First came the Christians, then the Satanists. And now come the Hindus — the latest group to fight for First Amendment freedoms and demand equal display access at Oklahoma's Capitol. And the ensuing political frenzy is leaving some atheists laughing, calling the quandary "beautiful."
The issue started when state Rep. Mike Ritze donated $10,000 and raised a matching $10,000 in private funds to put up a 7-foot-tall monument of the Ten Commandments in November on the Capitol grounds, Raw Story reported. The American Civil Liberties Union sued to have the monument taken down, while members of a Satanist group, with headquarters in New York, petitioned for their own display, right next to the Judeo-Christian monument.
The proposal from the Satanists outraged some lawmakers, with one saying that "this is a faith-based nation and a faith-based state," Raw Story reported.
So now a Hindu group joined the fray, saying it wanted to erect its own display to further education about the world's fourth-most-popular faith.
"If the Oklahoma State Capitol was open to different monuments, we would love to have a statue of Lord Hanuman, who was greatly revered and worshipped and known for incredibly strength and was [a] perfect grammarian," said Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, in Raw Story.
The group is planning to send a petition to the Oklahoma State Capitol Preservation Commission to ask permission to locate a statue of the man on the same grounds as the Ten Commandments monument. The Hindu group said only that the statue would be "big and weatherproof," Raw Story reported.
Meanwhile, atheists are watching with a degree of glee.
Raw Story reported that Hemant Mehta, who blogs for the Friendly Atheist, said the state commission is in quite a dilemma: "If the commission votes yes on the proposal, conservatives will flip out. If they vote no, they're just inviting a lawsuit. This is beautiful."
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