A brave and noble Rep. Ryan Kiesel from Seminole, Oklahoma was a part of a counter-protest of the KernKlan that rallied at the capitol in attempts to show opposition.
"Following today’s political spectacle and a month removed from the lunacy that was this past legislative session, I feel confident in saying if there were to be an 11th Commandment, it would say "thou shalt not use these commandments to get re-elected."
The inaccuracies in this proclamation are astounding. For starters, I distinctly remember President Obama observing the national day of prayer. I suppose he is to be admonished for not turning it into a photo opportunity like his predecessor.
Of the many causes for the global economic crisis (which President Obama inherited), such as complex financial instruments, a vacuum of regulation, and good old fashion greed, it’s embarrassing for a state leader to point the blame at debauchery in bedrooms instead of debauchery in boardrooms.
Given Oklahoma’s high divorce rate, that statistic alone means we are a state of debauchees. Further, according to that logic all those folks who were ripped off by Bernie Madoff should focus their anger at the Governor of South Carolina.
I’m also astonished at the intellectually dishonest portrayal of our nations founding.
Any true conversation regarding the faith of our founding fathers is far more complicated than the version told today.
Our founders certainly wrestled with matters of faith but I doubt any of them would have met the standards attributed to them today.
Of our first five presidents, four were Deist, and the other rejected the concept of a holy trinity. Our third president even took to his bible with a blade and carved out the passages that were at odds with his beliefs. If you ever visit Monticello, you can buy a copy of the Jeffersonian Bible in the gift shop.
To find even a hint of the church-state relationship suggested by Rep. Kern, you have to go back over a century in time before the founding to see an example of the entanglement of faith and government Rep. Kern is attributing to our founders. The first colonial Americans, many seeking religious freedom from the Church of England, did indeed allow for their leaders to mix the law of the state and the church. It was a time when men and women such as Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson were banished from their colonies for daring to promote religious tolerance.
On the historical heels of colonial America, our founders knew far better than we do today of the division that results when the government takes sides in matters of individual conscience. They knew the flower of faith thrives in the soil of liberty.
It’s no accident that the United States boast high church attendance and a great percentage of our citizens believe in God. It is not because we have to, or we are forced to, and it certainly isn’t because Sally Kern says so; it’s because in the United States of America, we can.
In a couple of days we will celebrate our nation’s independence. It is especially troubling that a few zealots would use this day of unity to play the very divisive game of allowing the government to ordain from on high what is and is not good and holy. This is the very division our founders saw as a threat to the future of the then-fledgling democracy.
Today I am proud to stand with these many individuals and organizations and with our Founders in saying we reject this divisive political stunt and instead celebrate the miracle of the human mind and its ability to believe in a manner each sees fit, the ability to love whom one wants, and the ability to elect a government who will not concern itself with who you love or where you go to church; rather focusing itself on building a strong economy, a world class education for our next generation of leaders and a health care system for all Oklahomans.
Let me close with a question. It begins with a story I once heard told by a Christian pastor in Tulsa. There is a fourth generation Tibetan Monk. Every morning he milks the goats, takes them to another pasture, works in the garden, says some prayers, burns some incense, never married, doesn’t kill, cuss, fight. He never heard the Christian Gospel in his remote isolated corner of the world and has never accepted Jesus as his savior. One day as he is taking the goats from one pasture to another he slips and falls off a cliff and dies. Is Jesus there to receive that man?
That question is for you to answer. I know the premise of this question causes debate among Christians of the same denomination, among Christians of different denominations, and the fate of this man will spark debate among the faithful of all faiths and even non-believers.
Regardless of how we answer that question, we should all be grateful and protective of our nation and our Constitution that allows that answer to be a matter of individual conscience.
This is the genius of America and the spirit of Oklahoma. A state with a rich history of diversity defeating segregation, tolerance triumphing over hatred. Where being an Oklahoman has nothing to do with your faith, your race, or your sexual preference and where being a good Oklahoman means answering your neighbors call for help and having the determination to persevere through the greatest of challenges."
To thank Rep. Kiesel for his true patrotism please email him at the capitol: kiesel (at) okhouse.gov or follow him on Twitter.