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God beats labor

Gazette staff February 22nd, 2012

When an organization needs to focus its vision, it might re-evaluate the mission statement with a tweaked adjective here and there. This exercise appears to be taking place among some state leaders who want to underscore Oklahoma’s reverence for The Man Upstairs.

As if the Capitol crowd can’t get enough of that old-time religion during the springtime revival known as the legislative session — what with legislative prayer breakfasts, a newly formed prayer caucus and efforts to promulgate Christian creed — some fervent wordsmiths have constructed a state motto to help clarify our identity: “Oklahoma — In God We Trust!” What’s that you say? You thought we already had a state motto — perhaps that being “Labor Conquers All Things”? Nah. According to Oklahoma Motto Inc., a nonprofit established in 2008 by Oklahoma City attorney and prolific author Bob Burke, our state never actually declared an official state motto.

House Concurrent Resolution 1024 provides illuminating logic: “Although [Labor Omnia Vincit] is described in the Constitution as part of the description of the Great Seal of Oklahoma, there is no indication that it was meant to indicate a state motto.”

Oklahoma Motto Inc. researched the Oklahoma Constitution and discovered that the word “motto” does not appear. Rather than ratify the motto-like phrase that’s been taught in Oklahoma history classes over the last century, a bipartisan group deems it necessary to adopt the federal motto — albeit 56 years and an exclamation point later.

Perhaps “Labor Conquers All Things” doesn’t quite have the same zing in a right-to-work state. Or maybe the only labor that legislators care about these days is the kind that results in stretch marks (see next story).

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02.22.2012 at 07:53 Reply

The word "homosexual" doesn't actually appear in the original (Greek) Biblical text, but no one seems to question it.  Why the hubub about the word "motto"?