Faith group opposes Faith group opposes English-only initiative

Thursday, August 24th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- An interfaith group has joined Gov. Frank Keating and others in opposing a referendum to make English the official language of Oklahoma.

The Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry, which consists of churches, synagogues and mosques, announced its opposition Wednesday. The English-only issue could be on the November ballot.

"The greater issue for our board, being a very diverse board, is that the movement itself seems to be contradictory to civil rights and openness to persons who come here from other countries," said Stephen Cranford, the ministry's executive director. "It seems to be divisive and narrow-minded."

Cranford said the group was also concerned that law enforcement personnel would be barred from communicating with people in another language.

Leaders of five Indian tribes recently joined in a resolution opposing the initiative. Keating also announced his opposition this month.

The proposed initiative requires that all state business in Oklahoma be conducted in English. It also directs that any money put toward conducting state business in a language other than English be returned to the state's general revenue fund.

Petitioners have gathered enough signatures to place the proposal on the ballot. The petition is awaiting review by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.