I cannot recall another time in which more people were in tune to what is, and what is not, happening at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
The level of interest and frustration is high, especially as it relates to teacher pay and education funding issues. While these education issues remain the center stage of attention—and rightly so—I wanted to take this moment to highlight two other issues that are also of moral and ethical concern to Oklahoma Baptists, to make sure they do not go unnoticed.
Senate Bill 1140 is co-authored by State Sen. Greg Treat and State Rep. Travis Dunlap and has important implications for faith-based adoption providers in Oklahoma. On March 13, the Senate voted 35-9 in favor of SB 1140, which advanced to the State House.
The bill would “encourage the establishment of more adoption services in Oklahoma by providing essential protections for faith-based adoption agencies.” The legislation in no way restricts the establishment of agencies who are not faith-based. The policy is designed so that Oklahoma can avoid “the tragic results of laws passed in places like Massachusetts, Illinois and California. These states have passed laws in recent years that require faith-based providers to place children in family structures that are in conflict with the principles of their faith, ultimately forcing the closure of the adoption agencies and leaving children and adoptive families in limbo.”
Thus, other states, including Virginia, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas, have enacted adoption protection measures with success.
Contrary to what opponents say, SB 1140 does not change existing policy for adoption services nor would it prohibit, for example, same sex couples from seeking and obtaining adoptions in Oklahoma. The bill, which has received support from Hance Dilbeck, Greg McNeece, Anthony Jordan, Russell Moore, the Oklahoma Family Policy Institute, Archbishop Paul Coakley, Frank Cargill and others, merely gives guarantees that agencies can continue to operate in the same manner they have for decades and in accordance with their statements of faith and biblical convictions.
Next, Senate Bill 1267, was approved by the State Senate on March 13, with a vote of 44-0 and now advances to the State House. This bill which was co-authored by Treat and Rep. Kevin Calvey, “prohibits a medical provider from receiving Medicaid funds through the state if that medical provider has trafficked in fetal body parts.”
The purpose of the bill is to prevent organizations and groups associated that are caught trafficking the parts of unborn babies—a practice which is illegal in the United States—from doing this and from ever getting taxpayer monies.
Regarding this proposed legislation, Anthony Jordan recently said, “Oklahoma Baptists have consistently supported policies that protect the unborn and that recognize the sanctity of all human life. The Oklahoma legislature should never use taxpayer dollars to support any group that sells or traffics body parts and tissue from aborted babies. The practice of selling and trafficking body parts of aborted babies is repulsive and pure evil, and this bill is a strong statement that we want no part of here in Oklahoma.”
Legislators need to hear from the people of Oklahoma on issues like these, issues that matter to us. From education to adoption to pro-life laws, make your voice heard; you can find a legislator locator at www.bgco.org/erlc.
Also, be sure to express your opinions in a Christlike manner, full of grace and truth. Lastly, take time to pray for our lawmakers. The Bible teaches us to lift our law givers and leaders up in prayer.
For every moment we spend talking about issues on Facebook or contacting the Capitol, we can spend an equal amount of time in prayer. More prayer for Oklahoma is an idea that I think everyone can support.