Sally Kern: Theocrat in Oklahoma’s Legislature?

Now that Sally Kern’s creationism bill has gone down in flames in the Oklahoma legislature, you might think that your Curmudgeon would be ready to move on to other matters. Yes, we are, but not before we visit the matter one last time.

In case you don’t know what we’re talking about, see Sally Kern’s Oklahoma Creationism Bill — It’s Dead. But now you’re wondering: What else is there to say about Sally, at least for this session of the legislature?

Good question. We came across an article titled Debate set at OCCC over establishment of Christian nation, which appears in the Oklahoman, located in Oklahoma City, the state capitol. That brief little article offers us some additional insights. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A debate about whether the United States was established as a Christian nation is set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. today at Oklahoma City Community College, 7777 S May Ave.

Why do we care about this silly debate? We’re already expressed ourselves on that issue (see Is America a “Christian Nation”?), and there’s not much else we can say. Quickie summary: Americans are mostly a Christian people, but the government isn’t a Christian institution. The government is, of course, compatible with a Christian population — but so is your city’s road system. That’s your Curmudgeon’s humble opinion. Now let’s read on in the Oklahoman:

The Rev. Bruce Prescott, executive director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists and president of the Norman chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, will debate the Rev. Steve Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church and husband of state Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City.

Prescott will argue that the U.S. Constitution neither established nor advocates for a Christian nation. Kern will argue that it does.

Aha! There it is, dear reader. Sally Kern, creationist representative in the Oklahoma legislature, is married to a preacher who claims that the US is a “Christian nation.” That certainly suggests that he’s a theocrat who longs for the good old days — before the Revolution — when there was no separation of church and state.

Well, so what? Just because Sally’s husband is a theocrat, does that tell us anything about Sally’s views? Yes, we think it does. In our Curmudgeonly benevolence, we assume that the Kerns enjoy an ideal marriage — the kind described in the Good Book. In Ephesians 5:22 to 24, King James Version, it says:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. … Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

If Sally is a dutiful wife — and she undoubtedly is — then her husband’s views are also hers. We can further assume that her activities in the legislature represent her husband’s wishes. Therefore, if Reverend Steve Kern is a theocrat, so is Sally.

As we’ve said before, your basic, wandering around goofball who believes in crop circles or magic crystals is of no concern to us. It’s the same with your typical creationist who is obsessed with Noah’s Ark. What such people choose to believe is their own private business.

But it’s very different with legislators. What they believe can affect us all — and if they’re not only creationists, which is potentially disastrous for education, but they’re also theocrats — then we must be concerned. Theocrats intend to turn this country into what it was in the days of the Salem witch trials — when the power of government was used to enforce religious beliefs.

This will probably be our last post about Oklahoma’s Sally Kern, at least for a while. We expect, however, that we’ll be hearing more of her in times to come. If so, it’s good that we have a clear understanding of what we’re dealing with.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “Sally Kern: Theocrat in Oklahoma’s Legislature?

  1. My magic crystal tells me Kerns is quite capable of being indoctrinated by anyone she believes has ‘overriding authority’ so she is not a person we want to have any power. I say that as a friend and neighbour.

  2. It continues to astonish me how terrified some believers are. They appear to believe that the only way that their religion can succeed is to have the government insist on it. Why an omnipotent deity needs a legislature and a bureaucracy to support him is beyond me.

  3. I will attend the debate. Dr. Bruce Prescott is a member of the Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (national) and a valuable Board member of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education. I’m betting on Bruce!

  4. Victor says: “I will attend the debate.”

    You really must give us a report. I wish I could be there with you.

  5. Readers may (or may not) appreciate one of my experiences with the Rev. Kern, Biblical literalist and screaming YEC. A few years ago Dr. Barbara Forrest spoke at the University of Oklahoma to an overflow crowd. As host during the Q and A, I was in the aisles of the auditorium with a microphone for those asking questions. Suddenly the Rev. Kern (a very tall, ex-marine) grabbed my arm, jerked me toward him and in a very loud voice said: “This is a tax-supported institution and I want equal time”…etc., etc. I pulled away and said to see me after the program.

    After the meeting a large crowd had gathered in the foyer where Barbara was autographing her book. As I entered Kern came up to me literally SCREAMING things like ‘Nobody was there to see the creation, so you do not know,” with clinched fist punching the air like a Holy Roller preacher. I tried to tell him that if he wanted to speak at OU, all he had to do was to find a sponsoring organization. He did not listen, but kept up his screaming as I walked away. At that point two campus policemen took him by each elbow and swiftly ushered him out the door to his little red convertible.

    I will try to send you a short report on the debate.

  6. Victor says: “I will try to send you a short report on the debate.”

    Excellent! But your first priority should be to stay alive. I hope there’s plenty of security for the event.

  7. Vic,
    Thanks as always. Any word on the timeline for consideration of the remaining two bills, especially the companion Senate bill to Kerns’ failed bill? Also, how much does failure of the House bill (since the Senate would basically be considering the same thing to pass back to the House) torpedo the Senate bill?

  8. James: The other two bills have not yet appeared on the committee agendas. House Ed Committee meets on Tuesday morning, Senate Ed Committee, on Tuesday morning. Agenda should be out soon.

    The other two bills (HB 1001 and SB 554) are quite different from Kern’s in many ways. Kern’s bill should be dead for now, but the Lege does not always follow their own rules and it could possibly re-appear as an amendment on another bill or in a ‘shell bill’ (a bill numbered and introduced, but with no real content). We will keep watch.

  9. You asked for a brief review of the AU debate mentioned above. It was a formally structured debate, “Resolved the United States Constitution neither established nor advocates for a Christian Nation.” Rev. Kern brought a lot of his church members and his spouse, Sally. If one judged the debate by rules usually used in forensics, Bruce Prescott was clearly the winner with direct quotes from early documents (e.g., ‘Treaty of Tripoli’), etc., statements of the founders, etc. , and a scholarly presentation. Kern mostly preached and referred to his large Bible and a pile of material he kept flipping through in an effort to find statements he could quote; most were from religious writings that few recognized.

    Kern either has palsy or was very nervous. He had a pile of hand drawn graphs he held up showing the supposed rise in STDs, unwed mothers, etc., that he attributed to the lack of religion. He mostly tried to preach a sermon, attacking abortion, etc., and said loudly “Jesus is the only hope for your soul.” During the Q and A ‘In God We Trust’ on coins came up and Kern was asked about ‘E Pluribus Unum.’ His answer – it’s Latin (everyone laughed). He then was asked what it meant; he did not know! This gives you an idea of Kern’s ineptitude in discussing the main question. His groupies departed quickly at the end, while AU supporters mingled a while, perhaps an indication of the result?

  10. At least Kern admitted he didn’t know. I was leafing through an End Times conspiracy/prophecy book, and they translated the motto on the reverse of the Great Seal, annuit coeptis novo ordo seclorum (God has approved our undertaking, a new order for the ages) as “announcing the birth of the New Order World”.

    It’s too bad Kern wasn’t familiar with the Great Seal, he might have made some use of it. There’s a difference between a secular republic and a secularizing republic, which our traditional ceremonial deism illustrates nicely. But in order to use it, you have to first be aware of it.

  11. A fine report, Victor. Kern is everything I ever imagined a theocrat should be. Sally must be proud.

  12. annuit coeptis novo ordo seclorum (God has approved our undertaking, a new order for the ages) as “announcing the birth of the New Order World”

    The Great Seal reads: annuit coeptis novus ordo seclorum. “Novus ordo” is in the nominative case, which means that it cannot be translated as “of the New Order”.

  13. If you type annuit coeptis novus ordo seclorum into an online translator, (i.e. you can easily obtain something very similar to “announcing the birth of the New Order World”. That’s clearly what happened. Shows the depth of research involved.

  14. @Ed: The book was published before there were such things as online translators. The “translation” was produced by replacing the Latin words with some English words that to the ignorant might appear to have the same root.

    For example, “secular” in English means “of wordly things” or “nonreligious”, but in Latin it means “age” or “generation”. They got “announcing” from the “ann” in “annuit”, and “the birth” from “coeptis” which has some of the same letters as “conception”, which doesn’t mean birth, and the rest of the “translation” is done similarly.

  15. @Gabe: Perhaps I was wrong on the technique the writer used (I didn’t think about how old the book was), but I believe I am correct on the depth of research. Clearly the writer did not consult someone familiar with latin, but looked up the phrase word-by-word in a dictionary or something similar, or just guessed based on the apparent cognate.