Church and State

GOP lawmaker: God gave us our rights so therefore church-state separation is ‘impossible’

According to one GOP lawmaker in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, separation of church and state “does not and cannot exist” in the U.S. and he’s sponsoring a bill that would mandate that “In God We Trust” be displayed prominently on all state-owned buildings.

That’s what Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon) told the Oklahoma House of Representatives Tuesday, according to a report from TulsaWorld.

“Our government is based on the idea that our inalienable rights are granted to us by our creator,” Steagall said. “It is impossible to separate church from state. And our founders said we should not do that, actually.”

Proof of that, he added, is on the money we carry around.

During his speech, Steagall presented House Bill 3817, which was written by House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) to the House Rules Committee. The bill specifically advocates that the “placement and size of (each) display shall be in keeping with the placement and size of the display of the national motto in the United States Capitol Visitor Center.”

TulsaWorld notes that the display, installed 10 years ago, stands four feet tall and is 70 feet long.

Not everyone is on board, however. State Rep. Andy Fugate (D-Oklahoma City) says Steagall has “a real problem with us adopting things that put God front and center in our government when the reality is the God I serve wants to be front and center in my life, not on my buildings.”

Reports indicate that the move to promote “In God We Trust” on government offices is being pushed by the evangelical group WallBuilders, which was founded by David Barton, a graduate of Oral Roberts University. Barton claims that religious liberties as discussed in the First Amendment apply only to Christians. He notes they possibly apply to Jews and Muslims as well.

KFOR reports that the House Rules Committee passed HB3817 Tuesday morning in a 6-1 vote.

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