OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act Tuesday prohibiting governmental declaration of religious institutions as nonessential. Sen. David Bullard is the principal Senate author of Senate Bill 368.
The Durant Republican noted that the U.S. Constitution guarantees, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
“In our Constitution, the prohibition of Congress to make laws against religious establishments is on the government to stay out of our faith. The fact that many churches, nation and statewide, were essentially and unconstitutionally shut down or threatened must be addressed and our freedoms must be protected,” Bullard said. “It is essential that we don’t allow nonessential governments to render our faith and freedom as nonessential.”
SB 368 prohibits any governmental entity from declaring or deeming a religious institution and any activity directly related to the institution’s discharge of its mission and purpose to be nonessential. Additionally, it prohibits the closure of such institutions for health or security purposes if those actions are greater than what is imposed on any private entity facing the same or similar health or security conditions.
Bullard also cited Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story’s stand on this sacred right from Life and Letters of Joseph Story, “There never has been a period of history, in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundation.”
The bill now goes before the full Senate.
For more information, contact: Sen. Bullard: (405) 521-5586 or David.Bullard@oksenate.gov
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