A Letter from Tucker

This arrived in my email inbox recently, and seemed well worth passing on.

A letter to Sally Kern from a senior
in high school in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Representative, Sally Kern, in a recent meeting with some of her constituents, equated homosexuality with terrorism and malignant cancer. She was recorded saying that “Homosexuality is a bigger threat to our nation than terrorism or Islam.” She continued that “According to God’s words, it is not the right kind of lifestyle… Gays are infiltrating city councils… It’s deadly and its spreading, and it will destroy our young people, and it will destroy this nation.”

Today my nephew attempted to deliver a letter to Sally Kern but was stopped by a highway patrol man. With his permission I am distributing the letter to all news stations and thought I would include it here. Maybe we can all stand to learn a listen from this smart, loving, young man. He more than most has reason to hate. He lost his mother, my sister, in the Murrah Building bombing.


Rep. Kern:

On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed my mother and 167 others. 19 children died that day. Had I not had the chicken pox that day, the body count would’ve likely have included one more. Over 800 other Oklahomans were injured that day and many of those still suffer through their permanent wounds.

That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. He was an extremist Christian forcing his views through a body count. He held his beliefs and made those who didn’t live up to them pay with their lives.

As you were not a resident of Oklahoma on that day, it could be explained why you so carelessly chose words saying that the homosexual agenda is worst than terrorism. I can most certainly tell you through my own experience that is not true. I am sure there are many people in your voting district that laid a loved one to death after the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City. I kind of doubt you’ll find one of them that will agree with you. I was five years old when my mother died. I remember what a beautiful, wise, and remarkable woman she was. I miss her. Your harsh words and misguided beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother’s killer was a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance for themselves.

As someone left motherless and victimized by terrorists, I say to you very clearly you are absolutely wrong.

You represent a district in Oklahoma City and you very coldly express a lack of love, sympathy or understanding for what they’ve been through. Can I ask if you might have chosen wiser words were you a real Oklahoman that was here to share the suffering with Oklahoma City? Might your heart be a bit less cold had you been around to see the small bodies of children being pulled out of rubble and carried away by weeping firemen?

I’ve spent 12 years in Oklahoma public schools and never once have I had anyone try to force a gay agenda on me. I have seen, however, many gay students beat up and there’s never a day in school that has went by when I haven’t heard the word **** slung at someone. I’ve been called gay slurs many times and they hurt and I am not even gay so I can just imagine how a real gay person feels. You were a school teacher and you have seen those things too. How could you care so little about the suffering of some of your students?

Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for protection. They looked scared. They’ve already experienced enough hate and now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and call them names. After all, you are a teacher and a lawmaker, many young people have taken your words to heart. That happens when you assume a role of responsibility in your community. I seriously think before this week ends that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what you said.

I wish you could’ve met my mom. Maybe she could’ve guided you in how a real Christian should be acting and speaking.

I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from high school this spring. Now she won’t be there. So I’ll be packing my things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more people again. I don’t want to be here for that. I just can’t go through that again.

You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom.

Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others.



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About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • Liz


  • zoecarnate

    I second that. Powerful and articulate, especially for an 18-year-old.

  • Rachel

    Gee, I think I’d like to meet this kid. He’s only a year older than I am and I think we’d get along swimmingly.

    Although I think homosexuality is disordered, and that homosexual activity is a sin, I do not, however, think we should go around hating people and hurting people because of their sexuality. That is not the way Jesus taught us.
    Sadly, yes, there are some gays/lesbians (and those who just “switch it on and off” for “fun”) who have become very bitter and very cold. They revel in the immorality and shocking people, etc. They love to hate those who disagree with them, even those that disagree peacefully. Then there are those who are sincere and pure. I believe you can be born that way, and that they can purely and truly love another that way. It is just disordered.
    *sigh* This is a source of some uncertainty for me. What I do know, however, is that I refuse to hate. Our God is a God of Love and Mercy. Hate is not in His vocabulary. As such, we should mirror Him in all ways we can.

    Bravo, Tucker, I pray Rep Kern and all others who read this will take your words to heart. Thank you for posting this.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlmccolman/ Carl McColman

    Once upon a time we had a widespread cultural assumption that being left-handed was disordered. Left-handed children were forced to write with their right hands. So I think we need to be very careful about what we decide is disordered, especially when we’re basing that judgment on cultural perspectives that originated thousands of years ago. The Bible is the word of God, but it is also a book that is tolerant of slavery. I believe we can be faithful to God and still maintain a critical perspective on some of the cultural expressions found in scripture or in church tradition.

    I agree that some of the more angry/radical segments of the LGBT community make it harder for those who wish to create community and dismantle old patterns of prejudice and intolerance. By the same token, I think the argument could be made that the radical/angry behavior is actually a protest, a response to how poorly sexual minorities have been treated over the years.

    Rachel, thanks for posting your comment, and for being so honest about your uncertainty. It’s very wise to admit when you don’t have all the answers.

    You and I may not exactly see eye to eye, but I think as long as people who disagree can do so with honesty and candor and basic respect for one another, then there is hope for the Holy Spirit to work the miracle of bringing us all closer to the love of Christ. I suspect you are an intelligent and mature young woman, and I wish you well.