toddler uggs sex marriage dominated state religion news in 2014
A satanic black mass, an attack on Islam by a state representative and legalization of same sex marriage were among the best read religion stories in Oklahoma this year.
An Oklahoma City satanist drew national attention to the state capital this summer when he got approval to hold a satanic mass at the publicly owned civic center.
A handful of people attended the mass, but thousands of people in Oklahoma City and Tulsa protested, through letters, emails and special services. Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa held a Catholic Mass at the same time, followed by a march through downtown in protest.
The satanic mass brought attention to a little known Christian ministry, exorcism. Among the protesters to the black mass was the exorcist for the Diocese of Tulsa, who said Tulsa was one of three cities where exorcists are trained for the Roman Catholic Church in America.
A New York satanic group also made headlines by applying to the state for a permit to install a monument to Satan on the Capitol grounds, an apparent reaction to the installation of a Ten Commandments monument there.
State Rep. John Bennett, R Sallisaw, published social media warnings about what he calls the dangers of Islam. When Tulsa interfaith organizations demanded that he retract the statements and apologize, he refused. He held public meetings in Sallisaw and Muskogee with lengthy presentations about the history and beliefs of Islam, in which he called Islam a cancer that needs to be cut out and a socio political system intent on world domination.
In reaction to Bennett, interfaith and church groups stood outside the Al Salam Mosque in Tulsa to greet Muslims coming out of a Friday service and to show their support. government said it did not consider CAIR a terrorist group.
Earlier in the year, Jenks Public Schools stopped showing a documentary on the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City after the Oklahoma branch of CAIR protested that the film suggested that Islamic terrorists might have been involved. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a Muslim teen who was denied a job with a Tulsa Abercrombie Fitch store because she wore a hijab, a head covering.
In other Islam related news, a team of Tulsa doctors went to northern Iraq to help people displaced from their homes by ISIS, also called the Islamic State group, and Muslims here and across the nation made public statements condemning the actions of ISIS.
A Muslim convert to Christianity sued the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tulsa for publishing news of his baptism online, which he said caused him to be abducted, tortured and nearly killed on a visit to his native Syria. Supreme Court in effect legalized same sex marriage in Oklahoma and four other states by deciding to leave in place lower court decisions, same sex marriage ceremonies began immediately, and churches scrambled to determine how that would affect them.
Presbyteries are voting now on whether to change the PC USAs constitution to define marriage as between two people, instead of between a man and a woman. Eastern Oklahoma Presbyterian churches voted against the change. Voting will continue into next year.
In advocating for the change, the Rev. Todd Freeman, pastor of College Hill Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, announced publicly for the first time that he is gay.
Hobby Lobby, the Oklahoma based mega retailer, won its lawsuit against the federal government over whether the health care reform law can require it to provide its employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives that it considers abortifacients, in violation of Hobby Lobby owners religious beliefs. Supreme Court and had national implications for the new law.
Other faith related Oklahoma news in 2014:
Tulsa ministries stepped up to aid people in west African nations hit by Ebola, while two Liberian girls were stranded in Tulsa, apart from their mother, by the epidemic.
The Oklahoma Free Thought Convention was held in downtown Tulsa, as nons, people without religious affiliation, made their voices heard.
Climate change was debated in the faith community. All Souls Unitarian Church sponsored public forums and a public march down Riverside Drive. Joy Lutheran Church installed solar panels.