Sally Kern's mouth motors on

The infamous anti-gay legislator from Oklahoma, Sally Kern, was interviewed by the Oklahoma Daily. The story has some fine bon mots, like her definition of evolution:

Kern defined evolution to me as "the process of wanting to create something or have something be perfect. Get rid of that which is not healthy and strong."

That's a very common creationist misconception: they can't imagine a natural process that doesn't have wants, that is lacking that teleological impulse.

The writer sent me the outtakes from the interview. If you want more Kern uncut and uncensored, look below the fold.

She was asked about desecrating communion wafers. She's a baptist, so her ox wasn't being gored, so she's not too concerned. But being Sally Kern, she was easy to poke into babbling further.

KERN: Well, I don't know a lot about the Catholic religion or Episcopalian, you know, we don't do wafers in a Baptist church. We have our little cracker kind of thing for our communion. I think there are things, certain symbols that are precious and significant to different people in their faiths and they think very highly of them and to see somebody do something like that is really offensive to them. It's kinda like burning the flag. Do you have the right to burn the flag? I guess the way our society sees things today, that professor had the right to do that even though it was offensive to somebody else. It gets back to this thing, back here again to a Biblical principle about, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." A wafer doesn't have a great deal of significance to me, but I wouldn't take it and do something like that because I know it would be offensive to somebody else, so I don't know if that's what you wanted, but…

ME: Oh, I was just curious.

KERN: I think that professor's probably… Sounds to me, 'cause I don't know him, never heard of him, but it sounds to me like he has an axe to grind.

ME: He's an atheist. He does a lot of atheist activism.

KERN: Is he? Mm-hm.

ME: I know you're probably not familiar with it. It's just that, there's been a big fuss on the Internet about it for about a month straight.

KERN: Yeah. Well, I'm sure there was, yeah.

ME: Do you think that certain kinds of blasphemy should be punishable, or do you think that that falls completely under free speech?

KERN: That's a very good question, Zac, and I'm not really sure how to answer that. I do think that our courts today have expanded free speech beyond what our founding fathers intended. I don't think they ever intended things like pornography. Burning the flag, or perhaps even doing something like this professor's done. I don't think they intended that. I think that as our society has gotten more tolerant and we've expanded what free speech includes to where now almost anything somebody wants to do they can do, because it's their right. Well, with every right there's a responsibility. I think we focus too much on rights and not enough on responsibility in society. So, you know, I'm not one to go out and say, "Oh, they did that, and they did that. That needs to be punished." I'm for fewer laws, rather than more laws. And, you see, that gets back to Biblical principles. Okay? I believe our founding fathers felt that if we had a society that was based upon Biblical principles people would have internal regulation, internal, they would be self-controlled citizens. And, therefore, if you have self-controlled citizens you need less outward controls. We are developed into a society today because people believe whatever they want to believe and think they can do whatever they want to do, and as everybody does whatever they want to do, they're doing things that oftentimes are harmful, injurous, disrespectful to other people, and therefore the government is having to step in to control. And so we've got more and more laws, and I think we've got more and more laws because we've gotten away from having more individual self-control and restraint. And only one's faith-- generally, you get religious doctrine, religious beliefs, religious restraint from a faith, whether it be Christianity or some other.

ME: (clears throat) Pardon me.

KERN: It's okay. I'm gonna give you about fifteen more minutes. I've got some things I have to do.

ME: One last question. Then I'll let you go.

KERN: Okay.

ME: Thanks for your time, by the way. As you have probably noticed, it seems like atheist and secularist groups have been getting much more outspoken, even in an area like the Bible Belt. To your personal experience, not asking you to make a statement that encompasses the whole of existence, what is your opinion, by and large, of the atheist community of America?

KERN: Well, I think it goes back… What James Madison said once, "If men were angels, there'd be no need for laws." But we aren't angels. I believe the founding fathers had a good understanding of the nature of mankind and I believe that's why they wanted a society based upon Biblical principles that created this inner restraint. When you get away from that and you get to the point where you say, well, there is no god. You see, the reason… The Bible teaches, "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Okay? Why do they do that? Because they want to do what they want to do. And we live in a society today where it's not fashionable to be a born-again Christian. It's not politically correct to express your religious beliefs in the public sector. 'Cause that, ohh, that's violating separation of church and state! So I think that… And then I think, the political climate has a great deal to do with it as religion is being suppressed then what's popping up? The atheism. And you're not gonna find an atheist having a lot of love in their heart for their fellow mankind. Okay? That doesn't mean that they don't love other people. Because I'm sure they… wife, spouse, children, whatever. But loving someone never comes easy whether you have the love of God in your heart or not. It's a choice. But I believe we just live in a society today where there's a real cultural war. You know? And when I knocked on doors four or five years ago when I started running I told my district I was running as a distinctively Christian candidate because I believe we're in a cultural war for the very existence of our Judeo-Christian values. We're seeing that culture war today. And it is a war. It's a war of good versus evil. Of God versus the godless. And, actually, you're seeing the Bible fulfilled. The Bible says in the end days the godless will get more godly-- or, the godly will get more godly and the wicked will get more wicked, and we're seeing that today. They're getting bolder and bolder.

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// I do think that our courts today have expanded free speech beyond what our founding fathers intended//

Which part of "free speech" does she not understand,LOL

And I thought the LHC might create a black hole...

The Bible says in the end days the godless will get more godly-- or, the godly will get more godly and the wicked will get more wicked, and we're seeing that today

Now that's clear thinking!

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

The creationist idea about how a cell being created has an analogy in some force of nature acting on a junkyard and producing a working car reflects a perception they have of "two half-cells" somehow "clicking together" to become the "first living cell". The idea of an energized ocean of reactive molecules escapes them.

I suspect they picture the two "half cells" somehow being up on the crest of two waves that come together mid-ocean - and of course, their fairy-god does that sparky thing, too.

By marc buhler (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

The Bible teaches, "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Okay? Why do they do that? Because they want to do what they want to do.

Such insight... what a moron.

It's nice to know that Sally Kern and muslim fundamentalists have so much in common. It's obvious that she both has a lack of knowledge in history, save for a few irrelevant facts, and she either doesn't read her bible, or doesn't read the constitution, or both. Remind me again how this mongoloid got into office?

She is made of dumb.

Well, I think it goes back... What James Madison said once, "If men were angels, there'd be no need for laws." But we aren't angels. I believe the founding fathers had a good understanding of the nature of mankind and I believe that's why they wanted a society based upon Biblical principles that created this inner restraint.

Yeah, what's the percentage of Christians in this country again? Which nation is up there on the largest percentage of incarcerated citizens? What's the percentage of professed believers in those prisons?

It's a war of good versus evil. Of God versus the godless.

She is actually saying there that evil and godless are the same thing, am I right?

Well gee thanks Sally you sanctimonious arsehole.

"I don't think they ever intended things like pornography."

Is this person even VAGUELY aware about our forefathers? I mean, good ol' Benjamin was a lady-killer who recommended that young men sleep with older women because they are more experienced and will appreciate it more (and you don't even have to see their nasty wrinkles if you do the deed in a dark room)!

It always amuses me when they bring our forefathers into conversations about "what they wanted" in terms of religious freedoms. They all seem to have some sort of impression that they church-nuts or something, which is hilarious when you take into consideration that Benjamin Franklin pretty much says you're a dumbass if you go to church on Sundays when you could be spending your Sunday mornings doing something -useful.-

By Aphrodine (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

Aphrodine, they live in a parallel universe, one where Jesus was a blonde caucasian who drives an SUV. They know the ...Truth. Any relation to this reality is inconsequential and mostly unnecessary.

It doesn't really matter what the founders wanted, as they were not a unified group. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were hammered out in debate and compromise. Some of them didn't get their way.

The states ratified the Constitution and then the Bill of Rights, and so we are bound by them no matter what the founders' personal beliefs were. Of course, we can look to their writings during the time to get a better grip on the Establishment Clause, but they were careful to create a nation of laws, not men. They wanted a government which protected the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

Among those rights is the right to offend, whether by desecrating a cracker or burning a flag. Modern Baptists such as Kern have no sense of the history of the Baptists' struggle to make sure that the government did not dictate any sort of religious beliefs and supported a secular government because they had been persecuted in Europe. They even supported the rights of the infidel to every belief and found a champion of the Establishment Clause in Jefferson.

As for Kern's belief that we are atheists only because we want to do whatever we want, then perhaps she should stop promoting religion. Religion is used to create Providential justification for whatever we want to do. Atheists make no claim that our actions are justified by the Word of Any God.

"The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God.'"

Yes; and the wise one hath said the same and then shouted 'There is no God!' from the rooftops. But since the fools weren't listening to their hearts they disagreed with him...

Not to defend her, but even this whack-a-doo is more poised, coherent and articulate than Palin.

By Molly, NYC (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

clinteas @ #1

That would be the part that applies to everyone not like her.

Like most fundamentalists, Kern has no grasp of history or constitutionality except as it applies to herself and her religion (indeed, even her own sect, as her ignorance of Catholics shows pretty clearly.) Couple that with the fundamentalist penchant for exegesis (after all, that's how they make biblical literalism work: it's all in the interpretation exegesis) and you have a toxic mix of ideology and wishful (indeed, magical) thinking that produces these "Christian Nation" interpretations of American history and rights. It's all a rehashed version of American triumphalism wound with the hagiographical cloth of Christian teleological interpretation, lacking only actual facts and adherence to the evidence.

Yet this is the history that too many Americans now accept as genuine, because they themselves have been raised to the same attitudes toward evidence and magical thinking. Unfortunately, Kern's comments will fall on far too many ready ears primed to believe her underlying false assumptions. From there, it's not much of a leap for these same people to accept the rest of her premises without question. For them it's a simple equation:

Christian nation = Christians rule = Christianity is the law

There is no room in this for Jefferson or Madison or Washington or any of the other Founders who spoke so eloquently about the exact opposite course for our nation, no room for the clear and exact meaning for the 1st Amendment, and certainly no room for atheists who might dare to question the whole evidentiary house of cards on which this worldview supports itself.

This is the nonsense that I fight every day as an historian, the "Christian Nation" poison that has infected our body politic with ideas that would make most of the Founders (were they still here to see it) want to take up arms again.

"Not to defend her, but even this whack-a-doo is more poised, coherent and articulate than Palin."

And as a pet owner, I can assure you that dried, stony poo is much easier to clean up than fresh, runny poo.

But they're both poo.

By bernard quatermass (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

...It gets back to this thing, back here again to a Biblical principle about, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." ...

does this mean gays should be able to pistol whip baptists and deny them equal rights?

By The Petey (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

The Bible teaches, "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Okay? Why do they do that? Because they want to do what they want to do.

Project much?

What silly person believes that there was a time where pornography did not exist?

By Christophe Thill (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

The "Do unto others" ethical standard has become poisonous. It is also invalid. This cartoon says it all.

Oh dear. Poor old USA. It must be really depressing to live in a society where it's not fashionable to be a born again Christian, and where religion is supressed. And just what do you do for moral values? Seems to me the founding fathers have a lot to answer for, what with not excplicitly mandating biblical morality and all. It's all so much worse than I thought...

It's a war of good versus evil. Of God versus the godless. And, actually, you're seeing the Bible fulfilled.

If the Bible is being fulfilled, then what's the problem? I don't see why she would have a problem with the Bible being fulfilled. There is nothing that could stop the Bible from being fulfilled, so I don't see why she would have a problem with anything at all. Why even run for office? The Bible would still be fulfilled! No worries! It's okay Sally!

I do think that our courts today have expanded free speech beyond what our founding fathers intended

Actually she's somewhat right. Freedom of speech comes from the First Amendment, which begins "The Congress shall make no law ..." In other words, limitations on speech were prohibited only under federal law. Given the text of the Tenth Amendment ("The powers not delegated ... are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people"), there are two possible interpretations of the First Amendment: either (a) there is no power in any level of government to limit speech, or (b) it's up to the states to regulate speech within their borders.

In its 1789 form it's kind of open to interpretation, and the interpretation we have is a result of judicial precedent: speech is fully protected and can't even be limited by the states (save some exceptions, like broadcast limitations to prevent Middle American ears from encountering Carlin's seven words). So in a sense, we've gone with the more liberal version of the Tenth Amendment in interpreting the scope of the First, so more speech is protected than may have been intended by the original Bill of Rights.

But of course that's not what she means. She means the Founding Fathers were from the Glorious Kingdom of New Jesusland and burning witches and heretics was a silly custom to throw away just because of some pesky Constitution.

By Bostonian (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

This is mind-boggling and frightening.

But loving someone never comes easy whether you have the love of God in your heart or not. It's a choice.

I think the problem here is clear. This is a woman who finds it extremely difficult to love other people. Without some sort of outside authority figure telling her to do so with threats of punishment, like a big bad daddy forcing her to apologize to her sister for breaking her dolls, she'd never do so. Empathy is not something she feels but rather something she fakes out of obligation. And like most sociopaths, she seems to think that everyone else is just as ego-driven and self-centered as she is. It's sad, if you really stop to think about it. She must be very lonely.

...It gets back to this thing, back here again to a Biblical principle about, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." ...

does this mean gays should be able to pistol whip baptists and deny them equal rights?

No. It means baptists should give gays a hug. And invite them to a sweet candle-lit dinner. And a movie.

@Bostonian,

You're forgetting about the fourteenth amendment, which basically extends the restrictions on the federal government to the states.

Which is indeed different from what the founders envisioned, so your point still holds. But just to be clear, the protections of the first amendment haven't been expanded solely by the courts; the constitution was duly modified to expand those rights. A decision I suspect most of the founders would have wholeheartedly supported.

And I thought the LHC might create a black hole...

The LHC is worshipped by a huge religious cult. They call themselves 'scientists'. They say it will teach them the 'laws of the universe'. Just as the bible teaches the good Christian God's laws. This means the LHC will tell scientists how to live their lives. They will build beer volcanoes and stripper factories to fulfill its commandments. It will be their God. The LHC is the Anti-Christ. The Great Whore of Babylon. That's what the 'H' in LHC stands for. Whore.
When those scientists start colliding protons in the LHC - then God will know it's time to rev up the rapture machine, and start snatching God-fearing Christians straight out of their clothes.

The fool has said with their mouth- "The Bible is the inerrant word of God because it says in the Bible that the Bible is the inerrant word of God."

Who's foolin' who?

By gpwheatgrass@b… (not verified) on 06 Oct 2008 #permalink

This may appear at first glance to be tangential to the topic at hand, but bear with me please.

Over the past few years I have had a number of visits from the "God Squad" brigades. Be it Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses or some of the various Evangelical Churches out there.

There was one sweet old guy in particular who came around quite often, and we had nice chats at the door. I made no bones about being an atheist and he made no apologies for his faith in God. He used to bring up the talking points and I discussed them with him. In one discussion he said to me that he enjoyed talking to me because it reaffirmed his belief.

Anyway a few months ago he came to my door and asked me if he could come in, I said "Of course". When we were sitting in the living room he told me that my house had been put on a blacklist and he had been ordered not to come around here any longer.

He told me that it had not been very well received when he had gone back and talked to his brothers and sisters about things he and I had discussed. He asked me to check that nobody was on the road so that there wasn't a chance of his being seen leaving. I found that so sad.

A couple of weeks ago there was a knock at my door and it was a different person. I asked the person what happened to the old guy and I was told by this person that he didn't want to come around because he felt abused by me.

The guy was obviously higher in the church than the old guy. Anyhow this guy launched into his spiel and because of the lie, I did not exactly feel like being very tolerant or respectful towards him. So in the next half hour or so I just ripped him a new one.

The upshot of it was, that a friend of mine who was sitting in the living room and listening to what was going on said to me after the guy suddenly and precipitously said that he had to leave (I was just getting to the stage of saying "You are not seriously wanting to come at me with Paley and the watchmaker are you") that he couldn't wait to get home and E-Mail his friends about what he had just witnessed - i.e. one of these Bible-Thumpers getting his ass handed to him.

My point is that as far as I am concerned, if someone is a nice person, then I don't care if he believes as I do or not. Some however are not so nice, and they should be confronted directly and with as much respect as they show me i.e. none whatsoever.

There is after all a difference between praying on your knees and preying on your neighbours.

Nec_V20: A very nice story. I hope the old guy wasn't seriously worried about your "abuse", and foments some sort of rationality-from-the-inside movement.

Kern: "It gets back to this thing, back here again to a Biblical principle about, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "

That's not a Biblical principle. It was formulated by Rabbi Hillel.

You have to wonder if the founding fathers anticipated so many religious nutcases like Sally "KLU KLUX" Kern in America

One common, and sometimes willful, mistake these fundies make about evolution and natural selection is that it favors the most physically robust and strong over the weak.

But if that were true, the dinosaurs, the megaladon shark and the megafauna of North America would still be around today.

In fact, evolution by natural selection is the EQUALIZER. Over time, the big predators die out because they cannot adapt to changing circumstances, which clears the way for the little guys to thrive.

"The Bible teaches, "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Okay? Why do they do that? Because they want to do what they want to do."

It's true though. I want to eat whatever I want as long as it's edible and safe. I want to work or not work on any day of the week. I want to have sexual intercourse with other consenting adults and use contraception. I may even want to, once in a great while, gamble (is this one really in the Bible at all?).

I was in the mood for some double-dutch jumprope rhymes...

Fiddle-faddle, silly Sally
Silly Sally Kern--
Fuddy-duddy silly Sally
Won't you ever learn?

(one, two, three four
Silly Sally talks some more;
Five, six, seven, eight
Look at her discriminate!)

Namby-pamby silly Sally
Doesn't like the gays
Crazy daisy silly Sally
Doesn't like their ways.

(one, two, three four
Silly Sally talks some more;
Five, six, seven, eight
Look at her discriminate!)

Little biddy silly Sally
Talking to her god
Loopy-doopy silly Sally
Doesn't think it's odd

(one, two, three four
Silly Sally talks some more;
Five, six, seven, eight
Look at her discriminate!)

Ah, I can't be bothered...

Is there some sort of OM Lifetime Achievers Hall of Fame for Cuttlefish?

If not, can we make one?

Jesus christ, is this woman for real? Seriously?

Sally Kern most desperately needs a visit from the Entartistes.

Sally Kern? Sally?

Hey--it's the McCain campaign on line one. They wanna know if you enjoy slaughtering moose ...

Cuttlefish, how about:

Toting-smoting silly Sally,
Please don't burn her flag.
Hero-Nero silly Sally,
But you may burn a fag.

Allowing for the free-form of verbal discussion rather than written answers, Sally Kern is fairly coherent: I'd say her nonsense to comprehensible utterances ratio came in at around 7-8 centipalins. But, of course, speaking in more-or-less comprehensible sentences doesn't make her right about a single things she says.

Still, it's nice to have a political figure say something clearly enough to allow anyone with half a brain to understand exactly how wrong she is about everything she says...

We are developed into a society today because people believe whatever they want to believe and think they can do whatever they want to do, and as everybody does whatever they want to do, they're doing things that oftentimes are harmful, injurous, disrespectful to other people, and therefore the government is having to step in to control. And so we've got more and more laws, and I think we've got more and more laws because we've gotten away from having more individual self-control and restraint. And only one's faith-- generally, you get religious doctrine, religious beliefs, religious restraint from a faith, whether it be Christianity or some other.

Kern's speach, thought, ideology, and wanton disregard for the Constitution OFFENDS me, can we please have the government types step in and silence her?

they're doing things that oftentimes are harmful, injurous, disrespectful to other people --- This is exactly how I would describe this ignorant woman... harmful, injurous, disrespectful!

Kern: "We have our little cracker kind of thing"

Nice double entendre!

You know, if you cut out all the bullshit about free speech being expanded and our society having a biblical basis, she's basically advocating something like Judeo-Confucianism. I'm sure she'd disagree, but then, she's a moron.

The links at the top don't seem to lead to the interview quoted. Does someone have the link so I can read the whole thing?

@BZ

The column draws from the same interview, though I don't think I took any quotes from the bit that I sent PZ.

Send me an email if you really want the full text of the interview, though, I must warn you, it's pretty much your typical, tedious, Christian nation claptrap; the only thing that makes it noteworthy is that it's coming from a public official.