Oklahoma House of Representatives Turns Into a House of Worship

At the start of the Oklahoma state legislature’s sessions, they invite a pastor to speak before the elected officials. It’s a part of the official business.

On March 1st (PDF), Rep. George Faught invited Pastor Bill Ledbetter of Fairview Baptist Church to speak to the House of Representatives.

And… well… you should just watch this:

I watched the whole damn thing. And here are the soundbytes I took away from it:

… this great nation was underpinned and rooted and founded in the person of Christ and his Word, the Bible, and our forefathers never intended that we would have one church or anything like that; they intended on the principles of Christianity and the Bible to give all people freedom to pursue God as they saw fit. (1:58)

… our laws and our civilization and our institution are emphatically Christian. (3:01)

[Thomas Jefferson] never intended for the Separation Clause… to mean to keep the church out of the state’s business. He intended to keep the state out of the church’s business! (4:02)

… if you throw God out, you have to come up with some idea that you’re gonna teach your kids about where they came from! And you have to teach that in school! And now, all across our nation, kids are taught that they are advanced mutations of a baboon! They are taught that they came from a monkey! Let me tell you something: Evolution is not science. And I know that’s not politically correct, but what it is, is an indoctrination to teach a godless worldview… (5:00)

A reprobate mind says this: that it’s ok for a man to marry a man, a woman to marry a woman. Folks, that’s not enlightenment! That’s spiritual darkness! And if we think that we’re going to make same-sex marriage a civil right and God’s gonna [be pleased] about that and say, ‘Well, God Bless America,’ I would invite us to think again. He’s never done it and I don’t believe he ever will. (9:39)

We need to overturn the shedding of innocent blood of this land. Fifty million babies. You know where they all are? All those babies on the crystal sea before God. I can see them out there on the sea. “Cootchie Coo!” And look at God the Father, “Ahh!” If you shed innocent blood as we have for fifty years, there’s no nation ever survived that… (10:30)

We must have people in office, or put people in office, who will make law that corresponds with the word of God and the will of God. Not political correctness, not tolerance. It always brews intolerance. That’s the good news. (11:31)

Scott Cooper points out the scariest part of this whole sermon:

he received a standing ovation and handshakes from several members of the House of Representatives. And the whole time… the Speaker of the House, Kris Steele, sat behind the pastor saying nothing except an occasional hallelujah.

So that’s what “separation of church and state” is like in America. And people wonder why atheists are angry.

Hey, Freedom From Religion Foundation, I think the Oklahoma legislature just handed you a victorious lawsuit on a silver platter.

(Thanks to @BeardedSkeptic for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Anonymous

    snakes or gtfo

  • alt+3

    I’m sure they’ll invite an atheist to give an equally polemic speech before their next session. Perhaps after that they’ll invite bigfoot to speak.

    • eskomo

      I am sure that an atheist gets to speak at the closing ceremony.

      There’s no closing ceremony? Bummer. 

    • Anonymous-Sam

       “Rrrrr! Beef jerky!”

  • Guest

    :

  • http://profiles.google.com/goblinbabies Sara Waldecker

    ‘Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.’‎’Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.’
    ‘ If [your search for religion] ends in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you.’ All three quotes courtesy of Thomas Jefferson. Looks like he was really Christian! Not.

  • lanie

    The Georgia House of Representatives opens up the day with a prayer during the legislative session. Every day there’s a different preacher/pastor/reverend guy who leads the House in prayer before getting on with their business. I used to work as a temp during the sessions and the secretaries there can listen to the business in the chamber – always helps to stay tuned when a big vote comes to the floor. Anyway, I always got peeved during this time of the day and was always thankful when I was distracted enough to tune it out. 

  • Anonymous

    50 million dead babies floating in a sea in the sky in front of God? This is what this guy sees when he closes his eyes? Cootchie coo??

    I’m almost inclined to give him him a pass for his various bigotries because of evident insanity. Almost.

    The Oklahoma House of Representatives gets no pass. All they’re doing is giving the documentary makers of the 22nd century loads of material to show how backward and deeply prejudiced some parts of the US were 100 years ago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    Do these people really think the people who wrote your constitution were too stupid to put the word Jesus in the constitution if they wanted christianity as a foundation?

    Yours starts “We the people” – noble and inspiring and visionary. If you want to see what it look like when founders intend christianity as the basis of their government look at Ireland’s embarrasment of an opening :

    “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority
    and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must
    be referred,We, the people of Éire,Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,”

    • Anonymous

       What, no mention of the Virgin Mary? Heathens! ;-)

      More seriously, if they postrated themselves any lower, they’d have to dig a hole. I’m embarrased for them just reading it.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      At least an Irish online college removed

      What bothers very few of its latter-day exponents is the fact that atheist humanism produced the worst horrors history has ever witnessed, namely Nazism, fascism and Marxism, the latter alone responsible for some 100 million lives, according to The Black Book written by French ex-Marxists. Atheism is not a benign force in history.

      from a religion module

      http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0310/1224313106779.html

    • Anonymous

      Now that is a great point!!! If you don’t mind I’ll be using this for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    That was painfully stupid.

  • NJMason32

    Can’t we cinch up the bible belt ?

  • Zuzmara

    And this is what happens when someone of another religion prays in the Senate:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1onHSr58es

    • T-Rex

      Couple of Bible thumpers demonstrating their Iron Age education and values. I’ve said it a million times but I’ll keep saying it. Fuck religion.

  • Sam Salerno

    Awe man. I think I just lost my breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I know our community is growing.  But them folks are getting more brazen about their religion.

  • T-Rex

    Absolutely disgusting. Nothing more to say other than that delusional idiot should be tried for treason then locked up in a padded room and medicated for observation.

  • http://twitter.com/jratease John Purcell

    [Thomas Jefferson] never intended for the Separation Clause… to mean to keep the church out of the state’s business. He intended to keep the state out of the church’s business! (4:02)

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…

    It’s interesting how this guy sounds like he understands the English language, but when you pick at the scab, it’s clear he must only comprehend in tongues, in addition to speaking in them.Some intelligent organization like FFRF needs to insist on equal time to testify, with historians (not of the Barton ilk), to refute this guy point by point. Put the video up, play a portion of his sermon, stop it, refute it, repeat and rinse. Conclude with the  irony that this video actually violated the 1st Amendment. Then turn around and serve the speaker with a Federal lawsuit.

    • Anonymous

      There are plenty of of letters and other writings – not just by Jefferson – that make it very clear that it was meant to go both ways

      • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

        heh, our country goes both ways, heh

        • Anonymous

          ROFLMAO – good one Butthead (or was it Bevis – I always get them mixed up).

      • Anonymous

         Specifically, Jame Madison, the acknowledged primary author of the Constitution stated in a number of his writings, words that made it clear that his intent was for the first amendment to protect government from what he called “ecclesiastical” influences, not only to protect religion from government interference. This lie about the first amendment being intended to only be one sided is often stated by religious zealots, but they never provide any proof to support that perspective. Add to this all of the Supreme Court rulings on this over the years and it becomes clear that the separation of church and state in this country is meant to be absolute.

  • Carla

    Do you ever look at reality and wonder when the Onion writers started writing the real news? Cause this can’t be real…. Please sue them. Please.

  • Gunstargreen

    I think the way to solve all of our nation’s ills right now is to just give them their own country and everyone who disagrees with them can stay in the United States and everyone who agrees with them can go down to their Confederate States or whatever and we’ll all be happy. I’m so afraid of winding up living in a theocracy these days that I’d rather split our nation in two than risk it becoming one horrible theocracy.

    • Anonymous

      The United States can do just fine with both coasts and maybe some select states in the middle that are halfway sane. The rest can secede and form the United States of Jesus Land

      • Anonymous

        Ah yes, I remember that map from the ’04 election, back when people gumbling about seccesion were on the left.

        • dorothy30

           i wish (and hope) this is still true, but the canadian government in power (Harper and cronies) is getting scarier.

  • Anonymous

    I’d be happy to take a shot at him………….

  • Fargofan1

    The part about putting people in office “who will make law that corresponds with the word of God” is a blatant call for a theocracy. You can’t get much clearer than that.

    • Kathryn

       Welcome to Oklahoma. We’ve been having to deal with idiots in our state legislature (I’m looking at you, Mr. Sykes..) since well before I moved here to attend school 5 years ago. It’s frankly embarrassing to have to  say that I live in a state where this sort of shenanigans goes on as a matter of course. It’s gotten to the point that, with the exception of a few small havens of sanity (Norman and Tulsa, to name two), all the reasonable people are moving elsewhere, just so that they don’t have to deal with as much of this nonsense anymore. I know we should stand and fight, but sometimes there’s just so little that one person could do..

      • Peter

        Yup, sorry that you are so right, Kathryn.

        I and many of my OK peers immediately fled OK the moment we could. We left for opportunity and the freedom that aren’t available back home. 

      • RealityCheck

        Unfortunately, Tulsa is not so much the safe haven we might all hope for. It just happens to be slightly more liberal than anywhere else around.
        On a state scale, I would give Tulsa a 7 on a sanity scale of 1-10 (10 being highest).
        On a national scale, I would give Tulsa a 4 out of 10. And that’s only because it is surrounded by a sea of ignoramuses 2+ states deep in every direction (excluding quiet Nebraska and chill Colorado, no pun intended).

  • Ken McKnight

    It’s inaccurate to say he got a standing ovation.  The group had been instructed by the Speaker to stand for prayer.  After the prayer he left the lectern, but I would describe the applause that followed as perfunctory at best.

  • Anonymous

    My first cousin, Chris Benge, served as Speaker of Oklahoma’s House just before Kris Steele got the position. Apparently Chris mentored Steele and probably shares his views, though I haven’t talked to my cousin in many years:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Benge 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kris_Steele 

    • Anonymous

      You have my profound sympathy.

  • Anonymous

    Of course you have to consider how seriously religious conservatives take their own propaganda. They rail against atheists, liberals, gays, Hollywood bohemians, etc., yet they still offer to cut our taxes, deregulate our businesses and let us buy all the guns and ammo we want. If they trust us with money, economic freedom and especially weapons, they can’t consider us all that dangerous. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ORRVVC5R2QWLTXEM6SX5L6BORE Jay Arrrr

    I_Claudia wrote:
    ” All they’re doing is giving the documentary makers of the 22nd century
    loads of material to show how backward and deeply prejudiced some parts
    of the US were 100 years ago.”

    I certainly hope so. What I am afraid of, however, is that documentary makers of the 22nd Century will depict these scenes on tanned animal skins and use them around the communal dung fires to teach the peasants about the struggles of the Dark Age before that evil Science was rooted out and driven from the face of Jeebusland.

    Give the sumbitch a rattlesnake to fondle and a quart of Prestone to drink.

  • Anonymous

    Have everyone in the USA become his very specific flavor of baptist. None of the other versions — sorry Pope. See how that goes over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Down/100001310114443 Bob Down

    You Americans make me laugh.

  • http://dramaticexaggeration.blogspot.com/ PGS

    “We must have people in office, or put people in office, who will
    make law that corresponds with the word of God and the will of God. Not
    political correctness, not tolerance. It always brews intolerance.”

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m066pbEAvB1r72ycj.gif

    • Anonymous

      Of course – tolerance always breed intolerance. That’s Newspeak for ya.

  • Iosue

    ‘God is an American.’ – David Bowie

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    While we’re on OK, let’s remember that we know Global Warming is a hoax because God told us it was, thanks to interpretation by 
    Sen. Inhofe (R-OK)

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/09/10623040-inhofe-refutes-climate-science-with-scripture 

  • Anonymous

    I take both comfort and fear in the possibility that the political bible-thumpers are getting more and more vocal because they see the inevitable growth of rational people who won’t follow like sheep, and in their extremism they might just wreck the country beyond repair before rationalism can fully take hold.

  • Chris Clay

    Mark 11:24:
    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

    If, however, you pray to God that your son’s spinal cord be healed to cure his quadriplegia he will never do so.  A theologian will then tell you that God cannot answer that prayer because it would reveal himself to the world and remove the need for faith and our ability to have free will.  In other words God didn’t mean it when he put Mark 11:24 in the Bible.

    Is it any surprise that someone steeped in such rationality would also believe the Constitution supports Pastor Ledbetter’s statements, even though it only mentions religion once and never mentions the Bible, Christianity, or Jesus?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714214638 Barry Taylor

    I’m so glad I live in a country where people who believe in that crap are in the minority, but I worry about where the USA may end up going if the wrong theocratic nutjob ever gets into the White House.

    • Anonymous

      Like Rick Santorum. I have been thinking that I would like to see Santorum (the person, not the Google definition) as the republican nominee because I can’t imagine there being enough people crazy enough to vote for him in a general election. On the other hand, the US may just have enough crazies in it for him to win, then we would see a theocratic nutjob in the White House and it would be time to leave the country.

  • Beau McElhattan

    Sigh.  I live in Oklahoma.   Once again, I get to write a letter to my Representative.  Will it do any good?   It didn’t the last 10 times.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelPCherry Michael Paul Cherry

    People are total confused about what is meant by the separation of church and state. Atheist would like to impose their religion on you by banning prayer in any government facility, they really appear to want to ban freedom of religion altogether. The “Real” intent of the law that refers to the separation is; the state cannot have any say or control over the church and the church cannot have any say or control of the state. That’s the only intended separation because the Constitution also protects the individual’s right to practice the religion of their choice. Now, how does a little sermon account for the an exchange of power? If you believe that a sermon is an exchange of power then by the same token I believe not having a sermon would be an exchange toward the religion of  Atheism by using your logic. We have learn in time that Atheism is indeed a form of religion as well. Watch this video and maybe you can gain a bit more knowledge on the subject.
     
    http://t.co/syaRpovY via @youtube

    • Anonymous

      Another troll saying atheism is a religion. Needs to learn English. Send that man to the Reason Rally! Maybe he’ll learn how to reason. But I doubt it.

    • Anonymous

      Atheism is NOT in any way a religion. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. Not believing in god doesn’t take any faith any more than not believing in invisible pink fairies takes faith. Having a sermon in a government setting is a form of government sponsorship of religion, specifically prohibited by the Constitution even according to your interpretation. Nobody is trying to prevent anyone from believing or practicing their religion in any way. The only thing we do want to prevent is using government funding to do so (although religions already do so indirectly by being tax exempt) or to use government to legitimize one particular religion.

      Your video link is a trailer for idiocy couched as science. There is NO evidence that the Earth is or could possibly be only 6000 years old. I can’t understand how the religious can continue to ignore the vast majority of scientific evidence in favor of a book that was written by ignorant people who thought the sun revolved around the Earth. Every single myth in the bible existed before the bible was written. The bible is a collection of stories, many of which are based on pagan or other legends that had been passed down orally for many years. There is nothing that would lead one to believe that anything in it has any legitimacy at all.

  • Matthew Watson

    Idiot.  


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