We Will Fight Sally Kern's Hate Agenda

Here's the link to the above video.

Sally’s Sad Story

We can only hope state Rep. Sally Kern’s latest documented rant means the end of the political vitriol aimed at gay people in this state.

Unfortunately, corporate media outlets here—led by the right-wing The Daily Oklahoman—continue to support politicians who use gay people as scapegoats to win the radical, right-wing religious vote in this state. As long as this dynamic continues, as long as the newspaper’s top editors support these politicians, the Kerns, Coburns and Inhofes will dominate the public dialogue about gay rights.

Kern, a Republican representative from Oklahoma City, was taped recently giving a speech in which she compares gay people to terrorists. She said gay people represent the biggest threat to America these days. Here is the audio file. Listen for yourself. The tape has sparked a national outcry from gay and lesbian groups and rational people throughout the world.

Kern, who is married to a Baptist minister, validates the Oklahoma radical right-wing religious folks. Even as her tape became public, she was pushing to pass legislation that would allow students to express religious views at schools even if not applicable to coursework and assignments. The bill she pushes is another attempt some say to bring creationism into schools and challenge established scientific principles. (Read my recent article in the Oklahoma Gazette.)

But do not ask The Oklahoman for any real help on the issue. This is the newspaper’s lame editorial response to the Kern debacle. Here is the telling paragraph in the editorial: "Kern has been bombarded with e-mails and phone messages, many of them hateful and ugly. But she's offered no apology, saying she was talking about gay activists who target conservative Republicans. (Those activists, it should be noted, often resort to similarly extreme and incendiary arguments, usually without recrimination.)" See, according to the newspaper, we should "note" all those terrible gay activists fighting discrimination and bigotry, people like television star Ellen DeGeneres, who tried to call Kern to talk to her about about the issue.

Sadly, Kern’s crusade—turning public schools into theocratic fortresses and inciting hatred against gay people—continues to win support throughout the state. Gov. Brad Henry, the most popular governor in the state’s history, says Oklahomans are tolerant, but how can they be tolerant when only the ultra-conservative view of reality is given space on the editorial page of the state’s largest newspaper?

Oklahoma, without a doubt, is in a time warp, NBA team or not.

Think back at Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett’s positions on gay people as he ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress, or what about U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe? These are the little darlings of The Oklahoman. Certainly, The Oklahoman in recent years has supported openly gay politicians, such as Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth, and has opposed religious intrusion in schools, but it is simply not enough.

What about supporting an ouster movement against Kern? What about refusing to support the candidacy of Inhofe, 73, the gay-bashing curmudgeon running for re-election against a progressive Democrat, state Sen. Andrew Rice?

As true as red dirt, Oklahomans will continue to vote ugly, hateful politicians into office as long as corporate media outlets here explicitly and implicitly sanction their actions.

The Sally Kern Show

Image of Sally Kern

State Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) is gearing up her crusade to dictate Oklahoma public school teachers turn their classrooms into narrow minded bastions of Christian extremism and fanaticism.

Kern, along with another legislator, state Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City), are introducing similar bills, both named the Religious Viewpoints Discrimination Act, according to a media report. The bills will be considered in this upcoming legislative session.

I have written about Reynolds’ bill before. Kern’s bill is apparently another back door way to try to stop the teaching of evolution and the scientific method in our state schools. Essentially, students would be allowed to argue—without any penalty—against established knowledge in all fields using fundamentalist religious arguments.

For example, students might use pseudo science, such as intelligent design, an offshoot of creationism, to undermine basic scientific facts in a classroom. Teachers could be forced to sit idly by as religious fanatics hector their fellow students about evolution and other topics that do not fit into the small intellectual framework of the Christian fundamentalists.

Kern, whose husband is a pastor, and Reynolds say their bills are needed to ensure religious students are not discriminated against, but the real intent is to expand the right-wing Christian fundamentalist agenda in public schools here. These are dangerous bills that will lower the bar for Oklahoma students and prevent the basic dissemination of scientific knowledge. The insidious, disingenuous nature of these bills cannot be overstated.

According to an Associated Press story in The Daily Oklahoma, Kern, a former teacher, said, "There's a great deal of confusion out there. Any time a student says something about God or Jesus, they're immediately censored."

I challenge the veracity of this statement. School teachers, principals and superintendents in the state should challenge this statement as well. Students have never been nor will they ever be consistently “immediately censored” for talking about religion in Oklahoma classrooms. Teachers in Oklahoma do not attempt to stop their students from holding or expressing religious beliefs. This is a non issue.

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