Representative Chuck Strohm (R-Tulsa), Chaplain Coordinator for the 2018 Legislative Session, has issued new guidelines potentially blocking all non-Christian religious leaders from leading lawmakers in prayer each day at the beginning of session.
Rep. Strohm drafted a letter to legislators asking that they only nominate faith leaders from “the representative’s own place of worship” to be the House’s Chaplain of the Week or Chaplain of the Day. The vast majority of Representatives identify as Christian, very few of which fall outside of Protestantism, and none identify as members of minority religious such as Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism. This would exclude an Imam, Rabbi, or other minority faith leader from praying with their legislators at the beginning of the day.
This is where we need your help! Please contact both Rep. Strohm and Speaker McCall and ask that this policy be changed to allow all faiths to participate in the House chaplain program. Sample text for either an email or phone call is below.
Email Rep. Strohm at firstname.lastname@example.org or call his office at 405-557-7331
Email Speaker McCall at email@example.com or call his office at 405-557-7412
Dear Representative ___________,
My name is ____________ , my zip code is _________ I want to voice my concern for the House Chaplain policy that does not allow minority faiths representation in the chaplain program. There are no House members identifying as Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or any other minority faith. I hope you understand why this excludes many Oklahomans from being represented in the chaplain program. Please open up the chaplain program to all faiths by allowing House members to nominate chaplains regardless of the representative’s personal affiliation.
As elected officials you are called to represent Oklahoma beyond yourselves. I encourage you to do so in the matter of faith representation at the Capitol and change this discriminatory policy.