Reprinted with permission from TheNewAmerican.com.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (shown), a Republican, is scheduled to speak at Guts Church in Tulsa on September 22, to a men’s group on the topic of serving God, leadership, and raising children.
The planned event has drawn the ire of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which contends that a speech by the governor of Oklahoma at a religious event constitutes a violation of the constitutional prohibition against the government from establishing a religion.
“When you speak as governor, you are speaking as the government,” Ryan Jayne, an attorney for FFRF, said in a letter to Stitt. Jayne added, “Using the office of the governor to promote a specific religious mission is unconstitutional and sends a direct message to the 30 percent of non-Christian adults who you serve that they have the wrong religion, and that only your personal god can solve Oklahoma’s problems.”
Jayne said that it was the second time in the past nine months (Stitt took office in January of this year) that the organization of “freethinkers” (which they define as atheists and agnostics) has warned Stitt not to use his position as governor to promote religion. The protests of FFRF are reminiscent of when Apollo 8 astronauts read the Creation story from the Book of Genesis while being the first humans to orbit the moon on Christmas Day, 1968. Prominent atheist and communist Madalyn Murray O’Hair promptly sued NASA, arguing that they were employees of the federal government, and therefore it was a violation of “separation of church and state.”
“We are telling Gov. Stitt, as we tell all pious politicians: ‘Get off your knees and get to work,'” added FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It’s not OK in Oklahoma or any other state for public officials to misuse their office to promote religion.”
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