The Secret Service have arrested a man for allegedly crashing his car into the Ten Commandments monument located at the Oklahoma State Capitol building. Police found a car crashed into the monument and abandoned early Thursday evening, later arresting a suspect after he entered the Oklahoma Federal Court Building and began making, “vague threats.” From KOCO:
The suspect has been identified as Michael Tate Reed Jr., 29. He is from Roland and was taken to Oklahoma County mental facility for an emergency order of detention and a mental evaluation.
The suspect said Satan told him to do it, Secret Service officials said. He also reportedly said he would kill President Obama and spit on a photo of Obama. The suspect also allegedly admitted that he urinated on the Ten Commandments monument before running it over.
The suspect’s family gave KOCO 5 a phone interview, claiming Reed to be a family man with health concerns stemming from a work injury four years ago. Governor Mary Fallin condemned the act against the monument, calling it “appalling” and vowing to hold the suspect responsible.
The vandalism itself is enough to grab headlines, but this carries some extra weight with it. Not only does this affect a possible ACLU battle that’s been ongoing since August 2013, but it might put an end to The Satanic Temple’s plans to erect their statue of Baphomet on the site. From VICE:
The Baphomet was meant to serve as a counterweight to the Commandments and a symbol of religious tolerance. Were it installed today, it would just be a ridiculously wicked statue standing all on its own, and that’s not what Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucian Greaves wants.
In a statement issued a couple of hours ago, Greaves said, “The Satanic Temple will not seek to erect its monument unless the 10 Commandments is restored. Oklahoma City has the option to wait until the ACLU’s case regarding the legal status of the 10 Commandments is resolved before it permits its replacement. However, if the 10 Commandments is immediately reconstructed, our monument will be ready for unveiling quite soon.”
The ACLU also released a statement, condemning the act and noting the impact on their legal crusade. From KOKH:
“The ACLU of Oklahoma and our clients are outraged at this apparent act of vandalism. While we have and continue to seek the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Capitol grounds through the judicial process, the Ten Commandments constitute a strong foundation in our clients’ deeply held religious beliefs. To see the Ten Commandments desecrated by vandals is highly offensive to them as people of faith. Our Oklahoma and Federal Constitutions seek to create a society in which people of all faiths and those of no faith at all can coexist as equals without fear of repressions from the government or their neighbors. Whether it is politicians using religion as a political tool or vandals desecrating religious symbols, neither are living up to the full promise of our founding documents.”
Governor Fallin is committed to rebuilding the monument using private funds, so it would seem that everything is on hold until that point. If they don’t make a return, we may have seen the last of Baphomet on a national stage.