Baptist Publication Apologizes For Misusing Governor's Signature, State Seal
By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- More fallout stirs over a controversial proclamation on morality initiated by state representative Sally Kern.
Now, a newspaper is apologizing for reprinting what appears to be an official version of the proclamation signed by some of Oklahoma's top officials.
The official signatures belong to the governor and the secretary of state, the problem, neither of them actually signed the document.
State Representative Sally Kern's proclamation of morality has been a lightning rod from the beginning, blaming the nation's economic problems on morality and claiming the nation is a world leader in abortion, pornography and other forms of debauchery.
Now, a new controversy has taken center stage involving The Baptist Messenger, a weekly paper with about 68,000 subscribers put out by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. The publication reprinted the proclamation in its July 16 edition, complete with state seal and a signature by Governor Brad Henry and Secretary of State Susan Savage.
"It is not anything that the state is sponsoring, so to see it on such an official document that we filed is really surprising," Savage said.
Savage's office has to verify the governor's signature on all proclamations and affix the seal. Savage believes the paper took another proclamation signed on July 2 and merged the bottom half with the Kern proclamation.
"I think it's unfortunate especially when it's something that's potentially controversial to have there be any misrepresentation of the state's official position on it," Savage said.
The paper issued a statement saying, "the artwork used was from previous editions of the paper and was used without the consent of the governor and secretary of state."
The governor's office issued this statement saying, "The Baptist Messenger apologized profusely for its error and promised a correction in its next issue."
The secretary got an apology after contacting the paper.
"Mr. Nigh was very apologetic and please, for everybody's understanding, that they simply made a mistake and I take him at his word," Savage said.
Attempts to contact Sally Kern to get her thoughts about the error were unsuccessful.
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