So it goes in Oklahoma these days . . .
Can Oklahoma’s anti-gay rights legislators get more petty and mean?
The Rev. Scott Jones, a gay pastor at Oklahoma City’s Cathedral of Hope, gave the opening prayer Wednesday in the House chamber. It was general prayer that spoke of a “Creator” and “Redeemer,” who fills “us with your Holy Spirit. “ There was not a controversial word in it.
(You can read the prayer here.)
But when it came time to make the prayer part of the House journal, a routine procedure, state Rep. John Wright, a Broken Arrow Republican, objected, and it was put to a vote. Showing what can obviously be described as mean-natured pettiness, 20 legislators, including notorious gay-basher state Rep. Sally Kern, an Oklahoma City Republican, voted against making the prayer a part of the official record. Overall, the vote was 64-20 to make the prayer a part of the journal, but the anti-gay message had been sent.
Before giving his prayer, Jones mentioned "my loving partner and fiance, Michael.” Jones’ church has “a ministry primarily to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people,” according to its Web site. Jones’ pre-prayer remarks are not a part of the official record, according to a news report.
Two days after giving the prayer, Jones and supporters held a press conference in which the legislators who voted against including the prayer in the record were asked to apologize.
Meanwhile, The Oklahoman actually covered the controversy as a news story and the blogosphere was filled with posts about the issue. As usual, Oklahoma’s image took another hit from radical politicos in this state. What else is new?
With the economy tanking here, the state legislature really can’t afford to paint the state as a backwards place of intolerance. This has an economic impact. How many groups do the right-wingers and hatemongers want to exclude from the state? Who’s next?
Campus Gun Bill Shot Down
It’s good news that a bill allowing guns on the state’s college campuses has been voted down by a Senate subcommittee, but the issue could still come up this legislative session.
State Sen. Randy Bass, a Lawton Democrat, proposed a measure that would allow law enforcement officials to carry concealed weapons on campuses, and it was unanimously defeated by the subcommittee. The action should make the issue dead for the next two years, according to legislative rules.
But state Rep. Jason Murphey, a Guthrie Republican, has another bill pending in the House, which could put even more guns on campuses.
As I wrote earlier, “Under proposed HB 1083, anyone who holds a concealed handgun permit and completes certification training given by the Council on Law Enforcement and Training (CLEET) would be allowed to carry concealed weapons at public colleges. The new bill appears to exempt faculty from the CLEET training requirement.”
What will happened to Murphey’s bill is anyone’s guess right now, but rest assured the legislator will continue try to get some sort of “Carry on Campus” measure passed this legislative session.
Will the Senate’s action make Murphey’s efforts futile? Does it mean the Senate will not approve any Murphey measure that conflicts with the bill that was defeated by the subcommittee? Let’s hope so.
These “Carry on Campus” measures, proposed across the country and supported by the National Rifle Association, simply create more potential for violence at universities and colleges. Gun advocate extremists are using the recent shooting tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois to push their agenda. Last year, virtually all of the state’s higher education officials opposed a similar measure and in all likelihood they still do.
The Oklahoma Rifle Association gave Murphey its 2008 Legislator of The Year award.
The Ten Commandments
The Oklahoma House General Government Committee has approved a plan by state Rep. Mike Ritze, A Broken Arrow Republican to put a Ten Commandments display at the State Capitol.
The full House will now vote on the measure. Ritze, an ordained Southern Baptist deacon, said his family would pay for the monument, which would be modeled after a Texas Ten Commandments monument.
According to a news report, Ritze said, “The Ten Commandments laid the foundation for modern law and their importance in the development of our legal system should be recognized."
That statement is simply is not true, according to legal experts.
According to The Legal Satyricon:
Lets go to the dishonesty first. Anyone who claims that the Ten Commandments are “where the state gets its laws” either hasn’t read the Ten Commandments or is lying. The commandments that prohibit murder, theft, and perjury may have parallels in American law, but three out of ten doesn’t get you there. Here is a good post debunking the myth that the Ten Commandments have anything at all to do with our laws.
The monument is a bad idea that only creates unnecessary religious conflict. Let’s hope legal groups and excluded religions step forward and challenge this obvious religious intrusion in government.