Oklahoma Anti-LGBT Bills: ‘Too Crazy To Believe’

There has been an avalanche of anti-gay rights legislation proposed by Oklahoma lawmakers for this upcoming session that starts Monday.

The legislation ranges from the innocuous and meaningless—a who-really-cares resolution condemning the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage—to the extremely harmful. One bill sponsored by the infamous gay-bashing state Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), for example, would prohibit school counselors from discussing sexuality with students without permission from their parents.

What if a student is curious about their sexual orientation, but can’t speak to their parents about it without severe punishment or condemnation, which could even lead to the child’s homelessness and/or abuse?

In all, twenty-six or so bills that can be considered attacks on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community have been introduced in Oklahoma. It must be a record number for any state this year or at least an extremely large number of bills. A Slate.com headline over a story about all the bills calls it “ . . . almost too crazy to believe.” The minute focus and sheer number of the bills is so myopic and obsessive it seems like a collective manifestation of a mental illness or disorder. I don’t say this in jest: Scholars should truly study the psychological dynamics of this current particular situation because it seems to transcend simple political opportunism or even distorted right-wing religious beliefs.

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Monkey Business Again

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Two Oklahoma legislators will try again this upcoming session to pass anti-science education bills that could allow creationist and Biblical ideas to replace the teaching of the scientific method in our public classrooms.

Under State Sen. Josh Brecheen’s Senate Bill 1322, “Teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze,critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” It might sound innocuous, but Brecheen’s apparent point, when also considering his public stance and comments, which I address later, is to allow teachers and students to dispute the theory of evolution.

State Rep. Sally Kern’s House Bill 3045, however, is really the model, right-wing “weakness and strengths” legislation when it comes to the religious opposition to the theory of evolution. The bill states: “. . . teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.” Those topics, as outlined in the bill, include “. . . biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning.” Brecheen, it should be noted, doesn’t specifically mention such topics in his bill.

Both Brecheen (R-Coalgate), Kern (R-Oklahoma City), pictured above, and other legislators, have offered similar measures in the past, which have died in legislative committee. The bills, while they don’t openly claim to do so, are attempts to bring religious-based ideas into science classrooms. They are clear cases of religious intrusion, and, if passed, have a real chance to dumb down students in our woefully underfunded educational system in Oklahoma.

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Lankford Wants Andrew Jackson Removed

U.S. Sen. James Lankford has announced on his government web site that he has submitted a resolution to remove Andrew Jackson’s image from the twenty-dollar bill because of the former president’s mistreatment of American Indians in the nineteenth century.

Here’s the news media announcement. Here’s the resolution.

I’m couching the language here a bit and providing clear reference to links because, frankly, it’s almost difficult to believe Lankford, an ultra conservative, would make such a political move, which is long overdue and will definitely please liberals and SHOULD please conservatives as well. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with Lankford on a single issue before.

The resolution is sure to meet with disapproval by some conservatives.

The announcement has received little coverage by the corporate media so far. American Indian news outlets, however, covered the announcement widely. Lankford is a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

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