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On Wednesday, a day after he was re-elected governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt decided to claim the entire state for Jesus:

Father, we just claim Oklahoma for You. Every square inch, we claim it for You in the name of Jesus. Father, we can do nothing apart from You. We know [we all] battle against flesh and blood, against principalities of darkness. Father, we just come against that. We just loose Your will over our state right now in the name of Jesus…

We just thank You. We claim Oklahoma for You. [With] the authority that I have as governor, and the spiritual authority and the physical authority that You give me, I claim Oklahoma for You, and we will be a light to our country and to the world, right here…

We thank you that Your will is done on Tuesday, and Father, that You will have Your way with our state, with our education system, with everything within the walls behind me and the rooms behind me, Lord, that you will root out corruption, that You will bring the right people into this building, Father, from now on.

Not sure why Stitt is giving God credit for an education system that’s consistently ranked among the worst in the nation

Beyond that, though, the idea that he can claim the state for God because he won an election is Christian nationalism at its worst. It’s both meaningless (because his statement doesn’t do anything) and meaningful (because it suggests the state is officially Christian). What does that even mean, that Stitt can claim the state for his God? Stitt is like the Christopher Columbus of Christianity—with just as much love from the state’s five largest tribes.

It should be concerning to all Oklahomans that the guy they just elected to run their state is handing it off to someone else while admitting he’s incapable of doing the job on his own. You can imagine the outcry if Stitt said the same words as a non-Christian. It would be appalling. There would be immediate calls for his resignation. But because conservative Christians have such a stranglehold in the political world, Stitt’s comments barely got a mention outside of right-wing watchdog groups.

None of this is new for Stitt, though. His cosplaying as a preacher was a hallmark of his first term in office. He held an “Inaugural Prayer Service” after he took office. In March of 2020, he held a Christian-only prayer service to stop COVID that aired on TV stations across the state. (Surprise. It failed.) Later that year, he urged Oklahomans to pray and fast to deal with COVID because Plan A (doing nothing) wasn’t working.

In a letter to Stitt, the Freedom From Religion Foundation called on him to apologize:

“The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to our secular Constitution wisely prohibits the kind of Christian theocracy you are promoting,” FFRF states. “The Supreme Court has long held that the Establishment Clause ‘mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’ As an elected representative of the people, you violate both constitutional mandates when you suggest that you have ‘claimed’ the state for the Christian God, an implication that Christian are favored over non-Christians and the nonreligious in Oklahoma.

It’s a strong letter but I won’t hold my breath waiting for a response. Since his first day in power, Stitt has treated the governor’s mansion like a megachurch. He’s more interested in pleasing his God than doing what’s best for all Oklahomans. And even now, with a second term on the horizon, he’s making it clear how little he cares about citizens who aren’t conservative Christians.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.