OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A new poll indicates most Oklahomans support placing a monument displaying the Ten Commandments in the state Supreme Court building.
A federal judge has ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building. But 73 percent of Oklahomans surveyed said they would support placing a similar monument in the Supreme Court building. Only 21 percent said they would oppose it.
The statewide opinion poll was conducted Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 by Wilson Research Strategies, a McLean, Va.-based research group with offices in Oklahoma City.
Chris Wilson, chief executive of the research group, said he asked the question because of the public outcry over removal of the monument in Montgomery, Ala. Wilson said he was not surprised by the results.
In a national poll conducted in late August, 77 percent of the individuals who were surveyed said they disapproved of the federal court decision ordering the removal of the Alabama monument, he said.
``I think it shows sort of an understanding in the state of Oklahoma that this isn't necessarily an issue of separation of church and state. It's an issue of free speech,'' Wilson said.
``When I was in high school, I remember Ronald Reagan had a comment that in all of world history there's been almost 2 billion laws written and when it gets down to it, they haven't really improved on the Ten Commandments that much,'' he said. ``I think people of Oklahoma are saying the Ten Commandments probably belong in the courtroom.''
Joseph M. Watt, chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, did not return a telephone call seeking comment Friday.
Oklahoma's Supreme Court is currently housed in the state Capitol. But an $11 million Judicial Center is under construction near the Capitol to house the Supreme Court in the former Oklahoma Historical Society building.
The poll was based on a survey of about 300 Oklahoma adults and would have a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.