Sunday, January 12, 2014

Additional information concerning the Legislative Preview--2014

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church & State (OKC-AU) will hold its fifth annual Oklahoma Legislative Preview on Saturday, January 25, 2014. The event titled, “Crossing the Line” will be held at the Belle Isle Library, 10 a.m. to noon, 5501 N. Villa in Oklahoma City. 

The Preview will include a review of selected proposed bills that OKC-AU feels cross the line between religious point of view and civil rights as defined in our state and federal constitutions.

A brief explanation of how proposed bills become law in Oklahoma will also be presented.

Three featured speakers will outline the history of their respective religious denominations.

Guest speaker Dr. Victor H. Hutchison, George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, will discuss proposed bills involving religion and science education.

Featured speaker Rev. Jim Shields of Oklahoma City, one of the founding members of the Oklahoma City chapter of Americans United, will be outlining the history of church/state separation in the Methodist tradition.

Jim Huff, a Deacon and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, will be speaking about the Baptist history of separation of church and state.

This event previews bills submitted by both Houses of the Oklahoma Legislature that could interfere with First Amendment freedom of religion and could encumber the rights of others. The audience is invited to participate in a Q & A period and a civil open discussion.

James Nimmo, OKC-AU communication chair, said, “This year's theme, Crossing the Line, reflects the intent that some bills introduced during this year's legislative session violate the Constitutional separation of religious views from civil laws.  

“Religious observance is free for all to exercise in private with other like-minded people,” Nimmo added. “However, when tax money, public property or the legal power of the state is used to support religious views that are not shared by others, it crosses the line of legality.”

The first regular session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature officially convenes on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 12 p.m.

OKAU President John Loghry said, “Our society is meant to have many voices, but much of this legislation seems to be aimed at keeping those that are not evangelical from having equal footing in the conversation."

The Oklahoma City Chapter, one of the most active chapters of American United for Separation of Church and State, arranges this event so that Oklahoma citizens can read and discuss upcoming issues and be ahead of the inevitable curves thrown by those who might diminish a valuable freedom not observed in much of the world.

All interested citizens are encouraged to attend and participate with questions and comments. Light refreshments will be served. 

Americans United (AU) is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans. AU represents over 70,000 individual members and 5,000 churches and other houses of worship nationwide.

For more information about the Legislative Preview or the Oklahoma City Chapter of Americans for Separation of Church and State, please visit or contact James Nimmo at 405-843-3651. 

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