An Oklahoma state lawmaker introduced a bill last week that would officially designate Oklahoma's wildlife as "the property of Almighty God" — instead of the property of "the state," as current law reads.
The one-page SB 1457 will be read on the floor of the legislature on February 5th. There has already been one minor update to the bill, clarifying that God is the “owner” of all wildlife in the state rather than that the wildlife is His “property.”
My college professor just alerted me to this insane bill in the Oklahoma senate. pic.twitter.com/yGo5MqdcrW
— Amy Nicholson (@TheAmyNicholson) January 20, 2018
What does any of this even mean? Other than proving that some politicians care so little about separation between Church and State that they’re trying to give God a government job?
It’s possible that the bill would do nothing at all in practice. The bill would also add this line: “The people of the State of Oklahoma place the authority to manage all wildlife pursuant to the Oklahoma Legislature” — which doesn’t seems functionally different from declaring that wildlife belongs to “the state.”
More than likely, the bill is just an attempt boost the career of the bill’s author, state Sen. Nathan Dahm. Esquire describes Dahm as a “rising Republican star.” He was also responsible for a doomed-to-fail bill making abortion a felony. But that bill was more than a statement of principle or a messaging effort — it got way too close to becoming law, passing both legislative chambers before being vetoed by Gov. Mary Fallin because it was so blatantly unconstitutional.
This bill also seems likely to be unconstitutional, again what with the whole separation of church and state thing. Still, there could be practical implications. Could this language be used to argue, for instance, that hunting should be overseen by God and that man’s law shouldn’t govern hunters? Could it allow the sales of public lands, a key policy priority of the Trump administration, to be considered an act of God? It’s worth noting that the current head of the EPA is Scott Pruitt, who is also from Oklahoma.
More on state Sen. Nathan Dahm: he represents District 33, he’s a software developer who lists his education as “Home Schooled,” and he once serve as a missionary in Romania, acting as the Dean of Students at a Bible school before returning to America.
In his own words:
Upon returning home to Oklahoma, Nathan quickly noticed the changes facing America and the many challenges lying ahead. … As a Constitutional Conservative, Nathan draws heavily from his experiences in the formerly communist — and currently socialist — nation of Romania to inform people of the failures, perils, and evils of socialism.
So there you have it, America: if we fail to sign Oklahoma’s squirrels directly over to Almighty God, we will become the same as Romania.