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Religious/moral laws; separation of church & state

2009: Oklahoma  proclamation
on morals, debauchery, etc.

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Background:

Oklahoma State Representative, Sally Kern, (R-OKC; District 84) encouraged lawmakers, religious leaders, and Oklahoma residents to gather on 2009-JUL-02 and sign her Proclamation for Morality .

At the signing, she emphasized that both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature were not in session, and thus this Proclamation is merely an affirmation by the people signing it. It has no legal or binding status.

Text of: "Oklahoma Citizens' Proclamation for morality"

We the People of Oklahoma, Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of Liberty; to secure just and rightful Government; to promote our mutual Welfare and Happiness, do establish this proclamation and call upon the people of the great State of Oklahoma, and our fellow Patriots in these United States of America who look to the Lord for guidance, to acknowledge the need for a national awakening of righteousness
in our land.

WHEREAS, "It is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand" (John Adams); and

WHEREAS, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by Religion and Morality" (John Adams); and

WHEREAS, "Our Constitution was made only for a Moral and Religious people" (John Adams); and

WHEREAS, "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government...but upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God" (James Madison); and

WHEREAS, "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God (Benjamin Franklin); and WHEREAS, "God who gave us life gave us liberty and can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God" (Thomas Jefferson); and

WHEREAS, "Whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of Religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state" (Joseph Story); and

WHEREAS, "We hold sacred the rights of conscience, and promise to the people...the free and undisturbed exercise of their religion" (Roger Sherman); and

WHEREAS, "This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians"
(Patrick Henry); and

WHEREAS, "When you...exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed upon your mind that God commands you to choose just men who will rule in the fear of God" (Noah Webster); and

WHEREAS, "The principles of genuine Liberty and of wise laws and administrations are to be drawn from the Bible" (Noah Webster); and

WHEREAS, the people of Oklahoma have a strong tradition of reliance upon the Creator of the Universe; and

WHEREAS, we believe our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis; and

WHEREAS, this nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery; and

WHEREAS, alarmed that the Government of the United States of America is forsaking the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built; and

WHEREAS, grieved that the Office of the president of these United States has refused to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of Prayer; and

WHEREAS, deeply disturbed that the Office of the president of these United States disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month to an immoral behavior;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we the undersigned elected officials of the people of Oklahoma, religious leaders and citizens of the State of Oklahoma, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, solemnly declare that the HOPE of the great State of Oklahoma and of these United States, rests upon the Principles of Religion and Morality as put forth in the HOLY BIBLE; and

BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, believers in the One True God and His only Son, call upon all to join with us in recognizing that "Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord," and humbly implore all who love Truth and Virtue to live above reproach in the sight of God and man with a firm reliance on the leadership and protection of Almighty God; and

BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, humbly call upon Holy God, our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, to have mercy on this nation, to stay His hand of judgment, and grant a national awakening of righteousness and Christian renewal as we repent of our great sin.

Signed on the second day of July in the year of our Lord Christ Two Thousand and Nine. 4

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Reactions to the Proclamation:

bulletRep. Todd Thomsen, (R-Ada.), said:

"I am supportive of the intent of it which is to call our state to a focus of faith. Really, if you read the proclamation, itself, most of its content are the direct quotes of our founding fathers. ... A lot of the action that needs to take place is in the hearts of men and women throughout our country. Hopefully getting everybody to remember that we were a country founded on faith and Christian principles. There were standards that were set that weren't man-made standards but they were God-made standards and those things served us extremely well in the founding of our country. They have served us well so often and yet those principles seem to come under attack." 1

bulletC.S. Thornton, deputy director of Oklahoma ACLU had a number of criticisms of the proclamation:
bulletThe level of scapegoating in the proclamation hasn't been heard since pre-World War II Nazi Germany.
bulletIt implies that only believers in the Christian God and Jesus are capable of loving truth and virtue.
bulletThe proclamation does not call for people to draw together. Rather, this is a very divisive document.
bulletMany of the quotes that she includes are false.
bulletPersons outside of the Christian faith are unfit for office.
bulletWe need to promote cooperation and unity among people, not division.
bulletWe don't need a bunch of "unwelcome mats." 2

Our analysis on the proclamation:

We usually only report the comments of others in our essays. However, this proclamation attack non-Christians so strongly that we made an exception in this case.

In his new book: "The Seven Faith Tribes," George Barna identifies seven religious groups in the U.S. In order of percentage of the adult population, they are:

bullet66% Casual Christians
bullet16% Captive Christians
bullet11% Skeptics, presumably including Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists, etc.
bullet2% Jews
bullet2% Mormons
bullet2% Pantheists
bullet0.5% Muslims

Barna does not consider Mormons to be Christians, and so records them as following a separate religion.

"Captive Christians" describe a group of strongly committed Christians, who appear to be largely from the Evangelical and Roman Catholic wings of Christianity. Many of them would regard their own belief system as the only fully true and valid religion. They might well find the proclamation acceptable. However, many persons in the remaining groups will probably be distressed at some of the ideas expressed in the proclamation.

Some concerns:

bulletThe proclamation calls "... upon the people of the great State of Oklahoma, and our fellow Patriots in these United States of America who look to the Lord for guidance ..." Some may interpret this phrase as implying that the only people in the U.S. who can be true patriots are those who share a belief in the Trinity. The phrase recalls the statement by George H.W. Bush in 1987: "No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."  8

bulletMany skeptics and others will suggest that Patrick Henry's quotation "This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians" to be in serious error. Many -- perhaps most -- of the founders were Deists, not Christians.
 
bulletMany non-theists will object to the implication that: "... the people of Oklahoma have a strong tradition of reliance upon the Creator of the Universe."
 
bulletHomosexuals, bisexuals, many persons committed to human rights, religious liberals and others would be displeased with the proclamation's statement that promotion of same sex marriage is a form of debauchery. To many, it is an appropriate option to recognize the relationship of loving, committed same-sex couples.
 
bulletThe reference to the "... rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built" ignores the contributions of Native Americans, Jews, Chinese, other non-Christians, and persons with no religious affiliation.
 
bulletThe reference to President Obama refusing "to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of Prayer" is an error. He issued a proclamation proclaiming the 2009 National Day of Prayer on 2009-MAY-07. 6
 
bulletThe reference to President Obama "...  proclaiming an entire month to an immoral behavior" apparently refers to his proclaiming June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2009. It recognizes the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot that triggered the drive for equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and identities. While human sexual behavior can be exercised in many immoral ways -- particularly if it is not both consensual and safe -- Pride Month celebrates the accomplishments of millions of Americans of minority sexual orientations and identities, not what they do sexually. Many persons believe that all sexual orientations and sexual identities are morally neutral, and are normal and natural for a minority of adults. 7
 
bulletReferring to the Christian Trinity as the: "Supreme Judge of the world" is deeply offensive to many non-Christians and non-theists.
 
bulletMany skeptics and others would object to the suggestion that the hope of Americans "rests upon the Principles of Religion and Morality as put forth in the HOLY BIBLE." Some doubt biblical morality after considering the Bible passages that promote or condone human slavery, beating of children, execution of sorcererr God."s, burning some hookers alive, torturing prisoners of war, executing some people engaging in same-sex behavior, and other immoral practices.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Justin Lofton, "Oklahoma Citizens? Proclamation for Morality to be signed," ADA Evening News, CO, 2009-JUL-02, at:  http://www.adaeveningnews.com/
  2. "Video of Press Conference by Sally Kern on Oklahoma Citizens? Proclamation for Morality," Fort Hard Knox, 2009-JUL-02, at: http://feeds.newsok.tv/
  3. Jonathan Turley, "Oklahoma Legislature to Consider Proclamation Linking the Economic Crisis to Obama?s Immoral Policies," 2009-JUN-30, at: http://jonathanturley.org/
  4. Sally Kern, "Oklahoma Citizen's [sic] Proclamation for morality," Text, World Now, 2009-JUL-02, at: http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/ This is a PDF file.
  5. George Barna, "The Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter," BarnaBooks, (2009). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  6. Barak Obama, "National Day of Prayer," The White House, 2009-MAY-07, at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
  7. Barak Obama, "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month," The White House, 2009-JUN-01, at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
  8. "George Bush: Citizen's quote," at: http://bennyhills.fortunecity.com/

Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2009-JUL-10
Latest update: 2009-JUL-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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