Oklahoma Tea Party Candidate Supports Stoning Gay People to Death. Seriously.

Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
June 11 2014 1:01 PM

Oklahoma Tea Party Candidate Supports Stoning Gay People to Death

scottpic
Would Scott Esk stone with a smile on his face?

AskForEsk.com

Given how savagely anti-gay the mainstream Oklahoma Republican party is, it’s no surprise that the state’s Tea Partiers are so rabidly hateful that they come across more as dark satire than as serious bigots. To wit: This week, an Oklahoma magazine discovered that last summer, Tea Party state House candidate Scott Esk endorsed stoning gay people to death: “I think we would be totally in the right to do it,” he said in a Facebook post. Esk went on to add nuance to his position:

That [stoning gay people to death] goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.

When a Facebook user messaged Esk to clarify further, he responded:

I never said I would author legislation to put homosexuals to death, but I didn’t have a problem with it.
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Understandably unnerved, the magazine called up Esk for clarification. Although Esk claimed he didn’t remember the comments, he fleshed out his views:

That was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God and in that time there it was totally just. It came directly from God. I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins.

Pressed one final time about his position on stoning gay human beings to death, Esk dug in his heels:

I know what was done in the Old Testament and what was done back then was what’s just. … And I do stand for Biblical morality.

I am impressed that Esk has some understanding of the concept of morality. But I am not quite certain that his views square with modern notions of the concept. I do suspect, however, that Esk’s beliefs aren’t all that far from the other state-level Republicans in the region, who recently attempted to push through the most extreme piece of anti-gay legislation America has ever witnessed. Perhaps our criticism of Esk, then, is really misguided: Rather than chastising him for his seemingly extremist views, we should be thanking him for saying what so many of his political associates are likely thinking. 

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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