Oklahoma Delegation Successfully Stops Federal Agency Attempt to Silence Religious Freedom at A Local Catholic Hospital

U.S. Senator Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Representative Kevin Hern (R-OK), Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), Representative Stephanie Bice (R-OK), and Representative Josh Brecheen (R-OK) issued the following statement after Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) threatened to resend St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s accreditation for having a single, enclosed religious “living flame” present in the hospital’s chapel, a tenant of its faith:

“CMS inexplicably threatened to revoke Saint Francis Hospital’s accreditation because of a religious eternal flame, which is unrelated to health care. St. Francis is a Catholic hospital seeking to serve all who need care in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This was a violation of religious freedom—a bedrock of our nation’s founding. Our Oklahoma Delegation immediately worked to stop this injustice and was thankfully successful. The sight of an eternal flame is to give hope—we will not allow any federal agency to extinguish Oklahomans’ right to exercise their freedom of religion—especially in a time of need. We’ll now get to work to ensure this doesn’t happen anywhere or to anyone else.”