Minister's Remarks Generate Controversy
By Jerry Bohnen/NewsRadio 1000 KTOK ~ The lengthy invocation by a Shawnee minister at this week's State House oath of office delivered to new and re-elected Representatives left some of the legislators upset over what they felt were apologies to Native Americans and illegal immigrants in the state.
|Rep. Randy Terrill|
leads those unhappy
|Rev. James Hewett|
As the Reverend Hewett spoke of those who live in Oklahoma, he explained some came to Oklahoma by forced re-locations against their will. "To those we say, "we're sorry for what our fore parents did to your fore bearers," said the minister in written remarks made available by the State House.
The minister asked that God enlighten the legislators so they don't victimize the Tribal peoples of Oklahoma. He also referred to illegal immigrants, referring to them as those who 'dwell and work in our land, but it has yet to become their land--they're aliens in our midst'. "Give wisdom, sensitivity to curcumstances, and compassion to our legislators for these who labor and live among us without appropriate authorization," continued the minister.
"May Oklahoma become a model for our nation of just, fair, and functional policies for immigration."
The legislators were expected to talk again last night as they decided how to handle the remarks.
"It's a common practice that the remarks of a minister are supposed to be neutral," explained one. "And they're not supposed to refer to any issue that's before the legislature."