Stitt announces transition team

Marc Nuttle, a Norman attorney with decades of experience in national Republican politics, will lead the transition team of Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt, who enters office in two months. Nuttle, 69, formerly served as executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee and was national campaign manager for televangelist Pat Robertson’s presidential bid in 1988. Stitt’s…Read More

Kendra Horn upsets Steve Russell in an Oklahoma City stunner

In a political upset for the history books, Kendra Horn broke a 44-year Republican hold on Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district Tuesday, turning the Oklahoma City-area district blue for the first time since the mid-1970s. Defying expectations, polls, experts, opponents and history itself, Horn defeated U.S. Rep. Steve Russell in a race that went down to…Read More

ABC: Controversial adoption law goes into effect Thursday

Depending on whom you talk to, you’ll get a different opinion on Oklahoma’s controversial adoption law that’s about to go into effect. “What the Legislature and the government have done is endorsed discrimination,” said Allie Shin, with the Oklahoma American Civil Liberties Union. “What we’re really asking here is if churches should check their faith…Read More

20 new laws that take effect in Oklahoma today

Thursday, Nov. 1, means a slew of new laws taking effect across the state. Among them is SB1140, championed by the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, which prohibits a private child-placing agency from being required, to the extent allowed by federal law, to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a…Read More

Tulsa World: SQ 800 in Plain English

The Legislature proposes amending the state constitution to create the Oklahoma Vision Fund, which would receive an escalating portion of state gross production taxes beginning with 5 percent in 2020. Additional money could be appropriated to the fund. The fund would essentially be an endowment managed by the state treasurer. It would be exempt from…Read More

Split party power possible at top of state gov

A close gubernatorial race could result in split party representation at the top of state government for the first time in 12 years. Multiple polls show a close contest between Republican Kevin Stitt and Democrat Drew Edmondson in the race for governor. However, the lieutenant governor race is more one-sided with Republican Matt Pinnell holding…Read More

Stitt and Edmondson talk transportation

Gubernatorial candidates Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson largely agreed on the state’s continued need for infrastructure spending during a forum Thursday, saying it would be a priority for their respective administrations. “Infrastructure is something that’s going to be key in a Stitt administration,” the Republican candidate said. “I talk about being top 10 and being…Read More

Trump signs law to punish websites for trafficking

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at penalizing website operators that facilitate online sex trafficking and chipping away at a legal protection for the technology industry. The law is intended to make it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that kept exploitative material…Read More

Trump to pick Catholic lawyer as White House counsel

President Donald Trump has reportedly chosen a Catholic lawyer, Pat Cipollone, to replace White House counsel Donald McGhan. In addition to his professional work, Cipollone serves on the board of directors for the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., and co-founded the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in 2004. According to a Washington Post report published…Read More

School consolidation remains tough political sell

Oklahoma has too many school districts and could save nearly $30 million if it had a number of districts more in line with states of similar size, according to a policy paper recently published by an education professor. In a report titled “Right-sizing Oklahoma Districts,” James Machell, dean of the University of Central Oklahoma College…Read More

Oklahoma begins new era of alcohol availability

[As of Monday], grocery stores and convenience stores across the state are selling their first bottles of wine and cases of strong beer. Liquor stores are turning on coolers to refrigerate products previously sold at room temperature. Mergers and acquisitions between distributors within the state become official — the landscape has changed. All of these…Read More

USCCB Applauds Cancellation of FDA Fetal Tissue Contract

Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement today applauding initial steps taken by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to terminate a Food and Drug Administration contract to purchase aborted baby parts for research, but urging…Read More

Candidates for Governor Square Off in Debate

The Democrat trying to capture the governor’s seat in Oklahoma said Monday his government experience is a benefit, but he also quickly pointed out that it’s been eight years since he’s held office in the red state where a dozen incumbents have already lost primary elections this year. Drew Edmondson, a 71-year-old former attorney general…Read More

Oklahoman: Dueling faith campaigns focus on abortion

In a Bible Belt state known for its anti-abortion leanings, billboards touting a faith-based abortion-rights message may cause more than one Oklahoma motorist to do a double take. “People of faith love those who have abortions” and “God loves those who have abortions” are messages featured on eight billboards from a new Oklahoma Call for…Read More

Congressman Russell Assumes Nat’l Security Oversight Chair

A congressional retirement has resulted in U.S. Rep. Steve Russell receiving his first subcommittee chairmanship and better positioned him to take over a headline-grabbing committee. Of course, any potential future committee chairmanship is contingent on Republicans keeping control of the House and Russell winning reelection in November. Russell will chair a House Oversight and Government…Read More

SCOTUS Rejects Appeal from Catholic Social Services

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Wednesday to compel the city of Philadelphia to resume working with Catholic Social Services (CSS) for the placement of foster children. In March, Philadelphia officials announced the city would no longer work with CSS for foster care placement, citing the group’s unwillingness to place foster children with same-sex couples due…Read More

OK Primary Run-off, Winners, Losers and Nail-biters

Oklahoma’s Republican runoff races for attorney general as well as state auditor and inspector appeared neck and neck during most of Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Republican runoff elections for lieutenant governor, superintendent of public instruction and the Democrat runoff for corporation commissioner featured margins of victory well into the double digits. Results listed below are…Read More

After 95 Years, NY State Forces Catholic Adoption Closure

Adoption and foster services through Catholic Charities of Buffalo are ending because state rules do not allow the agency to maintain its practice of only placing children in homes with a mother and a father. “Because Catholic Charities cannot simultaneously comply with state regulations and conform to the teaching of the Catholic Church on the…Read More

Opinion: Should Oklahoma Kill the Primary Runoff?

August will be a pivotal month for Oklahoma politics, with likely a record number of candidates facing off in runoff primary elections. Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians will decide their nominees on Aug. 28 in nine statewide races and more than two dozen legislative and congressional contests. But if the past is any indication, far fewer…Read More

Doctors Want Stricter Rules on Medical Marijuana

Two medical professionals — one a former state representative — told a legislative working group Wednesday that they favor stricter medical marijuana regulations. But 11 residents who addressed the working group in public comments afterward contended that the physicians’ comments prove they simply aren’t knowledgeable about the benefits of cannabis. Former Rep. Doug Cox, a…Read More

Marijuana State Question Can’t Make November Ballot

Two proposed state questions concerning legalized marijuana will not make the November general election ballot, Secretary of State James Williamson confirmed Tuesday, even if the petitions have enough signatures. “The biggest impediment was clearly the publication notice which requires 10 business days,” Williamson said Tuesday, acknowledging that time no longer remains before Aug. 27, the…Read More

Bipartisan Coalition Leads Effort to Reduce Sentences

A bipartisan coalition is campaigning to reduce the sentences for dozens of people serving time for crimes that no longer carry such severe punishments following criminal justice reform efforts in Oklahoma. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, a group of law enforcement, lawmakers and business and community leaders, is assisting with what the group considers to…Read More

Russell Participates in Roundtable Discussion on DACA

Congressman Steve Russell joined a roundtable discussion in Oklahoma City Thursday focused on the future of DACA recipients. Russell supports a permanent solution from Congress to keep the DACA program going and preventing the deportation of thousands of people who were brought to the U.S. by their families without documentation. The discussion was held by…Read More

OU, OSU: No Medical Marijuana on Campus

Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma are telling students that even if they become licensed medical marijuana patients in the state’s new legal program, they may not possess or use marijuana on campus. According to a joint news release from OSU and OU, it is because the schools receive federal funding that they…Read More

Cannabis Activists Allege Fake Petition Numbers

The campaign gathering signatures to put recreational marijuana on the ballot grossly inflated its totals in the weeks before turning them over to state officials, a former Green the Vote board member said Monday. Dody Sullivan, who said she left the organization a week ago, said the signature count for State Question 797 on July…Read More

Ballot Question Will Change School Funding Regs

A state question approved by the legislature that would allow school districts to use property tax revenue for teacher pay will be on the November ballot. On Thursday, Gov. Fallin issued an election proclamation that places State Question 801 on the November ballot. State Question 801 would give local school boards the flexibility and options…Read More

Oklahoma Celebrates First Feast Day of Blessed Stanley Rother

On Saturday, parishes across Oklahoma will celebrate the first feast day of the first U.S. born martyr, Blessed Stanley Rother, marking the 37 anniversary of his death. Special masses, relic veneration services, and other events will take place throughout the Oklahoma City-area on the weekend of July 28. Catholics from Guatemala, where Rother served as…Read More

Lankford Joins Senators in Urging President to Keep Families Together

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Susan Collins (R-ME) today sent a letter to President Trump, signed by a bipartisan group of more than two dozen senators, stating that the default position of the United States should be to keep families together. The letter is the first bipartisan statement…Read More

Study: Poll Showing Support for Roe v. Wade Is Misleading

A recent poll suggesting widespread support for Roe v. Wade fails to account for the misinformation surrounding the 1973 Supreme Court decision, said the head of a prominent pro-life group this week. “Polling can only be as accurate as the information available to respondents,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of the pro-life group Americans United for…Read More

Recreational Marijuana Unlikely to Make Nov. Ballot

It is highly unlikely that two additional marijuana state questions will make the Nov. 6 general election ballot, Oklahoma Secretary of State James Williamson said Monday. State law allows for a protest to be filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and “if a protest is filed, it is virtually impossible,” he said. State Question 796…Read More

Judge: Catholic Agency Must Adopt to Same-sex Couples

A federal judge has swept away claims of religious discrimination by plaintiffs including Catholic Social Services of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and ruled the church agency must provide home assessments for same-sex couples wishing to provide foster care for at-risk children in Philadelphia. The Catholic agency’s leadership testified in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia that doing…Read More

Tenn. Bishops Speak Out Against Executions

The bishops of Tennessee issued a letter to the state’s governor Friday, encouraging him to halt upcoming executions expected to use a controversial three-drug lethal injection. “It is within your power to establish your legacy as a governor of Tennessee who did not preside over an execution on your watch,” the bishops wrote July 13…Read More

5th Circuit Blocks Order Against TX Catholic Conference

A federal court of appeals sided with the Texas Catholic bishops in a July 15 ruling blocking a request from abortion groups to access the bishops’ private communications regarding abortion. “Hitting churches with subpoenas to win the culture wars was a bad idea from the start,” said Eric Rassbach, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, which represents the…Read More

House Committee Moves to Protect Faith-based Adoption

The House Appropriations Committee moved to protect the conscience rights and religious freedom of faith-based adoption agencies on Wednesday. The committee adopted an amendment to an upcoming funding bill that would preserve federal funding for agencies who do not want to place children with same-sex couples. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL).…Read More

Fallin Approves Controversial Rules on Medical Marijuana

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed emergency rules regulating Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry a day after they were introduced by the State Board of Health. Although the industry said more regulations were needed to ensure the new law could be effectively implemented, her decision Wednesday set off a firestorm of commentary about controversial provisions that were…Read More

Confirmation Battle Heats Up Over Kavanaugh for SCOTUS

President Donald Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh, a solidly conservative, politically connected judge, for the Supreme Court, setting up a ferocious confirmation battle with Democrats as he seeks to shift the nation’s highest court ever further to the right. A favorite of the Republican legal establishment in Washington, Kavanaugh, 53, is a former law clerk for…Read More

Nov. Ballot: New Petition Pushes for Recreational Marijuana

Amid efforts to establish a new medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma, activists want to enshrine the right to use marijuana — both for medical purposes and recreationally — in the state constitution. Green the Vote, headed by Tulsan Isaac Caviness, is promoting two state questions — 796 and 797 — of which it filed notice…Read More

Trump Promises SCOTUS Nominee on July 9th

President Trump says he will begin interviewing potential Supreme Court justices today and that he intends to officially nominate his candidate to the nation’s highest court in just one week. If this timeline plays out, Mr. Trump will have named his nominee ahead of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, which goes into effect on July 31.…Read More

Justice Kennedy’s Retirement and the Future of Roe

As if this week’s elections were not enough for political intrigue, on Wednesday Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement for the U.S. Supreme Court. This eventuality had been rumored for more than a year. His departure sets up a cataclysmic battle in the U.S. Senate over the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee, which has the…Read More

SQ788 Passes Overwhelmingly, Time for Regulations

The big story from the June 26th primary was the overwhelming approval by voters of SQ788. We had hopes that the swing by Republican voters in the last few weeks would push numbers into the ‘no’ category. But there was no way to model for the deluge of voters who showed up to vote on…Read More

Supreme Court Protects Calif. Pregnancy Centers’ Free Speech

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 protecting a pregnancy center’s right to serve women and children according to their religious mission. In National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, the pregnancy centers pushed back against a 2015 California law that targeted pro-life clinics, forcing them to advertise messaging regarding abortion…Read More

US Bishops Call for Protection of Immigrant Families, Dreamers

The United States bishops have asked Congress to compromise on immigration reform to give legal protections for undocumented youth, known as “Dreamers,” and ensure respect for human dignity and families at U.S. borders. A June 19 letter to the House of Representatives stated that the bishops cannot endorse changes to the immigration system that “detrimentally…Read More

Pope Francis Likens Abortion to Nazi Eugenics

Pope Francis likened abortion to Nazi eugenics practiced “with white gloves,” and said the only real families are those based on marriage between a man and a woman, using uncharacteristically blunt language on two controversial moral issues. Addressing an Italian family association on Saturday, the pope equated the contemporary termination of pregnancies in response to…Read More

Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk: The Smoke over Medical Marijuana

A comprehensive 2015 scientific review found medical marijuana to be useful only for a small number of medical conditions. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an international team of researchers found scant evidence to support broad claims for the drug’s effectiveness. Although clinical trials showed that chronic neuropathic pain and cancer-related pain could…Read More

Study: Catholic School Correlates With Students’ Self-control

Catholic elementary school students, regardless of race, sex, or socioeconomic status, have more self-control and self-discipline than their peers enrolled in either public schools or non-Catholic private schools, a recent study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found. The study examined two surveys of the behavior of thousands of elementary school students enrolled in public,…Read More

Poll: Oklahoma Voters Support Education Choice

According to a new statewide survey of 502 likely Oklahoma voters commissioned by OCPA and conducted by Cor Strategies (margin of error: plus/minus 4.37 percent), Oklahomans support the idea of letting tax dollars follow the child to the school of their parents’ choice. Any poll, of course, is only a snapshot of public opinion at the…Read More

SCOTUS Rules 7-2 in Favor of Christian Cake Baker

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of the Christian baker in Colorado who refused to bake a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Writing the opinion for the 7–2 majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission infringed on baker Jack Phillips’s rights in ruling that he violated the Colorado anti-discrimination…Read More

Dr. Kevin Taubman Issues Statement on SQ788, Med-Marijuana

Oklahomans must realize this upcoming ballot is a vote on Oklahoma State Question (SQ) 788, NOT true Medical Marijuana as advertised. This is a bad public health policy and that does not resemble a legitimate medical treatment program. If passed, this legislation will create a flawed framework that effectively is a shell bill for recreational…Read More

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Arkansas Abortion Law

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to a controversial Arkansas abortion law blocking medication-induced abortions. The law, passed in 2015, says that any physician who “gives, sells, dispenses, administers, or otherwise provides or proscribes the abortion-inducing drug” shall have to have a contract with a physician who has admitting privileges at a nearby…Read More

Court Orders End to Abortion-Pill Mandate for Christian Universities

A federal district court issued an order Tuesday that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate against four Christian universities in Oklahoma represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. The order also declares that the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Obama-era mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or…Read More

Catholic Conference Joins Coalition Against SQ788

A coalition of medical professionals, law enforcement officials, business leaders and members of the faith community filed papers Tuesday with Oklahoma’s Ethics Commission to formally oppose State Question 788 in hopes of defeating it. The name of this new coalition is ‘SQ 788 is Not Medical.’ Organizations signing on include the Oklahoma Medical Association, Catholic…Read More

Oklahoma Bishops Praise Protections for Adoption Agencies

With the signing of a bill preserving the religious freedom of adoption agencies in Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin drew praise from the state’s Catholic bishops. “We are grateful for Gov. Fallin’s support of religious liberty in Oklahoma. The new law will bring more adoption services to the state and allow crucial faith-based agencies to continue…Read More

NM Supreme Court Considers Textbook Funding for Private Schools

A 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision has given new life to New Mexico backers of state funding for private school textbooks, as their case returns to the state Supreme Court. “Ending the textbook lending program will disproportionately hurt low-income and minority children, at a time when they need access to a quality education more than…Read More

President Trump Signs Order for Stronger Faith Voice in Government

In front of a small crowd of cabinet members and religious leaders at the White House Rose Garden May 3, President Donald Trump announced, and then signed, an executive order giving faith-based groups a stronger voice in the federal government. “It’s a great day,” he said after signing the order and passing out pens to…Read More

Iowa Governor Signs Fetal Heartbeat Bill Into Law

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Friday afternoon signed into law the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, which prohibits doctors from performing an abortion after the detection of the baby’s heartbeat. The law would require any women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound to determine whether a fetal heartbeat can be detected, a milestone usually detected…Read More

Gov. Fallin Signs Key Pro-life Bill Into Law

On Thursday, Gov. Fallin signed Senate Bill 1267 into law. The bill passed out of the full House by an overwhelming vote of 77-12 last week. Authored by Sen. Greg Treat (R-OKC) and Rep. Kevin Calvey, (R-OKC), the law prohibits a medical provider from receiving Medicaid funds through the state if that medical provider has…Read More

Adoption Protection Bill Passes, Awaits Governor’s Signature

While many Oklahomans were on their drive home from work Thursday evening, the Oklahoma House of Representatives was still in session working quickly through the remaining bills before an official sine die, concluding business for the year. Among the final bills to be considered was the controversial faith-adoption protection measure, for which the Catholic Conference…Read More

Faith-Adoption Protection Bill Wins Huge Vote, But…

Sen. Greg Treat’s SB1140, designed to create legal protections for faith-based adoption agencies, won a huge victory on Thursday when it advanced out from the full House with an overwhelming 60-26 vote. House author Rep. Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville) presented and defended the bill against relentless attacks from opponents. Unfortunately, the bill was passed with an…Read More

Key Pro-life Bill Wins House Approval, Awaits Signing

Senate Bill 1267, authored by Sen. Greg Treat (R-OKC) and Rep. Kevin Calvey, (R-OKC), passed out of the full House by an overwhelming vote of 77-12. The bill prohibits a medical provider from receiving Medicaid funds through the state if that medical provider has trafficked (or is associated with any organization that has trafficked) aborted…Read More

Opposing Gay Marriage Earns Florist Death Threats and Million-Dollar Lawsuits

When Barronelle Stutzman took a stand for her Christian beliefs nearly five years ago, she never imagined that she would eventually be appealing to the US Supreme Court to defend her decision. But that’s exactly what happened. “This was never on my bucket list,” Barronelle told Catholic News Agency. The 72-year-old grandmother is the owner…Read More

New Utah Law Promotes Marriage Through Prep Classes

Utah is encouraging its citizens to better prepare for marriage by discounting the cost of marriage licenses for couples who complete marriage preparation classes. The law, signed March 20 by Utah Governor Gary Herbert, will discount marriage licenses by $20 for couples who complete at least three hours of premarital counseling or six hours of…Read More

Appeals Court Blocks Ohio Law Defunding Planned Parenthood

An Ohio law which blocked federal taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood clinics in the state was struck down by a federal appeals court on Wednesday. The law, which was signed by Governor John Kasich in 2016, prohibited federal taxpayer money from going to clinics that perform abortions in the state of Ohio. That money, about…Read More

Hundreds of Students Participate In National Pro-life Walkout

Inspired by recent student walkouts over gun control, hundreds of high school and college students across the US took part in a pro-life walkout on Wednesday. According to pro-life group Students for Life of America (SFLA), more than 400 students and student organizations told SFLA that they planned on participating in the April 11 walkout,…Read More

Key Pro-life Bill Approved in House Committee

Senate Bill 1267, authored by Treat and Rep. Kevin Calvey, (R-OKC), passed out of the House Rules Committee 7-2. The bill prohibits a medical provider from receiving Medicaid funds through the state if that medical provider has trafficked in baby body parts. Tony Lauinger, State Chairman of Oklahomans for Life, detailed, “[The bill harkens] to…Read More

Faith-Based Adoption Protection Bill Wins Key Victory

Sen. Greg Treat’s SB1140, designed to create legal protections for faith-based adoption agencies, won a huge victory on Thursday when it advanced out of the House Judiciary committee with an overwhelming 13-6 vote. House author Rep. Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville) presented and defended the bill against aggressive attacks from opponents. After one of the bill’s lead…Read More

Facebook Apologizes for Blocking Steubenville’s Ad

Facebook has apologized for what it called a “mistake” in rejecting a theology ad from Franciscan University of Steubenville, on the grounds that an image of the cross was too violent and sensational. “Your image, video thumbnail or video can’t contain shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content,” was Facebook’s response, according Tom Crowe, web communications…Read More

Founder of 40 Days for Life Enters Catholic Church on Easter

David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, entered the Catholic Church on Easter, giving thanks for the inspiration of influential Catholics, including his wife and children. “After years of prayer, discernment, and a whole lot of wrestling with God, I was received into full communion with the Catholic Church at last night’s Easter…Read More

Catholic Benefits Association Wins Reprieve in HHS Lawsuit

In a major victory for the First Amendment right to religious freedom, a federal judge has ruled in favor of Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) members, issuing declaratory relief and a permanent injunction against the Obamacare CASC (contraception, abortifacient, sterilization, and related counseling) Mandate. The ruling also eliminates $6.9 billion in fines that have accumulated against…Read More

CCO Hosts Catholic Legislators Caucus, Nationally Renowned Speaker

On Holy Thursday, the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma hosted its inaugural event for the Catholic Legislators Caucus in the Governor’s Blue Room at the state capitol. Joining both Archbishop Coakley and Bishop Konderla were multiple Catholic members of the State Senate and House of Representatives along with Catholic lobbyists, clergy, diocesan and lay leaders. Attendees were treated…Read More

Gubernatorial candidates react to state’s poor rankings

The Oklahoman reached out to gubernatorial candidates this week to gauge their reaction to the newspaper’s series exploring the state’s poor rankings and outcomes in the areas of health, education, mental health and incarceration. Titled “The STATE of Oklahoma,” the yearlong series will look at why Oklahoma ranks among the worst — if not the…Read More

USCCB Disappointed by Congress’ Failure on Conscience Protection Act

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chair of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, reacted with deep disappointment to the news that a very modest but critical piece of legislation—the Conscience Protection Act—was not…Read More

Critical Bills Move Forward on Life and Adoption Rights

Newly-elected President Pro Tempore Greg Treat is the author of an important faith-based adoption protection bill, SB1140, which allows faith-based adoption agencies to continue operating according to their principles of faith without fear of legal threat. The bill passed out of the Senate on Tuesday 35-9 with two Democrats defecting to vote for it. It…Read More

USCCB urges support for ‘First Amendment Defense Act’

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, gave their strong support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which was recently introduced by Sen. Mike Lee…Read More

Victory: State Senate Votes Overwhelmingly for Adoption Protection

Legislation to preserve the religious freedom of faith-based adoption agencies in Oklahoma took an important step toward becoming law Tuesday (March 13) with the support of national and state Baptist leaders. The Oklahoma Senate voted 35-9 for Senate Bill 1140, a proposal that would protect private organizations from being required to take part in the…Read More

Breaking: Christian student group back in from cold

News outlets broke the announcement that a Christian student group was—at least temporarily—allowed back on campus just two days after the group asked a federal court to protect its right to choose leaders who affirm its faith. In InterVarsity Christian Fellowship v. Wayne State University, a Christian student group, which had been on campus for 75 years, was derecognized by Michigan-based Wayne State University because…Read More

Sen. Lankford Introduces Conscience Protection Act

This week, the House will consider legislation to protect health care providers that decline to be involved in abortions as a matter of conscience. Introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), it’s called the Conscience Protection Act and here’s what you need to know about it. Why is the Conscience Protection Act so important? There is…Read More

Early Pro-life Victories, Two Bills Head to House Floor

This week’s slate of bills supported by the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma include two important pro-life measures: House Bill 3676 and House Bill 3447. HB3676 facilitates the provision of federal or state funds to pro-life pregnancy resource centers. And HB3447 prohibits the state from granting Medicaid funding to any health-care provider that has failed to report statutory rape…Read More

Private Scholarship Bills Fail By Razor Thin Margins

Oklahoma’s Opportunity Scholarship Fund was dealt a disappointing defeat this week in both chambers of the state legislature. House Bill 3537 and Senate Bill 1384 proposed to raise the cap on private donations to the fund that qualify for state tax credits from the current $5 million limit. Both measures would also have added an…Read More

‘Defund Human Trafficking’ Bill Passes Out of Committee

This week was crunch-time for legislators as multiple committees in both chambers of the state legislature heard dozens of bills ahead of the March 1 deadline for committee work. Among the bills supported by the Catholic Conference is Sen. Greg Treat’s ‘Defund Human Trafficking’ bill, SB 1267. If passed, the law would prohibit Medicaid funding…Read More

Federal Court Orders Restoration of DACA Program

A federal judge in New York ruled Tuesday that the government must restart the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals deportation amnesty, adding more weight to the legal case against President Trump’s phaseout of the program just as Congress is debating the fate of “Dreamers” on Capitol Hill. Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis said the administration…Read More

Sen. Lankford Outlines Republican Senate DACA Solution

Oklahoma’s junior Sen. James Lankford joined MSNBC to outline a proposal on a solution for the so-called DREAMers, young immigrants who came to the United States as children while accompanying their parents. The debate continues to generate debate on both sides of the aisle as neither party to-date has been willing to reconcile a path…Read More

USCCB Praises Trump Admin for Restoring Pro-Life Policy

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, thanked and praised the Trump Administration following release of its six-month report showing early signs of successful implementation of an expanded Mexico City Policy aptly renamed Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance. Continue reading…

2018 Rose Day Draws Standing Room-Only Crowd to Capitol

Rose Day, the annual sanctity-of-life, anti-abortion rally and outreach, draw the faithful from across the state to the State Capitol on Wednesday. People presented their elected leaders with red roses to show their concern about sanctity-of-life issues. The roses symbolized the sanctity of the unborn, and by distributing the flowers to their legislators, Rose Day…Read More

School choice advocates look for another year of expansion

Unable to gain large-scale advances in the Oklahoma Legislature over the last few years, school choice advocates have instead focused on small gains that have slowly expanded the state’s voucher program to specific student groups. Launched in 2010, the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program offered state funding for children with special needs to attend private…Read More

Gov. Mary Fallin Delivers Final State of the State Address

Oklahoma’s elected state politicians should find budgetary compromise to avoid more chaos, Gov. Mary Fallin said in her final State of the State address Monday. Fallin’s remarks pulled into focus the results of inaction, and consequences of continuing to fill budget holes with one-time sources of revenue. “One path would be to continue year after…Read More

David Brooks: The Abortion Memo

To: Democratic Party Leaders From: Imaginary Democratic Consultant Re: Late-Term Abortions Dear Democratic Leaders, Last week I watched as our senators voted down the Republican bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. Our people hung together. Only three Democrats voted with the other side. Yet as I was watching I kept wondering: How…Read More

Celebrate National Catholic Schools Week: Jan 28 – Feb 3

National Catholic Schools Week 2018 (CSW) will be observed in dioceses around the country January 28–February 3. This year’s theme, “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.,” focuses on the important spiritual, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education. As Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the U. S. Conference…Read More

Oklahoma’s payday loan usage rate is highest in nation

Elise Robillard was desperate for a quick cash infusion the first time she walked into a payday lending store. A long-term substitute teacher and mother of two young children, Robillard’s tires were bald, and she couldn’t afford to replace them. So she turned to small, short-term payday advances thinking they would keep her afloat. The…Read More

March for Life 2018 Draws More Than 100,000 Prolifers

Considering they were protesting what they call “the greatest human rights violation of our time,” the crowd that gathered on the National Mall Friday morning for the March for Life was oddly upbeat. Church and school groups who had traveled across the country to show their opposition to 45 years of legal abortion in America…Read More

Adoption Agency Protection Bill Modeled After Virginia Law

Sen. Greg Treat (R-OKC) filed a bill this week designed to offer legal protection for private adoption agencies. The bill provides specific protections from future state regulations that may force faith-based agencies to violate their mission. A similar bill recently passed in the state of Virginia, which was written to prevent the forced closure of…Read More

Senate Bill Filed to End Funding for Trafficking of Fetal Body Parts

Senate Bill 1267, authored by Sen. Greg Treat (R-OKC), proposes to cut state health care funding for Oklahoma organizations or those affiliated with any out-of-state organizations that have been involved in the illegal sale of fetal remains from abortion procedures. The bill formally creates the Defunding Human Trafficking Act, which specifically provides that certain eligibility requirements…Read More

There are 3.6M ‘DREAMers’ — a number far greater than commonly known

The political debate over the fate of “DREAMers” — undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — has overlooked just how many there are in the country today: about 3.6 million. That number of people whose lives risk being uprooted is not widely known, in large part because so much public attention has been focused recently on 800,000 mostly young DREAMers accepted…Read More

Budget Negotiations: Oil groups support Step Up Oklahoma

Leaders of two Oklahoma oil and gas associations on Tuesday announced their support for a slate of reform and revenue measures advocated by a coalition of Oklahoma civic and business leaders called Step Up Oklahoma. Tuesday’s endorsements came from the board of directors of the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association and the executive committee of…Read More

Vatican Newspaper: Trump Comments ‘Harsh, Offensive’

In its continuing coverage of the U.S. immigration debate, the Vatican newspaper noted media reports that President Donald Trump “used particularly harsh and offensive words about immigrants” from several countries. “No agreement on Dreamers” was the headline on the lead story for L’Osservatore Romano’s edition dated Jan. 13 and published late Jan. 12. In the…Read More

Archbishop Gomez: Ending DACA will lead to ‘humanitarian crisis’

Congress must separate “the conversation about DACA” from the “larger issues” about U.S. immigration policy, because allowing the program to expire will lead “to a humanitarian crisis,” especially in Los Angeles, said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez. “As a nation, we have a moral and humanitarian obligation to the ‘Dreamers.’ These young people have done nothing…Read More

Catholic groups decry end of immigration protection for Salvadorans

As the Catholic Church in the U.S. began observing National Migration Week, a time to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, refugees, and human trafficking victims, the administration of President Donald Trump announced that it would end an immigration program for thousands of Salvadorans, one of the largest groups of modern-day immigrants in the…Read More

Churches no longer exempt from FEMA disaster aid

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is revising its policies to no longer exclude houses of worship from applying for federal aid to recover from damages caused by natural disasters. The policy change was outlined in the agency’s revised 217-page manual: “Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide” issued Jan. 2. This change is not just for…Read More

RCP: Assisted Suicide Is No Choice At All

Assisted suicide laws in the United States have all passed based on the assumption that a terminally ill person has less than six months to live. But the experience of many diagnosed with terminal illnesses force us to ask: What if this assumption is wrong? The reality is that, when tasked with predicting a patient’s…Read More

Investigations On Health Department To Continue

A State House of Representatives Investigative Committee is looking into the misspending of at least $30-million at the Department of Health. Last week, the department announced it is laying off almost 200 workers. The committee met for more than 8 hours, trying to figure out how the Department of Health could misappropriate the cash over…Read More

Governor Fallin Announces Second Special Session

Governor Mary Fallin is calling a second special session December 18. She made the announcement Thursday evening, just one day after she told us she would wait until after December 20 to make her decision. Lawmakers say the decision will likely interfere with their holiday plans. They’re wondering, why not wait till after the new…Read More

Education Savings Amendment to Tax Reform Is Big Win for Families

On Friday night, the United States Senate passed their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, better known as tax reform. Only one additive floor amendment made it into the bill. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offered an amendment to make 529 education savings accounts even more useful than today. 529 accounts up until now…Read More

Federal Judge Kills TX Law to Prevent Pain-Capable Abortions

A federal judge strikes down a state law intended to mitigate cruelty to unborn children in late-term abortions. In Texas, legislators are attempting to enshrine in law their conviction that, if unborn children must be killed in abortions, they deserve to be spared as much pain as possible. These unborn children, Texas lawmakers believe, do…Read More

Taxpayer-funded abortion law met with Illinois lawsuit

A new Illinois law requiring public funding of elective abortions is opposed by pro-life groups and taxpayers who have sued the state, calling the measure illegal. “The people of Illinois totally reject taxpayer-funded abortions,” said Peter Breen, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society, a non-profit legal group in Chicago, in a statement released Thursday.…Read More

US tax reform bill could repeal Johnson Amendment

The Johnson Amendment, a 1954 provision which prohibits churches and nonprofit groups from making public endorsements of political candidates, could be repealed through the tax reform bill currently in the US Senate. The repeal was packaged into the bill which passed the House a few weeks ago, but has yet to be approved by the…Read More

Is the FBI preparing to investigate Planned Parenthood?

An FBI request for un-redacted Planned Parenthood documents from the U.S. Senate could signal an investigation into whether the abortion giant illegally sold fetal tissue from aborted babies. The request was made to the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) referred Planned Parenthood and several other organizations that perform abortions to the…Read More

Object to abortion? You might need this law, Congressman says

Washington D.C., Nov 8, 2017 / 05:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pro-life health care workers and institutions need stronger legal protections from pressure to help provide abortions, backers of proposed federal legislation have said. “Healthcare is about saving life, eradicating disease, mitigating disability —not taking life,” U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said Nov. 8. “At the…Read More

WashPo: Legalizing assisted suicide has stalled at every level

Three years ago, Brittany Maynard’s viral video launched the issue of medically assisted suicide into the national spotlight. But while advocates have notched a few wins since then, they’ve also run up against some strong, bipartisan resistance. Two states — California and Colorado — have made it legal for doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to…Read More

Tulsa World: Bishops Call Lankford’s SUCCEED Good First Step

Our nation has grappled with the difficult issue of immigration for hundreds of years, struggling to manage the sometimes rapid change in demographics. Throughout the decades, we have wrestled with a profound question: How do we protect our citizens and remain a nation of laws while respecting the inherent dignity of each human person? U.S.…Read More

OK Catholic bishops praise Lankford’s Succeed Act

Leaders of the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma recently praised a recent measure introduced by U.S. Sen. James Lankford as a “legislative remedy” for children of immigrants. Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, drafted the measure, entitled the Succeed Act, following President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the previous administration’s…Read More

Trump administration expands exemptions on contraceptive mandate

The Trump administration Oct. 6 issued interim rules expanding the exemption to the contraceptive mandate for religious employers, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, who object on moral grounds to covering contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and devices in their employee health insurance. Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops praised the action…Read More

Why Bigger [Families] Might Be Easier

In the National Marriage Project’s exhaustive 2011 “State of Our Unions” report, a sidebar among the analyses and graphs draws attention to a subset social scientists tend to ignore in their ubiquitous research on marriage and parenting: big families. Noted researcher Alan Hawkins explains the dearth in blunt terms: “There’s not a lot of research…Read More

Dissolve the Dead? Controversy Swirls around Liquid Cremation

Eight times a year a funeral director sets off by boat from Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base carrying about two dozen plastic bags filled with unusual human remains. The powder he pours overboard is from corpses that have been “cremated”—not by fire, but by liquid. That’s how the University of California, Los Angeles, disposes of…Read More

Pope urges respect for the life and dignity of migrants, refugees

With millions of people fleeing violence, persecution and poverty around the globe, individual nations must expand options that make it possible for migrants and refugees to cross their borders safely and legally, Pope Francis said. “The principle of the centrality of the human person, firmly stated by my beloved predecessor, Benedict XVI, obliges us to…Read More