Batch's Blog

Nathanial Batchelder (click image to read news and views from Peace House OK's Director, Nathaniel Batchelder)

An Invitation to Oklahoma Churches and Religious Organizations

State Question 759 will be on all Oklahoma ballots in November.

State Question 759 would nullify Affirmative Action statutes in Oklahoma.

(SQ 759 is brought to voters by the same crowd that brought us similar statewide votes to “Ban Gay Marriage” and “Ban Muslim Sharia Law” in Oklahoma … strategies that resulted in big votes for “conservatives.”)

An educational RESOLUTION (attached) on SQ 759 has been prepared by COHRACentral Oklahoma Human Rights Alliance, of which the Peace House is a member.

The Resolution asks churches, houses of worship, organizations and businesses to take a stand opposing SQ 759, and urge members to Vote NO on SQ 759.

Yes, churches and 501(c)(3) organizations MAY take positions on legislative issues, spending up to but not more than 10% of their annual budget on such. Churches and 501(c)(3) organizations may NOT endorse candidates or any political party.

COHRA asks that signed Resolutions be returned to COHRA so that they may be tallied and reported in the media (return information is printed on the Resolution)

Resolution on SQ 759

Religious tolerance part of our nation’s founding

This ALTERNET piece by Rob Boston, senior policy analyst at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, describes how the founders of our country advocated religious tolerance, not religious certainty.

5 Founding Fathers Whose Skepticism About Christianity Would Make Them Unelectable Today

To hear the Religious Right tell it, men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were 18th-century versions of Jerry Falwell in powdered wigs and stockings. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Unlike many of today’s candidates, the founders didn’t find it necessary to constantly wear religion on their sleeves. They considered faith a private affair. Contrast them to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (who says he wouldn’t vote for an atheist for president because non-believers lack the proper moral grounding to guide the American ship of state), Texas Gov. Rick Perry (who hosted a prayer rally and issued an infamous ad accusing President Barack Obama of waging a “war on religion”) and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (whose uber-Catholicism leads him to oppose not just abortion but birth control).

There was a time when Americans voted for candidates who were skeptical of core concepts of Christianity like the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus and the virgin birth. The question is, could any of them get elected today? The sad answer is probably not.

Continue reading >>

For U.N. Human Rights Day, Secretary Clinton gives powerful speech on LGBT Rights

Here’s the VIDEO and (below) the TEXT of Hillary Clinton’s historic speech, Dec. 7th, in Geneva, Switzerland.


United Nations Human Rights Day – Dec. 7, 2011 – was marked in Geneva, Switzerland with speeches and panels representing many nations. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 30-minute address called for full human and civil rights for LGBT people in nations around the world. She said, “The U.S. will be your ally” to gays and lesbians around the world.

Oklahoma Peace Strategy News, Jan – Feb 2012 issue

The latest issue of the Oklahoma Peace Strategy News is now available. You can download a copy or pick it up at many local establishments. Contact us to find one near you (and we are always happy to add a new distribution point if your favorite restaurant or cafe does not have it.)

We are in the process of uploading all the back issue archive to the site.

News Conference Opposed S.Q.759

COHRA – Central Oklahoma Human Rights Alliance – did a news conference, Oct. 20, announcing and releasing a Resolution for groups, organizations, and houses of worship to consider, urging citizens to VOTE “NO” on State Question 759, that would reverse and repeal Affirmative Action and equal opportunity policies in Oklahoma.  The Resolutions should be considered, signed, and returned to COHRA (address on bottom of Resolution: COHRA, 3000 Paseo, OKC, OK 73103).

Speaking for the Resolution were Tamya Cox, Legislative Director for ACLU;  Nathaniel Batchelder, Co-Chair of COHRA;  State Representative Mike Shelton;  and Jana Harkins, Oklahoma County Democratic Party.  Standing behind the speakers were the board members of COHRA, representing many local civil rights and human rights groups.

The Resolution is educational, explaining the value of Affirmative Action policies in urging fair treatment of women and minorities by public entities in hiring, contracting and education opportunities.  COHRA will take action to publicize received Resolutions.

Download/Print the Resolution (PDF):   Cohra Resolution SQ 759

Oklahoma’s 25th Fall Peace Festival

Saturday, Nov. 12th, 10 am to 4 pm
Civic Center Music Hall – “Hall of Mirrors”
Admission Free

The 25th annual Peace Festival will be a holiday shopping bazaar, featuring tables of more than 50 social justice groups and local crafts vendors. It will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12th, from 10 am to 4 pm, in the Civic Center Hall of Mirrors, in downtown Oklahoma City (map). Admission is free.

“Live entertainment by local musicians and colorful fair trade goods on sale make this a popular event for supporters of human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability, and peace,” said Conna Wilkinson, Director of the Peace Education Institute, cosponsor of the event. All groups provide informative materials, in addition to crafts and goods for sale. Food items at many tables and refreshments will also be available for visitors.

A Children’s Activity Room will be supervised by adults during the event, Wilkinson said » Continue reading “Oklahoma’s 25th Fall Peace Festival”

Rallies to mark 10 year anniversary of war in Afghanistan

Public Rally & News Conference
WHEN: Noon, Friday, October 7th
WHERE: 100 N. Broadway, downtown Oklahoma City
WHY: Call for an End to military action and Bring Our Troops Home

Rush-hour demonstration
WHEN: 4:30 – 6 PM, Friday, October 7th
WHERE: Gold Dome, corner of N. Classen and 23rd
WHY: Call for an End to military action and Bring Our Troops Home

A public rally and news conference in downtown Oklahoma City will mark ten years of the war in Afghanistan and call for an end to U.S. military actions in the Middle East, organizers say. The event will take place from noon to 1 pm, Friday, October 7th, at 100 N. Broadway, on the sidewalk plaza adjacent to the Chase Bldg. From 4:30 until 6, a streetside demonstration will echo that call; it will be at the Gold Dome corner, N. Classen and 23rd St.

“Demonstrations for peace will take place in dozens of U.S. cities and foreign countries, on October 6-8,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City, one of the groups sponsoring the event.

“After investing more than 6,000 American lives and half a trillion dollars in the Middle East wars, their mission and purpose still remains unclear,” Batchelder said. He said a majority of Americans now favor ending the conflicts and bringing U.S. troops and resources home.

These event are sponsored by The Peace House and Oklahoma Center for Conscience.

Fr. Tim Luschen – Catholic Priest, St. Charles Boromeo Church
Derek Bartholomew – Combat Medic Iraq Veteran
Col. Katherine Scheirman, M.D. – Was Director Medical Operations USAF Hospitals Europe.
John Scripsick – Son Killed in Iraq
Warren Henthorn – Son Killed in Iraq

Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers, Mayflower Congregational Church
State Senator Andrew Rice
James Branum – Lead Attorney, Oklahoma Center for Conscience

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