January 14, 2014

Oklahoma license-plate challenge dismissed again

Judge rejects minister's claim on Oklahoma plate

By Sean MurphyAn image on the Oklahoma license plate of a young Apache warrior shooting an arrow skyward doesn't convey an overtly religious message, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in rejecting the claim of a minister who said the image was an affront to his Christian beliefs.

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton dismissed the claim filed against the state by Bethany pastor Keith Cressman.

The image was inspired by the late Chiricahua Apache artist Allan Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" sculpture, but there is nothing about it that suggests to the casual observer that the man is praying or that the arrow he is shooting is sacred, the judge wrote.

"Viewed by itself, all the disputed image involves is a depiction of a Native American shooting a bow and arrow," Heaton wrote. "There is nothing about the image that suggests he believes in one god, no god, or several."
Open Letter to pastor Keith Cressman of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Bethany, OklahomaDear Pastor Cressman,

I sincerely hope the God whom you preach will open your eyes and enable you to see absurdity of your claim. I am appalled by your lack of accord for cultural heritage of indigenous American population and I sincerely believe suing the state of Oklahoma for an innocent Native American symbol on its license plate is below pathetic.

I don’t know if you are aware that the very name of the state in which you live and preach is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning “red people.” Do you plan to request changing the name of Oklahoma because it violates your own religious beliefs by reminding you of “pagan” religion?

I find it necessary to remind you of the fact that the land you live on was taken away from those okla humma people and that having Native Indian symbol on your state’s license plate is a symbolic way to show them due respect. After taking their land away from them and forcing them to live in reservations don’t you see that having their symbol on license plate is symbolic way of saying “sorry”? Why do you see it as a problem?

Did it ever occur to you that instead of pretending to be a victim due to your hurt feelings you might show some compassion for people who were taken to the brink of extinction by your ancestors?

I sincerely hope your God will forgive you your ignorance and lack of compassion.

Sincerely yours,

Jura Nanuk,
Founder & President of
Central-European Religious Freedom Institute
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Oklahoma License-Plate Lawsuit Reinstated and Oklahoma License-Plate Challenge Dismissed.

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