Oklahoma Republican lawmaker issues proclamation listing same-sex marriage among ‘forms of debauchery’ she says caused recession
Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, who made headlines last year when anti-gay comments she made at a Republican fundraiser were secretly taped and then posted online, is back in the news after she issued her "Oklahoma Citizen’s Proclamation for Morality" before the July 4 weekend.
The proclamation blames the country’s current financial woes on a list of moral failings, including same-sex marriage and divorce along with pornography, sex trafficking, child abuse and "many other forms of debauchery."
Last year, the Republican from Oklahoma City made national news when she called homosexuality more dangerous than terrorism.
"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," Kern said last year.
Openly gay Oklahoma state Rep. Al McAffrey, whose district borders Kern’s, this week said, "To blame our economic woes on a national moral crisis is ludicrous. Our economic woes are a direct result of bad financial practices and a lack of regulation on Wall Street."
Oklahoma state Rep. Ryan Kiesel also condemned Kern’s proclamation. "According to that logic all those folks who were ripped off by Bernie Madoff should focus their anger at the governor of South Carolina," he said.
Kern’s proclamation goes on to criticize President Obama for not attending the annual National Prayer Breakfast and for having issued a proclamation recognizing June as National Gay Pride Month.
Kern said she and her supporters are "grieved that the office of the president of these United States has refused to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of Prayer," and are "deeply disturbed that the office of the president of these United States disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month to an immoral behavior."
Kiesel said, "The inaccuracies in this proclamation are astounding. For starters, I distinctly remember President Obama observing the national day of prayer. I suppose he is to be admonished for not turning it into a photo opportunity like his predecessor."
In her proclamation, Kern includes quotes that she incorrectly attributes to the founding fathers.
One statement in her proclamation reads: "This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians (Patrick Henry)."
McAffrey said, "Sitting at my computer for 10 minutes, I found that two of the quotes she uses that are attributed to James Madison and Patrick Henry were fabricated. These quotes appear nowhere in the writings or records of either man, and there’s no evidence to suggest they ever said such things."
According to Snopes.com, the Henry quote is often cited but cannot be attributed to any of Henry’s writings. The line comes from a 1989 book "The Myth of Separation" written by Texas fundamentalist David Barton and is often quoted by the right wing.
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) debunked the Madison quote in 1994. They traced that misquote to Rush Limbaugh.
Another quote used to argue that the founding fathers favored a Christian nation is attributed to Thomas Jefferson. McAffrey points out that Jefferson coined the phrase "separation of church and state" in a letter he wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists assuring them "a wall of separation."
"Mrs. Kern’s complete disregard for American history is appalling and inexcusable. Obviously the author of this proclamation failed to properly research the issues being addressed," McAffrey said.
"I’m appalled that Mrs. Kern chose to use a state proclamation to attack the freedom of many Oklahomans who do not share her faith or her views," he added.
Jim Roth, a former Oklahoma Corporation commissioner and Oklahoma County commissioner who is openly gay, said, "Sally Kern represents the most unqualified of public officials who has to create distractions by attacking people in hopes of creating a diversion away from her own pathetic record of service."
In her three-term legislative career, Kern has authored little legislation. Her bill last year to give students in earth science classes passing grades for spouting "Young Earth Creationism" passed the House and died in the Senate. Her "Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act" included a provision that "students shall not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of their work." That bill passed but was vetoed by the governor.
Kern has been stopped twice entering the state capitol with a loaded semiautomatic firearm.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 10, 2009.