- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Oklahoma man said Satan told him to drive his car into a Ten Commandments monument and urinate on it.

Michael Tate Reed Jr., was placed in a mental health facility for evaluation last week, after he was taken into custody in a federal building in Oklahoma City for making threats toward the government, according to KWTV in Oklahoma City.

Mr. Reed, 29, told U.S. Secret Service officers that he was bipolar and was not on his medication, the news station reported.

“He claimed he got out of his car, urinated on the monument, and then ran over it and destroyed it,” said Secret Service agent David Allison in Oklahoma City, according to CBS News. “He said Satan told him to do it, and that he was a Satanist.”

Images from the scene show the 6-foot monument lying on the ground in several uneven pieces outside the State Capitol.

According to reports the monument has been the subject of a church-state separation battle.


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Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said in a statement that the monument would be rebuilt.

AT LONG LAST

For the first time in more than a half-century, Cuba has allowed the building of a new Catholic church.

The church will be built in the town of Sandino, and is being funded by Catholics living in Florida, The Associated Press reported.

The Communist government and Catholic church have taken steps in the past 55 years to improve their relationship.

Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI visited Cuba, the government has recognized the Christmas holiday, and Masses can now be broadcast on government stations.

“The construction of a church is a clear demonstration of a new phase, of an improvement, in relations between the church and the state,” Enrique Lopez Oliva, a professor the history of religions at the University of Havana, told the AP.

RING MY BELL

A group of Texans are encouraging churches of any and all denominations to ring their bells — if they have them — on Election Day.

Tessie Naurer of Spring Branch, Texas, said the goal of “Bells Across America” is to be “just a reminder for people to vote.”

“You hear so much about freedom from religions, we wanted to do something for, not against,” Ms. Naurer said. “Church bells can speak.”

The group has been calling every church in the local phone book, but the hope is to have church bells ringing across the country, Ms. Naurer said.

“Do it spontaneously, throughout the day, any time they feel like it,” Ms. Naurer said. “It’s just a call to voters, for freedom. We’ll know if we’re a success if freedom from religion groups file a noise ordinance.”

HARAM OR TREAT

The National Fatwa Council in Malaysia this week declared Halloween “clearly contrary to the values of sharia” and urged Muslims to avoid the Westernized holiday.

The Malay Mail Online reported that the council determined Halloween was a “Christian celebration,” and that Muslims could honor those who have passed on by saying prayers.

“Halloween is celebrated using a humorous theme mixed with horror to entertain and resist the spirit of death that influences humans,” the fatwa stated, according to the Mail. “It cannot be celebrated by Muslims. To remember those who have passed away, Islam suggests the practices of reciting doa [prayers] and Quran.”

Halloween isn’t the only autumn celebration to be targeted by a fatwa. The Mail reported that Oktoberfest has also been declared “insensitive” to Muslim teaching.

Meredith Somers covers religion for The Washington Times.

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