The Senate Republican caucus — men and women routinely portrayed by the corporate media as being "solid" and "wise" and who "have our best interests at heart," you know, like James Inhofe, John Cornyn, John McCain, Elizabeth Dole, Mitch McConnell, Ted Stevens… — gave David "Diapers" Vitter a standing ovation when he returned to the Senate after laying low for a week after it was revealed that he had been spending a lot of time over the past decade with a series of hookers and call girls. They applauded the Family Values supporter heartily. Yesterday the Oklahoma legislature’s GOP caucus took a cue from the U.S. Senate and applauded Sally Kern (R-OK City) when she returned after her anti-gay tirade a few days ago.

First, why don’t you listen to her own words:

Yes, that was a state Representative in Oklahoma telling her constituents that she "honestly thinks it’s the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam." I can only imagine what Muslim Oklahomans must feel– not to mention what the families of friends of the victims of the right wing terrorists who blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 (which killed 168 people and injured over 800) must feel. This is a seriously deranged person and in a normal society she would be left to mutter and curse under her breathe. In Oklahoma, the Republican caucus gives her a standing ovation.

Obviously most Oklahomans are not hate mongers like Sally Kerns. I asked Andrew Rice, an Oklahoma state Senator running for the U.S. Senate what he makes of this kind of outburst:

By resorting to inflamatory speech to make her point, Rep. Kern not only hurts the targets of her remarks, homosexuals and non-violent Islamic religious followers, but she also offends most Oklahomans who believe in fairness and decency. Having lost a brother in the World Trade Center on 9/11, it is offensive to me that she equates homosexuality with terrorism. As elected representatives in the Oklahoma state legislature, we are each held to a higher standard in our public remarks. I wish Rep. Kern would have avoided attacking millions of people for their religion or for who they love. I expect the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives to condemn her remarks.

Andrew was right on the money– except about the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives condemning her remarks.

Now perhaps poor Ms. Kern is distraught because he primitive believe system taught her to hate herself because of her own gay son and the only way she can justify disowning him is by lashing out. This seems to me to conflict with her job of serving the people of Oklahoma City. In fact, the very first act of this sad, delusional and obsessed woman when she managed to get into the legislature in 2005 was to introduce a bill, H.R. 1039 which urged library officials to restrict children’s access to books with homosexual themes. The following year she introduced H.R. 2158 which would have mandated the state to withhold funding to any library that refused to "segregate" books with homosexual or sexually explicit material from children’s sections. In 2006 she introduced H.B. 2107 that would have allowed science teachers to teach religious superstitions in public schools regarding creationism.

This morning the Oklahoman asks an important question– Do comments create environment of hate? It’s a question many Oklahomans are asking after Kerns’ outburst.

"Sally Kern’s comments were not only ignorant but very hurtful,” said Jerre Fine, a gay airman who served in the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan. "We need protection from our enemies abroad. We also need protection from within, from people like Sally Kern.”

In the roughly three-minute recording of Kern at a meeting among fellow Republicans, she claimed that gays were trying to indoctrinate 2-year-olds through the school system; that they had infiltrated city councils; that no society tolerating homosexuality has ever lasted more than a few decades and that gays, even more so than terrorists, were the biggest threat facing America. The recording has been heard by more than half a million people on the Internet, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which posted it on its Web site.

At Tuesday’s news conference, held at the Church of the Open Arms in Oklahoma City, many commented that it was just three months ago that they had another occasion to gather there.

In the days following the killing of Stephen Domer, a 62-year-old gay man, many of the same faces had come together to urge passage of hate-crime legislation that would include sexual orientation protections.

Domer allegedly was killed by the member of a white supremacist group. Kern’s critics say her actions have helped create an environment of hate, where crimes such as Domer’s killing are perpetuated.

"These words are hateful words and can result in hateful actions. This is about responsibility and accountability for words, not freedom of expression,” said Richard Ogden, chairman of Oklahoma City-based Cimarron Alliance. Ogden went on to admonish House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, for not censuring Kern for her comments. He also lashed out at the Oklahoma Legislature in general for burying four hate crime proposals in subcommittees, and not allowing them to be debated and voted upon.

Kern absolutely refuses to apologize or back down from her bizarre statements. "I said nothing that was not true, I said nothing out of hate and I don’t believe my colleagues will censure me," Kern said Monday. And she was correct. They gave her a standing ovation instead.

A standing ovation isn’t what she’s getting over at Pam’s House, who reprinted a powerful letter to Kern from Rev. Russell Mark of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, reminding her of what it is to be a Christian and how registering to be a Republican is not the same thing as following Jesus Christ’s teachings of love and acceptance.

As a Christian I have to ask what kind of god do you worship that you would seek the murder of children? Does your Jesus call you to spread lies, repeat gossip and innuendo about people you don’t even know? Does your Jesus teach you to spread hate and to live in fear and teach others to live in fear? So very odd isn’t it that your Jesus and my Jesus are so very different. You see, my Jesus teaches the power of love; to confront my enemies face to face; to embrace them and seek to understand them; to find commonality. Out of humility, seek understanding and out of love, to not be afraid. Even in my anger at what you have said, I would seek to understand how you, my sister-in-Christ would say such ignorant, offensive and incitful things. How do you take a few obscure passages and totally ignore all that Christ teaches and seek to bludgeon an entire people? How do you do this and then go to church and worship the Christ who gave everything to reconcile the world? What about bigotry and fear-mongering is Christ-like? How dare you treat the cross with such disdain! And how dare you misuse the authority of your office. Be ashamed Representative Kern. Be very ashamed. More than your constituents are watching; God is watching.

Sitting and talking with Andrew Rice and his wife a few days ago left no doubt in my mind that Sally Kerns is not all there is to Oklahoma. The state has gotten a bad name in recent years by electing and re-electing a series of crackpot politicians like Tom Colburn and James Inhofe. I’m optimistic that this year Oklahoma will go a long way towards making up for those misjudgments by replacing Inhofe with Andrew Rice. Blue America has endorsed him and we urge anyone who disagrees with Sally Kern’s vicious remarks to donate– even if just one dollar– to Andrew’s campaign.