each other. That was the whole point of religious freedom in the first place: To ensure that all of us — including Hindus, Satanists, and atheists — can worship freely.
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Freedom of worship for Hindus, Christians, and all other religions is also backed up by the First Amendment.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of.”
That’s the US Constitution. The Okla. Constitution is pretty much the same, when it comes to church and state being separate. And it clearly gives Hindus the same rights as Christians.
“Perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitant of the State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; and no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.”
In other words, if Christians get a monument on the statehouse grounds, every single religious or non-religious group should get one as well. That’s the ONLY way to ensure “perfect toleration of religious sentiment.” The Okla. GOP claims that their state is “faith-based,” which is code for “Christian faith-based.” But the state’s own constitution says that cannot be. It protects the beliefs of all groups, even non-believers, and forbids the state government to favor one belief over another. So not only should Hindus be granted their Lord Hanuman statue, the Satanic Temple should get their monument as well. Barring the Hindu monkey god sculpture and the Satanist monument from joining the 10 Commandments display only reveals the staunch hypocrisy of the GOP. Do they really love freedom? Or do they only love it when it applies only to Christians? Because the latter is not religious freedom. It’s religious tyranny. Of course, the Okla. Republicans only have themselves to blame. They could have kept religion out of government, but they didn’t. And now they’ll either have to accept a memorial to Satan and a giant statue of Hanuma to appear next to the Ten Commandments, or be sued in court for violating the very religious freedom they pushed for.