Pastor Bill Ledbetter of the Fairview Baptist Church in Durant, who presided over the morning prayer and devotion in the Oklahoma Senate, and his bigoted words led at least one senator to walk out and others to complain.
“Jacob (Nikolas) Cruz, February the 14th, went into a school and killed 17 of our people, our kids. What is going on?” pastor Bill Ledbetter asked senators. “Do we really believe we can create immorality in our laws, do we really believe that we can redefine marriage from the word of God to something in our own mind and there not be a response?”
This comment was out of line and some senators condemned it. “It is something that we are having discussions about. I’ve had a talk with the minority leader as well about how we move forward from here and try to maintain the decorum of the Senate,” said Senator Mike Schulz, president pro tempore.
Troy Stevenson with Freedom Oklahoma, stated that the pastor used horrific language, and that we should all think about what these words, coming from state Senate chamber, does to the kids in the gallery and the people that are around.
After the reactions pastor Ledbetter said that he is not in position to say what God would or would not do but said he was merely asking the question, “What if this is God’s way of letting us know he doesn’t approve of our behavior?” But whatever the case, it is clear that the pastor suggested that immorality in our laws -- for example, gay marriages -- led to mass shootings and natural disasters that killed many people. So the conclusion is that God is killing people, many of whom were presumably Christians themselves, as a response to laws that are not in accordance with His will.
On the other hand, a letter and notes, which contain guidelines about who could be nominated for the invocation in the Oklahoma Senate, shut out religious minorities and atheists from delivering those invocations. That is because this letter makes clear that elected officials should nominate speakers from “the representative’s own place of worship”, which is very convenient when the Oklahoma State House is overwhelmingly Christian.
After the bigoted words used in the invocation and with rules that discriminate against religious minorities and atheists in the very state Senate chamber, should people be concerned about the future acts of the House of Representatives? The House of Representatives is the place where laws are made, and that laws define and shape the lives of people in the future, so it is important to exclude discrimination and intolerance from this highly important institution.