Monday, March 10, 2008

Kern Refuses Apology

Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern has refused to apologize for incendiary remarks she made against homosexuals. She claims only be engaged in a "vigorous debate" on the issue and not engaging in hate speech. Here's a quote from Kern's speech:
Matter of fact, studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it's the death nell to this country. I honestly think it's the biggest threat that our nation has -- even more so than terrorism, or Islam, which I think is a big threat, OK? Because what's happening now, they're going after, in schools, two year olds!
Let's just make a few changes to her speech and see what she thinks. What if politically powerful politicians were saying:

Matter of fact, studies show that no society that has totally embraced the Jews has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it's the death nell to this country. I honestly think it's the biggest threat that our nation has -- even more so than terrorism, or communism, which I think is a big threat, OK? Because what's happening now, they're going after, in schools, two year olds!
Maybe that's not strong enough for her to get the message. Truth is, there were plenty of evangelical Christians in Nazi Germany who didn't think statements like that were hate speech. So, what if politically powerful politicians were saying:

Matter of fact, studies show that no society that has totally embraced Christianity has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it's the death nell to this country. I honestly think it's the biggest threat that our nation has -- even more so than terrorism, or Islam, which I think is a big threat, OK? Because what's happening now, they're going after, in schools, two year olds!
Can anyone imagine a right-wing evangelical, sensitive to even the slightest hint of persecution, sitting still for that?

4 comments:

Asinus Gravis said...

I too find problems with Kern's statement. Her claim that "no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than...a few decades." is triply problematic.

First, since the term "homosexuality" was first used in 1892, there have not been very many decades to examine--only eleven to date.

Second, in that 115 years since the concept was introduced how many societies have "totally embraced homosexuality"? My guess is that the number is zero.

Third, the U.S.A. has not "totally embraced" homosexuality. Many people are still vocally homophobic, like Kerns. In some states those people seem to be in the majority.

Thus, Kern's idiotic statement is factually irrelevant to the U.S.A.

Your last counter-example on Christianity is not very helpful. I think you would have done better to use "the rejection of sexism," or the right of women to vote, or to be elgible to hold office. Representative Kern might even be able to understand that analogy.

Randy Ridenour said...

This is the worst kind of hate speech, since it is hate speech disguised as an empirical claim. Does Kern cite these studies to which she has referred?

The claims that she is making here are either far too vague or simply wildly implausible to be of any value in any substantive debate: what does it mean to "totally embrace" homosexuality? Has there ever been a society that lasted only a few decades? What schools have two year olds that are being targeted? That seems a bit young for kindergarten....

James F. McGrath said...

I thought I'd share my own post with you, since I'm also a Baptist, and I've added a link to this post in my own blog entry on this subject.

You want fries with that? said...

You know you would make it a lot easier for us atheists to dismiss Christianity (and especially Baptists ;) as a bunch of whackadoodles if when we get a nice juicy crank like Kern you'd let us have a little bit of time. That way we could rant about it a while before we start finding reasoned responses from Baptists like yourself.