McAlester man denied religious statue on state property

McALESTER -- A McAlester man is making headlines after he was denied by the county to place a Ten Commandments monument on government property. 

Hard work pays off. It's a motto that Tim Mitchell lives by.

“That’s kind of what I want to put at the courthouse," he said.

One of his many projects, is fixing the door at a local church.

"This is southeast Oklahoma," he said. "This is the Bible Belt.”

Mitchell is working to improve a place of worship and spread the word of God.

“It’s not easy to come out and say you’re a Christian because people will tease you," Mitchell said. "He just came out like someone was talking to me. I was on a job site by myself and just like me and you are talking now and it was just like this is what needs to be done and this is how you’re going to do it.”

Monday, the contractor asked county commissioners if he could place a Ten Commandments monument at the courthouse.

“My vision was on the steps when you walk up to the courthouse you can read them right then.”

His dream was put on hold.

"You can’t use any state property to promote any kind of religion or systematic religion as is the case here," District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan said.

Mitchell isn’t letting the roadblocks stop him. He plans to buy property from the county.

“Just enough to put that monument up there," he said. "Whatever they’re willing to give up.”

"If it’s privately owned, then it’s only subject to any kind of restrictions or whatever for the zones," Sullivan said.

As Tim Mitchell works, he will continue to push for something he believes in.

“People don’t like controversy," he said. "People like to step back.”

Mitchell is working to purchase property from the county and hopes to have the monument somewhere around McAlester.

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