Religious freedom is under assault

Religious liberty  and Christianity specifically is under assault in America and Oklahoma is not immune to growing restrictions on public displays of faith.

Under the cover of darkness with the tacit approval of Gov. Mary Fallin, armed Oklahoma Highway Patrolmen stood guard as workers removed the Ten Commandments Monument from the grounds of the State Capitol this month.

Fallin, who has verbally supported the display and who delayed its removal, sought political cover by urging lawmakers to find a political solution to the removal of the historic monument.

NEWS ANALYSIS

The monument, legally placed there by a vote of the Legislature with a bill signed by former Gov. Brad Henry, was ordered removed by the liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court. The justices ignored a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed placement of a Ten Commandments Monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol.

The monument was taken to the property of the nearby Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) ten blocks south of the Capitol.

“My thanks go out to OCPA for providing a temporary home for the Ten Commandments Monument that is easily accessible to those visiting the State Capitol,” said Fallin. “Moving forward, I believe the people of Oklahoma should have the opportunity to vote on a proposed Constitutional change to ensure that historical monuments like this one are not pushed out of public spaces. I strongly encourage lawmakers to take up this issue in the next legislative session.”

Fallin ignored the legal options and moral obligation and caved into political expediency. State Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow,  said he would work to repeal the Blaine Amendment in the State Constitution and get the monument moved back to the Capitol.

OCPA President Michael Carnuccio said his organization disagrees with the court’s ruling and that the monument can be legally and constitutionally displayed at the state capitol.

“The state Supreme Court cited the Blaine Amendment in its ruling, a provision originally designed to suppress Catholic education while allowing state funding of protestant-oriented schools,” said Carnuccio. “The state needs to repeal the Blaine Amendment, and we will work towards that goal.”

The liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court, with eight of nine justices appointed by liberal Democrat governors, in previous years threw out an initiative petition to bring a vote on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights because they claimed some who collected signatures violated a statute. Those same liberal justices killed a petition drive that was already underway concerning granting personhood status to unborn babies. That prevented the issue from going to a vote of the people of Oklahoma, who overwhelmingly oppose abortion.

The liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court gave tacit approval to the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act in the Oklahoma Constitution by a lone federal judge. DOMA, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, was approved by more than 76 percent of the voters when it was added to the state constitution.

The justices essentially endorsed homosexuality despite its condemnation by Biblical Christianity.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, apart from some state legislators, is one of the few defending religious liberty.

Pruitt has objected to a new unconstitutional policy by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) that prohibits public schools from allowing a public prayer before football playoff games.

Pruitt sent a nine-page opinion blasting the policy and OSSAA officials responded by saying the policy stands until its attorneys review decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and the liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court.

They cited the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lee v. Wiesman, which they claim prohibits public prayer on a public speaker system during football games.

Pruitt responded by writing, “The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a public school district or a publicly funded association may permit a student-speaker chosen through neutral criteria unrelated to the content of the student-speaker’s speech to deliver opening remarks the outcome of which are chosen by the student-speaker without official government involvement.”

In other words, Christian students should be allowed to pray before a high school football playoff game. And since those prayers are covered under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, they can invoke the name of Jesus Christ in those prayers.