Jenks Lawmaker Outlines New Guideline For Daily Prayer

Tuesday, February 20th 2018, 8:20 am
By: Grant Hermes

A new guideline over which kinds of faith leaders can address state lawmakers is causing outcry from religious leaders. 

It's one of the last places you'd like to hear a charge like that especially when it concerns praying for the state.

The rule change was outlined in new rules from Jenks's Rep. Chuck Strohm. It asks chaplains who are invited by representatives to give the daily prayer be from that representative's place of worship.

That change has some religious leaders concerned that it leaves out members of non-Christian faiths, particularly the Jewish and Muslim communities because there are no Jewish or Muslim members of the legislature. 

In a statement, the head of the Council on American Islamic Relations Oklahoma Adam Soltani said in part, "This is yet another attempt by a Legislator to marginalize and discriminate against the Muslim community."

The Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City also weighed in, saying the rule tells non-Christian voters their faith and voices don't matter. 

"I think we miss opportunities to be thoughtful about discussions when certain groups are left out based on immutable characteristics," Roberta S. Clark said.

Members of the Christian community are speaking out too. Metro pastor Lori Walke said simply on Twitter, "this cannot stand."

Walke is also the wife of Democratic Rep. Collin Walke. So far, Strohm is not commenting on the concerns of faith leaders nor is he explaining the change in guidelines.