BY BOB BEARDEN
And on the 40th day the Ark came to rest in a place called Oklahoma.
Noah looked out and asked, “Where are we?”
“Noah,” his wife replied, “It’s a place called Oklahoma!”
“Oklahoma I know this place, isn’t this where the wind comes sweeping down the plains?”
“Yep, that’s the place!”
“What’s that noise I’m hearing?”
“It’s an earthquake!”
“An earthquake? They don’t have earthquakes in Oklahoma!”
“They do now, Noah!”
“Really? How come?”
“Some say it’s from fracking, others say it’s caused by God!”
“God don’t cause earthquakes, honey!”
“Tell that to the ‘dumb and proud of it’ crowd out at the state Capitol! But remember, Noah, you can’t say fracking causes earthquakes in Oklahoma. It’s against the law!”
“Really? Who signed that stupid law?”
“Really? She evidently doesn’t know God is a woman does she?”
As the waters receded and the Ark was firmly on dry land again, Noah noticed that there were no unicorns on board. “Where the hell are my unicorns?” he asked pensively. No one answered. Them silly unicorns were hiding, playing silly games, and the waters came and sorted floated them away.
That’s why there’s no unicorns to this very day, even in the fantasy land that is the Oklahoma Legislature and even, too, in the Governor’s Mansion where resides Mary “You can’t say fracking causes earthquakes round here” Fallin.
No, in Oklahoma, it’s “What no unicorns? Drill baby drill! Frack baby frack! We got to find them unicorns!” Or so Mary is reported to have said. “Earthquakes be damned! If it’s God’s will, so let be written, so let it be done! Has anyone checked this out with big oil? Did they say it was OK with them? Good! Oh, so them Unicorns are all out at the state Capitol, great!” And now in Oklahoma only people of faith may marry.
So how will our gaggle of unicorn impersonators who passed this law in actual practice be able to actually enforce it? Is there some kind of lab test they can subject people to, to determine if they are indeed faithful? And to whom and to what must they be faithful?
Will they require that all people seeking to marry in Oklahoma swear that they will never in good faith ever utter the words, “Earthquakes are caused by fracking!” Or maybe if they swear they are, and always have been faithful, to the big money interests that’ll pass muster. Gosh, that should do it up right.
Faith, as I have always known, is a fleeting object that can be elusive and wispy just like the wind that comes sweeping down the Oklahoma plains. I have faith, for instance, that I will not drown when I step out of my house onto my driveway. I know this to be true even though I can’t swim. Is that not real faith? Or perhaps faith is knowing that the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west even while all the rivers and creeks in Oklahoma are being inundated by torrential rains. That’s certainly faith of some sort.
Who among the oil soaked crowd out at the state Capitol that voted for this law will be able to define exactly what faith and whose faith and what kind of faith will be required in order to be issued a marriage license? If you are faithful to OU will that be good enough to pass the faith test? Or what about OSU? After all T. Boone is an OSU alum isn’t he? He’s faithful to making money – maybe that’s how they’ll determine one’s faith?
Well, that will leave me out.
I used to have faith that Oklahoma would win 10 games every year. Look where that has gotten me. I used to have faith that our legislators would have enough common sense not to pass dumb insane laws that can’t pass constitutional muster. So much for that kind of faith. I used to have faith that sane heads in the Grand Old Party of Lincoln, in the end, would do the right thing. That ain’t happening anymore.
“Faith? Faith in what? What’s faith got to do with it? I happen to have faith that we will find my unicorns! Will that be enough faith for us, dear?”
“Don’t worry, Noah, just calm down and thank God you don’t live in Oklahoma!”
– Bob Bearden is secretary of the Oklahoma State Association of Letter Carriers, Trustee with the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation, and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church, UCC.