Wednesday, December 11, 2013

#826: Sally Kern

Sally Kern is a perennially insane Oklahoma state legislator and former schoolteacher. She is best known for her claims about homosexuality, and for being (May 2, 2011) publicly reprimanded by the House of Representatives for comments she made the preceding week denigrating minorities and women.

As for gays, Kern made national headlines in March 2008, after stating that “[s]tudies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it’s the death knell of this country. I honestly think it's the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam – which I think is a big threat, okay? ‘Cause what's happening now is they are going after, in schools, two-year olds ... And this stuff is deadly, and it's spreading, and it will destroy our young people, it will destroy this nation!” – which is the rant of a truly deranged madwoman. In response to the attention, she defended herself by claiming that “I said nothing that was not true” and refused to apologize. (She received a standing ovation from fellow Republican legislators in a private meeting a few days later - oh, Oklahoma). She subsequently claimed to have received death threats that caused her to hire a bodyguard, though The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation officer who reviewed Kern’s emails said that “I wouldn’t characterize them as death threats.” But hey, don’t question here for a moment who the victim of bigotry actually is in this situation.

Kern authored an op-ed counterpoint piece in the June 24, 2009 issue of the Oklahoma Gazette in which she argued that “[g]ranting marriage status to homosexuals who comprise little more than 3 percent of the population would be like granting all applicants admission to a prestigious college just because a few meet the qualifications. That school’s status would fall. Likewise, the status of marriage will fall if same-sex marriage is legalized” – an argument that makes so little sense that Linda Harvey couldn’t have done it worse.

In late June 2009 Kern authored the “Oklahoma Citizens Proclamation for Morality”, which implicitly blamed gay marriage (and Obama’s official acknowledgment of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month) for the then ongoing economic crisis. The proposed causal mechanism was less clear, but was presumably supposed to be something along the lines of “things I don’t like must be sides of the same coin, namely my dislike,” which requires “I am the center of reality” as a premise, but that premise can probably be attributed to her as well. To really make sure she stayed classy she made the sexual orientation and gender of her opponent a topic of her 2010 re-election campaign, and in an interview on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks she conflated homosexuality with HIV/AIDS. The alleged connection to the anniversary was that homosexuality is a greater threat to the United States than terrorism: “It’s more dangerous, and yes I think that it’s also more dangerous because it will tear down the moral fiber of this nation.” When Peter LaBarbera tried to claim that the quote was taken out of context, she went on to repeat it, adding that homosexuality will “destroy the future of America”.

In 2011 (which led to the reprimands) she argued in support of an amendment that would eliminate Affirmative Action in Oklahoma, saying: “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.” (Discussed here.) Since she was already in the flow, she decided to continue by saying that “[w]omen 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.”

Kern is also the author a bill mandating that students who espouse Young Earth creationism still receive passing grades in Earth science classes (as well as opening up for “more discussion” on global warming and human cloning). It passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives (not known for being a body of intellectual giants) in 2008, but died in a Senate committee without reaching the floor for debate. She also co-authored the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, which included the provision that “[s]tudents shall not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of their work”, a blatant attempt to allow students to refuse to learn about evolution if they’d rather believe creationism. The bill was vetoed by Governor Brad Henry.)

Subsequently, in 2011, Kern published her memoir The Stoning of Sally Kern: The Liberal Attack on Christian Conservatism – and Why We Must Take a Stand, arguing that she is a martyr and clear victim of persecution since the government wouldn’t automatically write all her suggestions into law without debate. She lamented in particular how mean zeh gays had been to her by disliking her hatred of them.

Another big political point of focus for her is to campaign against the threat of sharia laws in Oklahoma (think about it). Which should, of course, be understood in light of the fact that she is herself a hardcore theocrat – the campaign must thus be seen primarily as a campaign to ensure that Taliban-style theocracy is instituted with the right kind of religion, not to avoid theocracy. She does indeed believe herself to be carrying out God’s wishes, and in a 2008 speech to a local Republican club, she asserted that God called her to run for office to be a culture warrior. Her husband, Steve Kern, is a member of the openly theocratic Constitution Party’s Black Regiment of pastors, which does not allow women, thus leaving Sally with the Republicans instead.

Cuttlefish’s song to her can be found here.

Diagnosis: Absolutely maniacally insane. Apparently the voters of Oklahoma seem to like that.

1 comment:

  1. Kern continues to try to push for creationism in Oklahoma public schools.

    Here she complains that "people make me look like an idiot," without displaying the dimmest idea of how that may have come about.