Monday, March 16, 2009

Oklahoma Takes Baby Step Towards (Gasp!) Gay Rights

Longtime readers of this blog know that I spent some of my formative youthful years in rural Oklahoma, so I tend to watch the goings-on in my sort-of-home-state.

Which leads me to this story: It seems that Oklahoma, like every other state, tends to open government meetings with a prayer. Yeah, big surprise there. Okay, putting aside the whole church-state issue, recently the Oklahoma House of Representatives session was opened with a prayer by United Church of Christ minister Rev. Scott H. Jones, of the Oklahoma-city based Cathedral of Hope.

The prayer itself -- which you can read here -- was one of those typically namby-pamby jobs calling on the big guy in the sky to bless the poor, help the homeless, cure the sick, blah blah blah, pretty much a by-the-numbers mainstream Xian prayer for a secular occasion. You've heard it all before.

So the ink wasn't dry, so to speak, on the prayer before several members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives started falling all over each other in a rush to keep the prayer from becoming part of the official record of the Oklahoma legislature.

Why? Well, it couldn't have been the content of the prayer itself (aside from the fact that it was one of those prayers that evoked that wimpy forgive-your-enemies Jesus, not the the Jesus of the flaming cross smiting the know what I mean), so what was it?

Maybe -- and I'm just speculating here -- just maybe it was because the prayer was given by (gasp!) a gay minister!!! Who was asked to give this invocation by (another gasp!) the only openly-gay member of the Oklahoma legislature, Rep. Al McAffrey (D-Oklahoma City).

Naturally the theocrats were all over this like flies on shit, to the point of Rep. John Wright (R-Broken Arrow) calling for a vote on the prayer's inclusion in the official record. However, I am happy -- and proud -- to note that the final vote was this: 64 representatives voting to include the prayer, 20 opposing it, and 17 abstaining.

Sidebar: Of special note in all this was our old buddy, noted fundo-xian/gay basherRep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) who, naturally, voted in favor of exclusion.

Yeah, like keeping it out of the "official" written record is going to undo all the "damage" that this single prayer has done to the great state of Oklahoma.

Sorry, folks, the cat is already out of the bag, the damage has been done, and the fact that 64 Oklahoma state representatives can stick their necks out and vote for the inclusion of this prayer makes me feel good about one of the reddest states in the redstate continiuum. And about my home state.