Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Boards call voters’ attention to state questions


Leaders of two Oklahoma Conference boards have shared their members’ concerns about state questions that voters will decide on Election Day, Nov. 8.

Seven state questions will be on the ballot.

The Camps Board of Directors and the Environmental Coalition of the Board of Church and Society are highlighting three proposals:

• No. 777, about farming and ranching; and

• Nos. 780 and 781, the Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act and a related funding measure.

The Camps Board approved the following statement about State Question 777:


"Many of you may recall the concerns of the camping program regarding the building of hog farms near Canyon Camp in the late 1990s. 30,000-plus hogs were to be placed near Canyon Camp with two waste ponds the size of football fields used to hold the waste from the pigs and then sprayed onto nitrogen feeding plants. This had the potential of contaminating the camp’s well water supply, costing a large amount of money to rectify, or closing the camp. The operation would most certainly have contaminated the air quality and been almost impossible to get out of the canyon.

"Because of the unified effort of our connectional church in contacting and writing letters to our state legislators, we were able to stop the building of this facility. The concerns were not against hog farms as a whole, just placement of those farms.

"SQ 777 seems to give out-of-state farming operations free reign to come into Oklahoma and start facilities. This has the potential to once again allow the hog farms and other operations to build near Canyon Camp, other camps, and recreational facilities. Please take this into consideration when you go to the polling place to cast your vote on SQ 777 on November 8."

Environmental Coalition, Board of Church and Society

Mark Davies said the Environmental Coalition stated its opposition to State Question 777 at a recent meeting of the Board of Church and Society, and the board accepted the report. Rev. Dr. Davies chairs the board.

The connectional vision that helps define United Methodism also is seen when discussing State Questions 780 and 781.

Davies said they are favored for passage by the Oklahoma Conference of Churches (OCC), in which The United Methodist Church holds membership. OCC also advocates through the Oklahoma Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform.

Davies himself also is a member of OCC’s IMPACT and environmental committees. Retired United Methodist clergyman Stan Basler chairs IMPACT, according to the OCC website.

Find information about The United Methodist Church’s positions on environmental and criminal justice, and other social justice issues, in the Social Principles section of the Church’s Book of Discipline.

— Holly McCray


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