Two of the nine Senators who voted against clearly prohibiting torture are from Oklahoma. We are the only state in which both Senators were willing to turn a blind eye to torture. Both of them are champions of the religious right. Nothing demonstrates the dark side of religion in politics with more clarity.
Where there is darkness, however, light shines most brightly.
Indeed, some of the brightest lights within the church can be found in Oklahoma. One of them calls himself an Anabaptist Monk. He ministers to young people in Shawnee, writes and podcasts his own music, and gives his children dramatic recitals from C.S. Lewis as bedtime stories.
Another one is a free lance journalist in Oklahoma City on a beat that he calls The Parish. He's an ex-convict who has studied a little philosophy and a lot of theology. His quick wit, unflinching spirituality, and fides quaerens intellectum has helped draw together a broad circle of deep thinking Christians. These twenty and thirty somethings gather regularly at a local pub to discuss theology over their favorite brew. Among them, whenever she is in town, is a very bright theology student from Tuttle who blogs under the name panta-ta-ethne.
Yet another bright light is a theologian in Enid who writes a blog called "Outside the Camp" and contributes to another one called the "Emmaus Theory." This theologian practices a kind of "subversive spirituality." He looks for different perspectives and constantly points to deeper levels of understanding.
One more bright light is an environmental historian in Norman who blog's under the name of Streak. While I've been writing about the bright lights of Oklahoma, he has been calling our Senators and asking them how, in good conscience, they could vote against prohibiting torture. That is characteristic of this OU professor. He's not one to remain silent in the face of injustice.
That's just a sample of the lights that are shining in Oklahoma. I think of these people whenever I look with hope for the future of this state. None of them, however, are involved in Oklahoma politics. That black hole keeps getting darker each time a vote is cast.