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Oklahoma Senatorial Candidate Facing Hate for Daring to Pray in Campaign Ad

Screenshot, Luke Holland for Oklahoma

While there are many primary races to watch in the coming months, a particularly crowded race is the Republican primary to replace retiring Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). While that primary falls on June 28, it is likely to head to a run-off, as 13 candidates are vying for the role. Luke Holland, the candidate who has been endorsed by Sen. Inhofe, spoke with Townhall about some of the negative attention he's getting for campaign ads where he's dared to pray to God.

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The first ad, released on May 31st, titled "A Prayer for America," features Holland praying to God "to look at this place," as he lists issues facing this country today, including "parents kicked out of schools, paying people not to work" and how "they even shut down my church." Holland worries about how "things are happening today that have never happened before," as he tells God "I know you're still there, we just need people to know you, and be your friend."

The ad closes with Holland telling God "I'm here" and asking him to to "guide us back." It also emphasizes how Holland has been endorsed by Inhofe, as it shows the two interacting with each other. 

Negative reactions quickly came over Twitter.

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Many also mocked religion in the replies, and brought up Separation of Church and State, with some incorrectly claiming that it appears in the Constitution, or acting if that would preclude Holland from referencing his faith in the ad. 

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Oklahoma Progress Now also mocked the ad over Twitter, while a ranting post from Jamison Faught at MuskogeePolitico.com lamented that Holland was part of those behaving as "opportunistic leeches." Faught also complained about being "increasingly uncomfortable and downright offended by the commandeering of Christianity..."

Holland is not backing down though from his beliefs. In fact, he doubled down when speaking to Townhall. "The reason that I did this ad is because this is what I believe, I'm a strong believer, a Christian, and I really see a lot of the challenges that we're facing in this country a direct consequence of the agenda of the left trying to kick God out of everything." 

While Holland warned that such an agenda "is not just neutrality, it's opposition to anything related to God and to the things He has spoken to really explicitly," he did also once more affirm he's "not afraid to talk about those things," just as Inhofe wasn't afraid. Holland suggested that that's why Inhofe endorsed him to be the next senator.

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Holland later said that "anybody who is intellectually honest" ought to wonder "are we better off with this really aggressive movement to totally eliminate God with what we're doing." In addition to being a Christian in his personal life, Holland also expressed his belief that God cares about how we run our government.

During our conversation, Holland also offered a thoughtful perspective that "a lot of the challenges we see in the country are a consequence of a broken morality that we are experiencing and there are a lot of things that we need to do politically to move things in the right direction from a policy standpoint, but there's only things that God can do to fix these problems, and so we should pray." Such is the motivation for why Holland did the ad, since praying to God is "what's going to result in America really thriving and our people really thriving."

Oklahoma is a particularly Republican, Christian state. U.S. News & World Report noted in 2017 that Oklahoma tied for the 8th most devout religious state, with 79 percent of its adult population being Christian, according to Pew Research. Pew also categorized 66 percent of Oklahoma adults as highly religious. 

Holland pointed out that while there are angry leftists in Oklahoma, just as there are anywhere else, many such attacks came from out-of-state residents, who view Holland as their "enemy." The ad was "very well received" in Oklahoma, he said, with the "aggressive" reaction highlighting "our difference in perspective."

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The Holland campaign shared his latest ad with Townhall before it will be shared more widely on Wednesday, which entails "A Prayer for Oklahoma." In it, Holland describes himself as a fourth-generation Oklahoma resident. "Please keep the anger we see in this country far from Oklahoma," Holland prays to God in the ad, as he goes on to ask "may our next senator show the same humility and love for you that [Sen. Inhofe] does."

You can watch it below.


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