Gov. Kevin Stitt declares Dec 3 “Oklahoma Day of Prayer and Fasting”

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday that he is declaring Dec. 3 as a statewide day of prayer and fasting for all Oklahomans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.

“Oklahomans have always turned to prayer to guide us through trials and seasons of uncertainty, and I am asking Oklahomans of all faiths and religious backgrounds to join together with me on Thursday,” said Gov. Stitt. “I believe we must continue to ask God to heal those who are sick, comfort those who are hurting and provide renewed strength and wisdom to all who are managing the effects of COVID-19.”

Gov. Stitt also encourages churches and other houses of worship to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to care for vulnerable members of their congregations. 

“I believe our churches and faith communities have an incredible opportunity during this season to provide hope to Oklahomans who are struggling as we close a year that has been mentally, emotionally and physically draining,” he said. “It’s important that we continue to find safe ways to gather as we all do our part to protect our families, neighbors and communities from this virus.”

However, Gov. Stitt’s declaration has drawn objections.

In a Tuesday letter to Stitt, the Freedom from Religion Foundation said the governor should not use his office and state resources to promote his personal religious beliefs.

In the letter, the foundation asked the governor to refrain from ineffective and exclusionary proclamations and asked him to take meaningful actions.

The letter also said Stitt has failed to issue mandates on social distancing and mask wearing. The governor has said he didn’t believe a statewide mask mandate could be enforced.

“Using state resources and the power of your office to ask citizens to pray and fast is a misuse of your civil and secular authority,” the group’s letter said. “Instead you should be instructing Oklahomans to stay at home, engage in social distancing, wear masks and take other recommended precautions.”

The letter was signed by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, co-presidents of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Gov. Stitt has urged Oklahomans to socially distance, wash their hands and wear masks.

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