Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern is what my mother likes to call "a piece of work." And she is what I like to call "a special kind of crazy."
After more than 350 people, led by PFLAG's Oklahoma City chapter, gathered yesterday in the state capitol to denounce Kern's comparison of LGBT Americans to terrorists and cancer, the ever-opinionated lawmaker sat down the Associated Press (rather than, mind you, her own constituents) and oscillated between wrathful fury and self-proclaimed free-speech champion in what can only be described through the use of her own quotes.
"I see no reason to apologize for what God says, that homosexuality is a sin," Kern told the AP, adding that, in case we expected an apology from her, rather than God himself, "I will not apologize. I did not say anything false. I did not say anything malicious or hateful. They are trying to vilify me. That is their tactics."
Did not say anything malicious or hateful?!
Let's review, shall we? Here are a few of Kern's quotes from last week:
"I honestly think it's the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism..."
"You know, gays are infiltrating city councils... did you know that the city council of Eureka Springs is now controlled by gays -- they are winning elections."
"One of my colleagues said, 'We don't have a gay problem in our community...' Well you know what, that is so dumb. If you have cancer in your little toe, do you just say that I'm going to forget about it since the rest of you is fine? It spreads! This stuff is deadly and it is spreading."
One has to imagine that even God might want an apology for some of that rhetoric.
Indeed, yesterday's gathering at the state capitol included a number of communities of faith, clergy and family organizations. Rev. Loyce Newton-Edwards, PFLAG's Oklahoma City chapter president, was joined by Rev. Robin Meyers, pastor of the Mayflower United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City and Rev. James Shields, a retired United Methodist Church minister who lives in Kern's western Oklahoma City district.
"If we do not condemn hate speech from an elected public official, we in effect endorse it," said Rev. Meyers. "This represents the state of Oklahoma in a way that is deeply offensive."
"Representative Kern has made a number of statements that are fearful, that are lacking in tolerance and that are too emotional for rational public discussion," Rev. Shields added. "It is OK to be afraid of terrorists. All of use are. It is not OK to be afraid of gay people. Most of us are not."
But it was, perhaps, Rev. Loyce-Newton who best summed up why so many families, allies and LGBT Oklahomans took time out of their day to speak up against Kern's comments. "This kind of bigotry has lasted too long," she said. "We're willing to stand up and say: 'No more.'"
Kern, however, was unmoved by true voices of faith. While she told AP that "That's great they came to the Capitol. This is a free country. They're exercising their First Amendment right," she also reiterated that she had no interest in talking to the people she was elected to represent.
"When I am wrong, and it is brought to my attention, I will apologize," she said.
If more than 350 constituents can't get her attention, one wonders if even God could get Sally to open her eyes.
(You can see video coverage of yesterday's rally online here.)