Oklahoma capitol: A better America visits the angry, bitter, intolerant new America

Oklahoma capitol: A better America visits the angry, bitter, intolerant new America

They say home is the place you can never be lost.  But there are days I wonder if even home — Oklahoma — will eventually change so much that its landscape will no longer be recognizable.

Well, not if I have anything to do with it.

The pictures of this seemingly minor event from last week speak far louder than words, for those with eyes to see.  The heartening thing is not so much the reminder of a nobler people, in a better time, as the way Americans from every part of the country will recognize the heart in this trip: the passage undertaken by a small crew of cowboys from neighboring Texas, who rode from Wichita Falls to deliver a scale replica of the Ten Commandments monument that was recently removed from the grounds of the state capitol in Oklahoma City.

You can be from Vermont, Ohio, Florida — New York, Indiana, Hawaii, Delaware, New Jersey.  You don’t have to be from Oklahoma or Texas.  You don’t have to be from a “cowboy” state or a “farm” state out West to get it.  If you’re American, and perhaps of a certain age, or at least a certain background, you understand.

That background could be a lot of things.  It’s not about race or creed, color or class.  It’s not about profession — although it is about community.  You can see yourself, and the trappings of your way of life, fitting into these pictures.  Maybe you’d come some other way than on horseback.  Maybe you’d wear a different hat.  But you could be here, assembled at a state capitol, reminding your political leaders of what the foundation of our nation is: why we believe in freedom and opportunity for all, and what freedom really means.

The group of Texans was led by Pastor John Riggs of the Texoma Cowboy Church.  Christian News quotes him:

“We’re riding for the law of God today,” John Riggs, pastor of the Texoma Cowboy Church in Wichita Falls, told those gathered. “We fully believe that this country was founded upon the principles of God’s word. It breaks our hearts to see where this country is headed and to see the removal of the law of God from our land, from our buildings.”

The Christian News story adds a reminder that Oklahoma has been on the right side of federal law all along.  The decision to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the capitol was made by the Capitol Preservation Commission, after a ruling by the state supreme court based on state law.  (The ACLU filed a lawsuit to challenge the presence of the monument.)  Governor Mary Fallin favors a return of the monument to its original location.

Fallin opposed the removal of the Decalogue display while the matter was under appeal.

“The Ten Commandments monument was built to recognize and honor the historical significance of the Commandments in our state’s and nation’s systems of laws,” she wrote in a statement.

“The monument was built and maintained with private dollars. It is virtually identical to a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol which the United States Supreme Court ruled to be permissible,” Fallin continued. “It is a privately funded tribute to historical events, not a taxpayer funded endorsement of any religion, as some have alleged.”

Many thanks to the Texans who made this trip.  Hope the home folks treated you well.

Government in the United States has become a sledgehammer to be wielded by special interests against the majority.  It functions mainly as a tool for dividing and depressing us now.  But the people are still out there.  Whether they assemble as cowboys or coal-miners, there’s still an American heart that beats in them, much as it once did.  Don’t bet against it.  Bitter intolerance breeds lies and fear, but the harvest of faith and true tolerance is courage, hope, and peace.

Members of the Texoma Cowboy Church pray at the OK State Capitol before delivering to Gov. Mary Fallin a replica of the Ten Commandments monument was was removed from the capitol in early October. (Image: News9OK)
Members of the Texoma Cowboy Church pray at the OK State Capitol before delivering to Gov. Mary Fallin a replica of the Ten Commandments monument that was removed from the capitol in early October. (Image: News9OK)
J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.

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