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Sooner State Showdown

Oklahoma voters will make crucial decisions about their political future this November, and only one concerns the White House. They’ll also have the opportunity to remove a clause from the state constitution that defends the separation of church and state.

Okla. Seeks To Alter Church-State Provisions

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has taken a step toward removing the state constitution’s clause prohib­iting aid to churches, denominations and religious schools.

In March, legislators passed a resolution to place the so-called “no-aid” clause on the ballot, giving voters an opportunity to remove it.

Bad Ballot Initiative: Okla. Voters Could Open Floodgates Of Taxpayer Funding For Religious Groups

Oklahoma voters in November will face a radical ballot initiative that could, if passed, alter the state’s constitution to allow taxpayer money to flow directly into the coffers of sectarian institutions.

Last week, Oklahoma lawmakers approved SJR 72, which has been advertised as an amendment that would allow government-sponsored religious displays on public land. But the change might do much more than that if it is approved by voters this fall.

Okla. High Court Upholds Voucher Program

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in February that a voucher program benefiting students with disabilities does not violate the state constitution.

The Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program allows the parents of students with disabilities to use public funds to place their children in private schools, including religious ones. In 2013, a coalition of parents, educators, a state senator and a retired judge filed suit to end the program.

Okla. Officials Remove Ten Commandment Monument

A six-foot-tall granite monument of the Ten Commandments no longer stands at the Oklahoma State Capitol after workers removed it Oct. 5.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in June that the monument’s presence on Capitol grounds violates the state constitution, which prohibits the government from endorsing religion. The tablets were moved to private property owned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative group.

Okla. Supreme Court Nixes Capitol Display Of Ten Commandments

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the capitol building in Oklahoma City is unconstitutional, a decision that dealt a serious blow to the idea that government-sponsored religious symbols are merely ceremonial.

In its 7-2 ruling, Oklahoma’s high court said in June that the Ten Commandments are “obviously” a religious text, and the Oklahoma Constitution prohibits the use of public property to support a particular religion.

Display Defeated: Okla. Supreme Court Strikes Down Statehouse Ten Commandments Monument

The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently said a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the capitol building in Oklahoma City is unconstitutional. This is not only a big win for those who value church-state separation, it’s also a serious blow to the idea that government-sponsored religious symbols are merely ceremonial.

Okla. Legislature Sends Marriage Bills To Governor

Both chambers of the Oklahoma legislature have passed bills that would allow individuals to opt out of performing same-sex marriages. S.B. 788 would allow public officials, like court clerks, to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses; H.B. 1007 applies specifically to members of clergy.

Okla. Legislators Take Aim At AP High School Courses In American History

Lawmakers in Oklahoma are out to whitewash Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History courses, and if they succeed the state’s students will pay the price.

The measure, HB 1380, was introduced in February by Rep. Dan Fisher (R-Yukon). If passed, it would end funding for AP U.S. History classes and require the Oklahoma Department of Education to scrutinize the AP curriculum. Although it only addresses history classes, it could be extended to other AP courses if it passes.

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