Do Religious Beliefs Influence Oklahoma Lawmakers' Decisions?

By Francis-Smith, Janice | THE JOURNAL RECORD, May 27, 2008 | Go to article overview

Do Religious Beliefs Influence Oklahoma Lawmakers' Decisions?


Francis-Smith, Janice, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Few jobs offer the opportunity to put one's beliefs on display more than that of an elected official. Some even campaign for their positions by touting their faith at least as prominently as they do their job experience. But in a state where the citizens ascribe to many different faiths is it proper for lawmakers to allow their religious philosophy to dictate the policy they create?

Everyone, be they members of any organized religion or an atheist, carries with them into their legislative role their own concept of right and wrong, which influences every decision they make, said state Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City.

"The nature of Christianity is that it affects your worldview, every aspect of your life," said Kern. "So how can you separate that out? The Bible says to in all your ways acknowledge Him; it doesn't say 'unless you are an elected official."

Kern recently made national news over comments she made likening homosexuality to cancer and terrorism. Prior to the recent controversy over her comments - for which she has received both death threats and letters of thanks - Kern's view of homosexuality was evidenced by her legislation to remove books with homosexual themes from areas of public libraries where children are present.

"Every time a law is passed, somebody's morality is being legislated," said Kern. Those without faith, and people of varying religions all support laws reflecting their belief that murder is wrong, for instance. America's Founding Fathers recognized that morality and religion are the fundamental underpinnings of a just society and wrote the nation's Constitution to reflect their belief in Judeo-Christian principles, while allowing for those of other faiths to also enjoy freedom of religion, she said.

Governing is a challenge in our post-modern society, wherein each person decides for themselves what is right or wrong, she said. …

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