Oklahoma May Become a Theocracy

We learned about this from the Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education. That state is considering an amendment to its constitution, which is being called the State Question 790 — Oklahoma Public Money for Religious Purposes. According to that article at the BallotPedia website, it’s a constitutional amendment on the 08 November 2016 ballot. They say:

The measure, upon voter approval, would repeal Section 5 of Article 2 of the Oklahoma Constitution, which prohibits public money from being spent for religious purposes. Passage of the measure would allow the Ten Commandments monument to be returned to the Capitol.

This is the current provision of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma, which may be repealed:

Article II: BILL OF RIGHTS, Section 5: 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.

That looks like Blaine Amendment language that prohibits state funding of religious organizations. Such language is now found in 38 state constitutions. Florida has such a provision in its constitution and they considered repealing it a few years ago — see Florida’s Theocratic Constitutional Amendment, but it didn’t pass. Repealing such a constitutional provision would be pretty much the exact opposite of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

According to BallotPedia, the November ballot will have this proposal:

This measure repeals Section 5 of Article 2 of the Oklahoma Constitution. This section prohibits the use of public monies or property for sectarian or religious purposes.

SHALL THE PROPOSAL BE APPROVED?

They also say:

A simple majority vote was required in both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature in order to place the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. On March 7, 2016, the Oklahoma Senate passed SJR 72, with 39 senators voting in favor and five voting against. The House approved the measure on April 21, 2016, with 65 representatives in favor and seven against.

This looks bad. Very bad. We’ll keep an eye on it.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Oklahoma May Become a Theocracy

  1. And if it passes, who’s next, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Ohio, etc? Our nation will be in deep trouble as churches would just love to dig into the deep pockets of the evil government and every non-sectarian taxpayer.

  2. Unless Oklahoma is planning to secede from the Union, any attempt to amend the state’s constitution as proposed would run afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, (Article Six, paragraph 2), which binds the states to defer to the federal constitution where it conflicts with that of any state.

  3. Another reason republicans vote for this nonsense is because they’re supported by the right-wing evangelical fundamentalist folks who want the funds no strings attached and will elect anyone who gives them that money.

    Interesting page regarding the legislature has numerous links at the bottom showing where the Okie’s are really concerned. The AU site describes these satanic efforts as a response to fundamentalist intrusions into the public schools.

    https://ballotpedia.org/Oklahoma_Public_Money_for_Religious_Purposes,_State_Question_790_(2016)

  4. David Williams

    A while back, there was a 10 Commandments monument installed on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. There was a lawsuit. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled, citing the Oklahoma Constitution, ruled that the monument could no longer be on the Capitol grounds. The Republicans in Oklahoma, then initiated the above proposed amendment. They claimed that installing a religious monument on government property did not have a religious purpose. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/10/06/after-court-order-10-commandments-monument-is-removed-from-grounds-of-oklahoma-state-capitol/73445134/

  5. Who will decide which religions qualify for state money, and how much?

    Who decides what qualifies as a bona fide religion? There are a lot of Billy Bobs just itching to convert their garage to the HolyTabernacle of the Full Gospel Bible or somesuch to claim state loot.

    Wonder if the Okie legislators thought of that.

  6. retiredsciguy –

    “Oklahoma legislators”.

    “Thought”.

    Good one!

  7. Dave Luckett

    Advise me, oh those of legal mind. The State of Oklahoma issues its specifications and calls for tenders (or whatever it does) to build its religious monument. Blatantly obviously, this is in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. But does anyone have standing to bring suit in Federal court, claiming that their Constitutional rights have been infringed? Who would that be?

  8. And here I was half joking about the TSA (Theocratic States of America) only to find I’m a profit!

  9. If the current USA constitution offers no viable way of stopping them, you could perhaps wait and see if they pass this law and indeed spend money on that ten-commandments thing. Then you can demand state funding for a stone inscribed with the Shahada, a Buddha statue, a Satanic depiction of infant sacrifice, and a stainless steel spaghetti strainer. And if they refuse, you have them by their fundamentalist bollocks.

  10. Maybe they should honor their “Indian Territory” designation and limit the theocracy to the “Great Spirit”

  11. L.Long stated:

    I’m a profit!

    I think you meant “prophet”, but, in this context, your way works better.