A photo of Mark Mcbride labeled "secularist of the week" and a photo of Tom Parker labeled "theocrat of the week"

Okla. state rep. earns “Secularist” award while Ala. chief justice is chastised  

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This week’s “Secularist of the Week” is a state representative who, although staunchly Christian, understands that it is a violation of the separation of church and state when you require every Oklahoma classroom to display the Ten Commandments. And FFRF Action Fund lambastes its “Theocrat of the Week,” Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker, for his flagrant Christian supremacist ideology in the wake of the court’s ruling that frozen embryos are considered to have the same rights as living children. 
 
In mid-February, Alabama’s Supreme Court issued a ruling that frozen embryos should be considered “extrauterine children” and people can therefore be held liable for destroying them under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. As a result, multiple Alabama’s IVF clinics have since halted operations and the future of IVF hangs in the balance. The decision’s concurring opinion, written by Parker, heavily relied on Christianity and the bible. Parker wrote, “Human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God” while also invoking the Book of Genesis, the Ten Commandments and the writings of 16th- and 17th-century theologians. Parker also opined that Alabama had adopted a “theologically based view of the sanctity of life” and that “even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.” 

The same day the Alabama Supreme Court issued its ruling, Parker’s recent appearance on a program hosted by Tennessee-based evangelist and Christian activist Johnny Enlow was made public. As reported by Media Matters, Enlow is notorious for being a QAnon conspiracy theorist who declaims that “there is presently no real democracy on the planet” because almost every world leader is linked with pedophilia and blackmail.

While talking with Enlow, Parker claimed, “God created government. And the fact that we have let it go into the possession of others, it’s heartbreaking for those of us who understand. And we know it is for Him. And that’s why He is calling and equipping people to step back into the mountains right now.” Here, Parker is referencing the Seven Mountain Mandate, which he has a long and troubling history with. The Seven Mountains Mandate calls upon its followers to establish “God’s kingdom” on Earth by imposing fundamentalist values on American life and taking control of seven crucial areas of society: family, religion, government, education, arts and entertainment, commerce and media. 

In his interview with Enlow, Parker discusses his “call” to what Enlow refers to as the “mountain of government” and expresses his thankfulness for Enlow “giving us the overview and the vision that allows us to really contemplate what God is calling each of us to our role on those Seven Mountains.” Parker is obviously familiar with Enlow’s ideologies. Enlow even explicitly commended Parker’s role in the Seven Mountain Mandate by saying that Parker is “in such a key place that we don’t want to have any conversation that hurt you in any kind of way, but we appreciate who you are, who you are in the kingdom.”

The list of Christian nationalist rhetoric Parker has espoused during his career is too long to delve into completely but he has certainly earned his “theocrat” title. Parker’s intent for the future is clear, which he highlighted again last March while publicly praying that “there will be a growing hunger in the judges of Alabama, and around the nation for more of God. And that they will be receptive to his moves toward restoration of the judges, so that they can play their forecast role in revival in this nation.”

Moving on to FFRF Action Fund’s “secularist” title, Oklahoma state Rep. Mark McBride effectively and rightly killed HB 2962 in the 2024 legislative session, which would have required all Oklahoma classrooms to display the Ten Commandments. McBride, who heads the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Education, left the bill off the agenda of the last scheduled 2024 meeting for the subcommittee.

McBride is a “Christ Follower” according to his X bio but he knew HB 2962 was unconstitutional. While discussing the bill, McBride said, “Not every kid in that classroom is the same faith as I am. All of these people keep talking about the Founders. Our Founders [wrote] the First Amendment of the Constitution. It basically forbids Congress from choosing one religion over another.” 

McBride made it clear that everyone who does not want to push Christianity onto every school age child in America knows that the growing trend of Ten Commandments in public classrooms is unconstitutional. We commend him for his common sense and commitment to what our founders truly wanted when penning the Constitution. He presents quite a contrast to the Alabama chief justice.

FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.