At least a thousand people attended a rally in the Oklahoma capitol for state Rep. Sally Kern, who recently became a right-wing celebrity after ranting about how gays are a bigger threat than terrorism. In her speech, Kern called homosexuality “the death knell for this country,” warned of a sinister “gay agenda” of indoctrinating “two year olds” and “infiltrating city councils,” and associated gays with “deadly” diseases. Unsurprisingly, the legislator has been catching some flack for her over-the-top anti-gay broadside, but according to Kern and her supporters, criticism of Kern (including angry e-mails, “many of them filled with profanity and vulgarity”) is proof of the persecution of the Religious Right.
From the Oklahoman:
“I told the people when I was running for this office that I was a Christian candidate and that I believed we were in a cultural war for the very existence of our Judeo-Christian values,” said Kern, who was elected to the House in 2004. “This situation proves that I was right. We are in a cultural war; this is for real.”
Concerned Women for America’s Matt Barber, who has helped promote Kern as a right-wing hero and who recently cited blood donations as proof of the “gay agenda” Kern warned against, said Kern had been the victim of “tremendous assault” by “homosexual anti-Christian hate groups.” After the rally, he portrayed this “persecution” as biblical:
People with traditional values who value God’s design for human sexuality will not be intimidated and bullied into silence. Political correctness can never trump truth. Sally Kern stood for truth, and she was hated for it. She was persecuted for Christ, but the Body of Christ was there to lift her up.
Likewise, Kern herself claimed the mantle of St. Paul in his imprisonment by the Romans:
“This is not about me,” Kern said at the rally, which spilled over from the first floor rotunda to the building’s second and third floors. She is the wife of Olivet Baptist Church pastor Steven Kern in Oklahoma City. “It’s about the church having the right to speak out for the redeeming love of Jesus Christ Who died to set us all free from sin. The Lord gave me a verse I’ve been claiming. Philippians 1:12, ‘I want you to know that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel.'”
The Religious Right has long sought to claim that Christianity is under attack by nefarious forces in the form of whatever policies and politics it disagrees with, as a way to convince people to go along with its far-right platform. Presenting Kern as the victim of a “gay hate campaign” neatly deflects the obvious criticism that Kern, Barber, and the others have been waging their anti-gay “hate campaign” the whole time.
(Photo by Bob Nigh from Baptist Press.)