GOP Senators Take Bold Stand to Protect Religious Freedom

The Oklahoma House of Representatives took a bold stand on Tuesday to protect religious institutions from being denied state funding. Under the new Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, introduced by Republican state Senators Shane Jett and Julie Daniels, religious organizations can no longer be denied access to taxpayer dollars by the state. The legislation passed by an overwhelming 64-27 vote and will now head to Republican Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk for signing, further strengthening the First Amendment and religious freedom.

By preventing the state from discriminating against faith-based groups, the bill allows religious institutions to access state funding without being barred from applications based solely on religious affiliation or character. Oklahoma previously passed religious protections in 2021, preventing the government from calling church activities non-essential during the pandemic.

However, some Democrats disagreed with the bill’s passing, describing it as unnecessary, according to the local media outlet One Democratic state representative cautioned that the bill could result in funding for religious activities by religious schools, causing it to feel like Monday school becomes Sunday school.

But criticized by the Democrats, Republican state Rep. John Echols, an author in this bill, argued that people should replace the word religion in the bill with gender or sex, and the Democrats would not oppose the legislation.

Oklahoma is known for its fervent efforts in advocating for religious freedom. Earlier this month, Governor Stitt and Attorney General Gentner Drummond were at loggerheads over an application to create the nation’s first state-funded religious charter school. While the application was temporarily rejected, it will be voted on again in the coming weeks. Governor Stitt voiced his disappointment with the Attorney General’s response to the program, and he hopes Oklahoma can become the first state to have a state-funded religious charter, bringing more options to parents.

The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act is a significant achievement for the state and its people, strengthening religious freedom, and defending the First Amendment. It sets Oklahoma apart from other states with a robust and comprehensive approach to reinforcing religious protection.

Written by Staff Reports

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