March 12, 2008
The Sally Kern hate show
Posted by: Chris
Have you heard the appallingly hateful speech by Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern to a group of fellow Republicans? The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund took audio from the speech and spliced it an emotional response that tells Kern, "We are listening":
Some of the highlights (actually, lowlights) of Kern's screed include her allegation that gays represent "a bigger threat" to America than terrorism and Islam and will be "the death knell of this country."
Kern actually alleges that homosexuality has "deadly consequences for those people involved in it," from higher rates of suicides, illness and shorter lifespans. There are, in fact, higher rates of suicide among gay youth, but no reputable science or sociologist has attributed it to supportive groups like Gay-Straight Alliances, which Kern claims is "ruining these kids' lives." Instead, the guilty party is the bigotry and rejection these youth face from people like Kern and the schoolyard bullies who parrot them.
It's interesting that the Victory Fund -- rather than the Human Rights Campaign or the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation -- has taken the lead on calling Kern to the carpet, but it makes sense considering how Kern is spinning her attacks now that they're so very public. The AP reports:
Kern said she was primarily concerned about "the aggressive movement" to support gay candidates across the nation and in Oklahoma, where a gay candidate is seeking a statewide office.
Well that was one focus of her tape-recorded speech, in which Kern -- the wife of a Baptist preacher -- accused homosexuals of "infiltrating city councils." Shades of anti-Semitism anyone?
One aside: It's ironic to hear Kern complain that gays are trying to "get" or "indoctrinate our children" as young as two-year-olds, when we know that it's conservative Christians who have long insisted that public schools join in their indoctrination of children to their private (and bigoted) religious beliefs. In fact it was Kern who introduced the "Religious Viewpoints Discrimination Act," which was an attempt to stop Oklahoma schools from teaching evolution.
Victory Fund director Chuck Wolfe, a friend of mine, has issued a strongly worded open letter to Kern, accusing her of "hate speech":
The point is this: your words have consequences. Ask Judy Shepherd — her son, Matthew, was viciously murdered ten years ago this week by people who think like you. Ask the parents of Lawrence King, an openly gay eighth-grader who was gunned down in school last month by a classmate whose fear was stoked by words like yours. Just this past fall, Steven Domer, a 62-year-old gay man was brutally murdered right in your home state of Oklahoma.
I'm not a huge fan personally of blaming anti-gay speakers with murders and violent crimes that go far beyond what they are advocating; it's a tactic that the otherwise remarkable Mel White has overused in the past. But in Kern's case, the rhetoric comes pretty close to the mark, actually identifying homosexuality as a greater threat than the terrorists, who we all agree should be killed on spot.
Probably most depressing was the news that Oklahoma Republicans reacted to the news by giving Kern a huge ovation in a party meeting since news of the speech went public. It reminds me of the rousing response that the head of the Tennessee GOP got from fellow Republicans after a release that used Barack Obama's middle name and the "turban photo" as a bludgeon to accuse him of being soft on Israel.
If this is the direction of the Republican Party, then I couldn't be happier I chucked my membership a decade ago.
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