Kern Redux

Image of Sally Kern

(Updated: Kern was officially reprimanded Monday for her recent remarks by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.)

Will state Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) escape any real political damage over her racist and sexist comments on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives?

As she argued last week in favor of a bill that could lead to the end of affirmative action here, Kern said, as a former teacher, she encountered people of color who were essentially lazy and wanted the government “to take care of them.” She also said women didn’t want to work as hard as men because they want more” leisure time.”

Her outrageous comments made national news and drew widespread criticism. But this isn’t the first time the legislator has brought critical attention to herself and the state.

For the record, here are some highlights of Kern’s controversial career:

Kern was recorded at event in 2008 arguing that the homosexual agenda was a worst threat to the nation that terrorism. She also said, “"Studies show no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades.” Here’s a recording of her comments. Her intolerant comments sparked outraged throughout the world. Television show host Ellen DeGeneres, for example, took issue with Kern’s remarks. DeGeneres played some of Kern’s remarks, mocked them, and then tried to call her.

Kern was stopped from entering the state Capitol in March 2008 when it was discovered she was carrying a gun. She argued that she had simply forgotten she was carrying the weapon.

Kern also sponsored religious-intrusion legislation in 2008, called the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, that contained this stipulation:

If the assignment given by a teacher involves writing a poem, the work of a student who submits a poem in the form of a prayer (for example, a psalm) should be judged on the basis of academic standards, including literary quality, and not penalized or rewarded on account of its religious content.

Kern issued a Proclamation of Morality in 2009 that drew widespread criticism and ridicule for its outlandish claims. Here’s part of the “proclamation”:

WHEREAS, the people of Oklahoma have a strong tradition of reliance upon the Creator of the Universe; and

WHEREAS, we believe our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis; and

WHEREAS, this nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery; and

WHEREAS, alarmed that the Government of the United States of America is forsaking the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built; . . .

Kern provoked the anger of civil rights and Muslim groups this year for pushing legislation that tried to get around a judge’s decision to issue an injunction against a constitutional amendment, passed by voters, that would ban the use of Sharia law in Oklahoma. Here’s a Slate article about the issue.

Kern, on the House floor last week, argued:

"We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that's tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don't want to study as hard in school? I've taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them."

" . . . women usually don't want to work as hard as a man... women tend to think a little bit more about their family, wanting to be at home more time, wanting to have a little more leisure time."

Her comments, for which she later apologized, prompted the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to call for her resignation. The Oklahoma Democratic Party has also called for her resignation, and other prominent politicians want her to be at least reprimanded by the GOP leadership.