In the latest development in the contentious saga of Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments monument, multiple court orders have forced the state to remove the monument from Capitol grounds. Its new home is the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a think tank that has been one of the biggest advocates in the state for expanding vouchers to allow tax dollars to go to private schools and homeschooling parents. The new location of the monument is fitting, because attempts by Governor Fallin and the Legislature to bring the monument back to the Capitol could have a major side effect of opening the door to vouchers.
So what does a debate over a monument have to do with school vouchers? Court decisions ordering the removal of the monument were based on Article II, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution, which reads:
No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.