Ohio Republican Lawmakers Form New Legislative Prayer Caucus to Advocate for Religious Freedom

Ohio Republican lawmakers have formed a new Ohio Legislative Prayer Caucus (OLPC) of the 135th General Assembly that pledges to advocate for religious freedom and Judeo-Christian values that have been embedded in American culture since its foundation.

State Representative Gary Click (R-Vickery) (pictured above, right) in the House and State Senator Michele Reynolds (R-Canal Winchester) (pictured above, left) in the Senate co-chair the bicameral caucus.

According to Click, faith and prayer are the building blocks of American culture.

“Faith and prayer have been the building blocks of our culture since our nation’s inception. I am pleased to carry on that tradition in Ohio’s 135 General Assembly. It remains a value for my constituents as well as for me personally,” he said.

Click noted that several of the new caucus’ members recently spoke up in defense of the East Knox School Board, which had been unfairly singled out by the Freedom From Religion Foundation for the common and long-standing practice of many public institutions, opening in prayer, before the caucus even began.

Click said that this newly formed caucus can make an impact and help stand up for religious liberties throughout the state.

“Misinformation coupled with intimidation toward faiths and religious liberty is advancing at an ever-increasing frequency. Through prayer and strategic action, we can make an impact and stand up for these values in Ohio,” he said.

Reynolds said that legislative prayer caucuses, such as this one, exist in Congress and in almost 40 other states.

“Our goal is to provide legislators with proven policies and a wide support network as we navigate obstacles and opportunities both widespread and unique to Ohio,”  he said.

The OLPC is the newest affiliate of the American Prayer Caucus Network (ACPN), which is led by former U.S. Congressman Randy Forbes.

The ACPN is the leading network of legislators actively and strategically defending Judeo-Christian faith principles in America. Legislators founded the ACPN specifically with legislators in mind. It is a part of the larger Faith Impact Network, which is supported by the National Strategic Center and consists of 100 members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, over 900 state legislators, over 100 allied organizations, business executives, local government officials, hundreds of thousands of activist citizens, and more.

The Ohio Legislative Prayer Caucus said it plans to champion and track bills that touch on religious freedom and Judeo-Christian values in Ohio.

The caucus officially endorsed Senate Bill (SB) 49 known as the “Religious Expression Days” (R.E.D.) Act sponsored by Reynolds. The legislation would require schools to accommodate “any missed assignments including tests” and teachers would have to accept these absences “without question” while maintaining “alternative accommodation requests confidential.” The Ohio Senate unanimously approved the bill last month and it awaits a hearing in the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee.

Current charter members of the OLPC include Click, State Representatives Adam Bird (R-New Richmond), Thaddeus Claggett (R-Licking County), Bill Dean (R-Xenia), Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester), Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.), Marilyn John (R-Richland County), Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville), Angie King (R-Celina), Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland), Beth Lear (R-Galena), Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield), Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky), Melanie Miller (R-Richfield), Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House), Phil Plummer (R-Dayton), Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.), Bernard Willis (R-Springfield), and State Senators Reynolds, Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario).

The caucus said it anticipates more members to join the OLPC and membership will remain open to like-minded lawmakers.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Gary Click” by The Ohio House of Representatives. Photo “Michele Reynolds” by Michele Reynolds. Background Photo “Church” by Karl Fredrickson.


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