Reno. Nev. (May 30, 2016) — In the event the Oklahoma voters repealed a section of the Oklahoma Constitution in November ballot, which currently prohibits state assets from being used for religious purposes, Hindu leaders say they will re-pursue an initiative to install a Lord Hanuman statue in Oklahoma Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City.
A joint Oklahoma Senate-House resolution in the second Session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature, which adjourned May 27, directed the Oklahoma secretary of state’s office to refer to the people to approve or reject a repeal of Section 5 of Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits the use of public monies or property for sectarian or religious purposes, reports suggest.
Section 5 (Public money or property – Use for sectarian purposes) of Article II (Bill of Rights) of Oklahoma Constitution, states: 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.
Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduismin based in Reno, Nevada, said in a statement that if and when the Oklahoma State Capitol became open to different monuments and space was available in the statehouse grounds, Hindus would request placing a statue of Lord Hanuman, which might become the first Hindu religious monument on public land in the United States.
Zed had written to the Oklahoma State Capitol Preservation Commission officials in the past showing interest in erecting the Lord Hanuman statue. The preservation commission was created in 1982 to plan and supervise the preservation and restoration of the interior and exterior of the Oklahoma State Capitol building, and controls the display of objects in public areas of the State Capitol building.
Zed said that besides honoring the Hindus living in Oklahoma, a Lord Hanuman statue would raise awareness of Oklahomans about Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought. There was support for the statues among Christian, Buddhist and Jewish leaders, he said.
Lord Hanuman is greatly revered and worshipped in Hinduism and is known for incredible strength and was a perfect grammarian. There are about three million Hindus in United States.
Mary Fallin is the Governor of Oklahoma, also known as Sooner State, which Lonely Planet described as “a place with deep Native American significance.” Over 25 Native American languages are reportedly spoken in Oklahoma.