Christian goodness goes far at the state Capitol. Well, at least out into the hallway, according to a recent story in The Oklahoman.
According to that story, some Oklahoma Republicans walked out of the Legislature during a vote to record the morning prayer that was delivered by an openly gay pastor, who " by the way " introduced his gay partner (who happens to be his fiancé).
Did he expect garlands of flowers and paeans of tolerance from Oklahoma's Legislature? What was he thinking?
Here at Chicken-Fried News, we have a pretty good idea what he thinks: The pastor is the Rev. Scott Jones of the United Church of Christ Cathedral of Hope and a commentary writer at this noble publication. Why, just a few weeks ago, he wrote an opinion piece about "The real 'gay agenda.'"
After introducing his partner, Jones said the morning prayer that opens business at the Legislature. To us Godless CFN types, the words he used seem like a lot of prayin' type stuff, borrowing some from St. Francis:
"(Give) these elected representatives of your people courage and wisdom, that they might be instruments of your peace, sowing love where there is hatred, pardon, where there is injury, union in place of discord, faith, instead doubt, hope, not despair, light to cast away the darkness, and where there is sadness, joy."
Apparently, a lot of legislators have a problem with St. Francis (was he gay?). According to the story, 16 left, and then the House voted on whether to include the prayer in the legislative record.
Entering the prayer into the record sounds like one of those boring legislator formalities, but not this time. The House voted 64-20, and the prayer won and was entered into the record.
State Rep. Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City, himself an openly gay lawmaker, said he had never seen a dissenting vote on a prayer before and said he had a good idea what most of those reps who voted "no" were thinking:
"I'm sure that because most of Scott's congregation are gay people and Scott is gay himself, I'm sure that's the reason why there were negative votes on it."
Rep. John Wright, R-Broken Arrow, said it was really just because it was an out-of-order parliamentary move to include a prayer from anything but a Thursday. On these grounds, Wright objected and called for a vote when the prayer was to be entered into the record, the story said.
"It has not been the practice to put every day's prayer in the House journal," he said, according to the story.
Um, yeah. Wright made it clear that any public attention was not the fault of those who voted against the prayer, only those who reported the vote.
"My actions were motivated by the faith, so now if you want to take it and cause the public to be inflamed about it, well, that's at your feet," he said.
Well, we've been accused of being flaming here before at CFN.