Everyone’s favorite Islamophobe, Rep. John R. Bennett (R-Sallisaw), is on a mission from God.
In keeping with the seemingly annual tradition of filing legislation that will ultimately be found unconstitutional and waste plenty of taxpayer dollars in the process, Bennett has filed HB 2177, which seeks to codify the Ten Commandments as “historically significant documents.”
By lumping the religious artifact in the same category as purely secular documents like the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and (ironically) Oklahoma Constitution, the bill’s language seeks to shirk those pesky separation of church and state laws that had a previous monument removed from State Capitol grounds.
If only Bennett and others would have read the opinion from the Oklahoma Supreme Court in late June 2015. Here’s a crucial tidbit, as it appears to preempt Bennett’s current stratagem:
As concerns the “historic purpose” justification, the Ten Commandments are obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.
Besides having been down this (un)constitutional road before, the people of Oklahoma have already spoken on the issue, roundly rejecting SQ 790 in November by a margin of 57.1 percent against to 42.8 percent in favor.
God bless Cyndi Munson
Still, conservative legislators will vote conservatively, and the bill passed the House’s General Government Oversight and Accountability Committee 7-1 on Feb. 9, with Cyndi Munson (D-OKC) as the only dissenting voice of reason. Yea votes included all of the other committee members:
- Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee), chairman
- Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow), vice chairman
- Rep. Greg Babinec (R-Cushing)
- Rep. Kevin Calvey (R-Edmond)
- Rep. Roger Ford (R-Oklahoma City)
- Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie)
- Rep. Johnny Tadlock (D-Idabel)
Given that the committee’s vote signaled open season on reason, constituent-pandering bandwagoneers wasted no time in hitching their holy rollers to Bennett’s Bible-based brainchild. The following representatives signed on as co-authors:
- Rep. Rick West (R-Heavener)
- Rep. John Enns (R-Enid)
- Rep. Steve Vaughan (R-Ponca City)
- Rep. Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville)
- Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow)
- Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Edmond)
- Rep. David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow)
- Rep. Chuck Strohm (R-Jenks)
- Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy)
- Rep. Babinec (R-Cushing)
- Sen. Michael Bergstrom (R-Adair) (principal Senate author)
At the end of the day, for a guy so blatantly hellbent on stigmatizing Muslims, Bennett sure seems eager to push the Sooner State toward something resembling less of a democracy and more of a caliphate.