“An Open Letter from Oklahoma Pastors to Oklahoma’s political leaders”

March 2019 
TO: Governor Kevin Stitt, State Senators, and State Representatives

NOTE: This letter focused on “the importance of educational options for parents,” circulated online in recent days, and was sent to CapitolBeatOK, The City Sentinel and other news organizations. The letter can also be viewed at https://www.okpastors.com/

It is our strong conviction that parents have the responsibility and the moral right to direct the upbringing of their children. Whether parents choose a public school, a private or parochial school, homeschooling, or some other option, parents are ultimately responsible.

Many of the parents in our congregations, committed to bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, believe that a traditional public school, a public charter school, or an online public school is the best option for their children.
Other parents, equally committed to their children’s spiritual well-being, believe that a private school, a religious school, or homeschooling is the best choice.

Recognizing that you are God’s servants (Rom. 13:4), we thank you for your service and we respectfully ask you to give due consideration to public policies which respect the rich diversity of educational approaches in Oklahoma.

    •  We commend our state’s leaders for the enactment in 2014 of the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which, among other things, gives parents a greater say when it comes to things like public-school curricula and activities, parental access to public-school records, and more.
    •  We commend our state’s leaders for the passage in 2018 of a $6,100 (on average) teacher pay raise and we encourage continued investment in our state’s public education system.
    •  We commend our state’s leaders for the creation in 2010 of state-funded (https://sde.ok.gov/lindsey-nicole-henry-lnh-scholarship-program-children-disabilities) which are now benefiting special-needs students, foster children, and children adopted out of state custody. We encourage you to expand eligibility for these sorts of scholarships so that more and more taxpaying parents can afford to raise their children in accordance with their consciences.
    •  We commend our state’s leaders for the creation in 2011 of an education tax credit program which is benefiting students in rural public schools (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOAAvcH6QLA) and is also financing scholarships (https://osfkids.org/)  to private and parochial schools. We urge you to help even more students by raising the cap on this successful program. 
[Proposed bills by House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City)  (http://www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=HB2621&session=1900), Sen. Dave Rader (R-Tulsa) (http://www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=SB407&session=1900), and Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa)  (http://www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=SB180&session=1900) would do just that.]

Thank you for your consideration and for your service to the people of Oklahoma.


Rev. Philip Abode, Crossover Bible Church (Tulsa)

Rev. Denise J. Abston, Edmond Free Methodist Church (Edmond)

Rev. Joseph H. Arledge, St. Peter Catholic Church (Woodward)

Fr. Rex Arnold, St. John Nepomuk Church (Yukon)

Pastor Kevin Baker, Martha Road Baptist Church (Altus)

Pastor Paul Blair, Fairview Baptist Church (Edmond)

Rev. J. Richard Bradley, St. Pius X Church (Tulsa)

Pastor Jim Brown, Friendship Baptist Church (Altus)

Rev. Brian Buettner, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church (Lawton)

Pastor Gary Butler, Gospel Lighthouse Church (Anadarko)

Rev. Nathan Carr, St. James Episcopal Church (Oklahoma City)

Pastor Dick Chapman, Altus Christian Fellowship (Altus)

The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City

Rev. Joe W. Colaw, First Wesleyan Church (Bartlesville)

Pastor Jonathan Cook, DestinyLife Church (Owasso)

Rev. Stuart Crevcoure, St. Brigid Catholic Church (Tahlequah)

Fr. Kelly L. Edwards, St. Francis Xavier (Enid) 

Rev. Timothy Fuller, St. Philip Neri Catholic Church (Midwest City)

Rev. Msgr. Patrick Gaalaas, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (Tulsa)

Rev. Matthew Gerlach, St. Anne Roman Catholic Church (Broken Arrow)

Rev. Jack Gleason, Church of Saint Mary (Tulsa)

Rev. Guadalupe Gonzales, Iglesia Samaria (Altus)

Fr. John Grant, St. Catherine of Alexandria (Tulsa)

Rev. Daniel Grover, Corpus Christi Catholic Church (Oklahoma City)

Rev. Carl Kerkemeyer, Sacred Heart Parish (Miami)

Rev. Robert Kim, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church (Tulsa)

Fr. Michael Knipe, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church (Tulsa)

The Most Rev. David Konderla, Bishop of Tulsa

Pastor Mang Lian, Guymon Seventh-day Adventist Church (Guymon)

Rev. Tommy McLaurin, SpiritLife Church (Tulsa)

Rev. Dave McKellips, Northeast Oklahoma District, Church of the Nazarene (Tulsa)

Fr. David Medina, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (Tulsa)

Rev. Mark Muenchow, Messiah Lutheran Church (Oklahoma City)

Rev. Todd Nance, St. Patrick Catholic Church (Sand Springs)

Rev. Valentine Ndebilie, St. Mark’s Catholic Church (Pryor)

Rev. Francis Nguyen, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church & School (Kingfisher)

Rev. William L. Novak, V.G., St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (Oklahoma City)

Rev. Celestine Obidiegwu, St. Monica Catholic Church (Tulsa)

Rev. Brian O’Brien, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (Stillwater)

Rev. Jovita Okonkwo, Holy Family Cathedral (Tulsa)

Rev. Desmond Okpogba, Church of the Madalene (Tulsa)

Rev. Dr. Ray A. Owens, Metropolitan Baptist Church (Tulsa)

Rev. Dr. Michael W. Philliber, Heritage Presbyterian Church, PCA (Edmond)

Rev. Jeffrey S. Polasek, St. Clement Catholic Church (Bixby)

Jeff Ray, DestinyLife Church (Claremore)

John Ray, Destiny Life Church (Claremore)

Rev. Tom Schulze, Calvary Free Will Baptist Church (Claremore)

Glenn Shaffer, DestinyLife Church (Claremore/Owasso)

Rev. Dr. William Sillings, New Hope Worship Center (Oklahoma City)

Pastor Michael Smith, First Seventh-day Adventist Church (Tulsa)

Pastor Andrew M. Spooner, Ketchum Seventh-day Adventist Church (Ketchum)

Pastor Angela Stevens, Cross Church International (Muskogee)

Pastor David M. Stevens, Vinita Church of the Nazarene (Vinita)

Pastor Rick Stevens, Cross Church International (Muskogee)

Shane Thacker, Inola Christian Church (Inola)

Pastor Garland Thomas, New Life Worship Center (Tahlequah)

Fr. Jose Thottathil, Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dewey) and St. Catherine Church (Nowata)

Rev. Corbyn Trentham, Glad Tidings Church (Altus)

Rev. Lance A. Warren, VF, Sacred Heart Catholic Church & School (El Reno)

Rev. James A. Wickersham, St. Mary Catholic Church (Tulsa)

Rev. John Wilke, Immanuel Lutheran Church (Broken Arrow)

Pastor Angela Ybarra, Strong Tower Ministries (Altus)
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