Pastor Bill Ledbetter of the Fairview Baptist Church in Durant delivered a sermon Thursday that left many Oklahoma state senators fuming.
Sponsored by Republican Sen. Josh Brecheen, Ledbetter said that recent tragedies such as the school shooting in Parkland, Florida and devastating hurricanes were a product of the wrath of God, and that God needs to get the country's attention.
“Do we really believe we can create immorality in our laws?” he asked. “Do we really believe we can redefine marriage from the word of God to something in our own mind and there not be a response? Do we really believe we can tell God to get lost from our schools and our halls of legislation and there be no response? Do we really believe that?”
Ledbetter said political correctness cloaks its strategy in tolerance while at the same time seeking to overcome the traditional moral values of the nation that support family, patriotism, work, liberty, labor and freedom of conscience.
The pastor took aim at the separation of church and state as well:
Ledbetter also touched on the court-ordered removal of the privately funded Ten Commandments monument from the state Capitol grounds.
“We want God to bless us, but God, get your word off our Capitol lawn,” he said. “But, oh, by the way, God, please make us prosperous.”
It is the custom of the Oklahoma Senate to open each day of the session with an invocation, and it is also customary for the pastor to give a short sermon on the last day of the legislative week.
Regardless of legislative custom, not all of the lawmakers were pleased with Ledbetter's preaching:
Senate Minority Leader John Sparks, D-Norman, called the sermon “hateful,” adding that it promoted Ledbetter’s “personal political agenda.”
“There is no place for intolerance and hate in the Senate Chamber or anywhere else in Oklahoma,” Sparks said. “As senators, we were elected to serve all people in Oklahoma, and we should not condone or encourage divisive rhetoric which targets any Oklahoman.”