The state of Oklahoma may not know what to do about its disastrous public education system, but the legislators are taking action where it matters. They just declared “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe — a popular Christian song — as the state’s “official inspirational song.”
Why that song and why now?
“I Can Only Imagine” is the best-selling Christian rock song of all time with more than 2.5 million copies sold. The lyrics tell the story of what it must be like to stand in front of God in heaven, and it was written by singer Bart Millard after his father died and he was thinking about what his dad must be going through in the afterlife.
The single took on a new life last month after a movie of the same name was released. The film, which is all about the lead singer’s relationship with his father, has already become one of the top grossing Christian movies of all time.
So naturally, Oklahoma wanted to honor it.
HB 3473 passed unanimously through the State House last month and unanimously through the State Senate yesterday. Seriously. Not a single person voted against it, though several were excused from the vote. All that’s needed now is the Republican governor’s signature.
Here’s a question I’d love for those legislators to answer: If this is the state’s “official inspirational song,” who’s getting inspiration from it? The answer is obviously Christians… and nobody else.
And shouldn’t the official state anything be relevant to as many citizens as possible?
The Tulsa World notes that Oklahoma already has other official songs:
“I Can Only Imagine” would join other official state music including “Oklahoma!” (state song), “Faded Love” (country and western), “Oklahoma Hills” (state folk song), “Oklahoma, My Native Land” (children’s song), “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” (gospel song), “Do You Realize” (rock song under Gov. Brad Henry executive order but not renewed by Gov. Mary Fallin) and “Oklahoma Wind” (waltz).
Note that the only Christian song on that list is under the gospel category. Yesterday’s bill doesn’t make “I can only imagine” the official Christian inspirational song, but rather the official inspirational song for everyone. That’s… presumptuous. But legislators knew damn well this wouldn’t create much of a fuss in a state that frequently promotes Christianity through the government.
(Thanks to @thetechzombie for the link)