As if the Capitol crowd can’t get enough of that old-time religion during the springtime revival known as the legislative session — what with legislative prayer breakfasts, a newly formed prayer caucus and efforts to promulgate Christian creed — some fervent wordsmiths have constructed a state motto to help clarify our identity: “Oklahoma — In God We Trust!” What’s that you say? You thought we already had a state motto — perhaps that being “Labor Conquers All Things”? Nah. According to Oklahoma Motto Inc., a nonprofit established in 2008 by Oklahoma City attorney and prolific author Bob Burke, our state never actually declared an official state motto.
House Concurrent Resolution 1024 provides illuminating logic: “Although [Labor Omnia Vincit] is described in the Constitution as part of the description of the Great Seal of Oklahoma, there is no indication that it was meant to indicate a state motto.”
Oklahoma Motto Inc. researched the Oklahoma Constitution and discovered that the word “motto” does not appear. Rather than ratify the motto-like phrase that’s been taught in Oklahoma history classes over the last century, a bipartisan group deems it necessary to adopt the federal motto — albeit 56 years and an exclamation point later.
Perhaps “Labor Conquers All Things” doesn’t quite have the same zing in a right-to-work state. Or maybe the only labor that legislators care about these days is the kind that results in stretch marks (see next story).