State lawmaker wants to add God to legislation

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A state senator wants to put God back in a few pieces of legislation at the Oklahoma capitol.

Sen. Nathan Dahm has introduced three bills for the next session.

Senate Bill 1457 would change the wording in the state's statute regarding wildlife.

“If somebody were to hit a deer with their vehicle, insurance will call that an act of God, but right now the way the statute currently reads is that all wildlife is the property of the state,” Dahm said.

The bill seeks to "make Almighty God the owner of all wildlife in the state," according to the Oklahoma State Legislature's website.

However, Dahm said the change isn't really about religion. Instead, he said the change would put the state off the hook for the cost of accidents involving wildlife.

"The state could be potentially be liable for that, so this is just a simple fix to correct something that could cause a problem,” Dahm said.

Dahm said he also wants to bring back the phrase "In God We Trust" to all state-funded buildings like public schools, universities and the capitol.

Some Oklahomans support the move.

“We need God back in there. We need it all over the state,” said Lloyd Arinwine.

“It all belongs to God. There's no reason not to have His name on it," said Pete Simpson.

However, ACLU Oklahoma said there is a reason to leave faith out of politics.

“He has a provision in one of these bills that says these pieces of legislation don't discriminate among religious believers, but that's simply not the case,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of ACLU Oklahoma.

Kiesel said the bills are discriminatory.

“Our Constitution doesn't just protect believers. It protects people who have no faith at all,” Kiesel said.

Despite the state's continuous financial crisis to pay for things like mental health and education, Dahm said these bills are also important.

“Our focus absolutely is on the budget and everything we do have to address. This is something that needs to be addressed, but this is not the main focus by any means,” Dahm said.

Dahm’s bills may be heard by the legislature next month when lawmakers return for session.

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