A GOP candidate in Oklahoma is getting attention for comments he made several years ago when he justified the death penalty by stoning for gay people. When asked recently about it, he didn’t disavow his previous comments.
Scott Esk, 56, is running in the Republican primary runoff election tomorrow for a seat in the state house, and local media is bringing up some extreme comments he made in the past. He’s not handling them well.
In 2013, Esk was commenting in a Facebook conversation about the Pope saying that he couldn’t judge gay people. Esk posted some Bible quotations, including the part of Romans 1 where the Bible says that a long list of people who sinned is “worthy of death.”
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Another person asked him: “So, just to be clear, you think we should execute homosexuals (presumably by stoning)?”
Esk responded: “I think we would be totally in the right to do it… Ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.”
A year later, a journalist asked him about those comments. He said it was “totally just” to kill gay people.
“What I will tell you right now is that that was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God,” he said at the time. “And in that time, there was, it was, totally just came directly from God.”
After those comments, he put out a long video where he claimed he “sets the record straight.” In those videos, he claimed he has “compassion on anybody in the grips of an insidious addiction, such as homosexuality.”
“Any Christian should be in the position to say that this is sin or this is good. If we don’t make that distinction, we’re not going to help people,” he said in the first video published in 2015.
In the another video, which was from earlier this year, Esk called a local TV news report on his comments a “hit piece on the fact that I had an opinion against homosexuality.”
“Well, does that make me a homophobe? Maybe some people think it does,” he said. “But as far as I and many of the people, the voters of House District 87 are concerned, it simply makes me a Christian. Christians believe in biblical morality, kind of by definition, or they should.”
He said that he is not in favor of “expanding the death penalty in Oklahoma for homosexuality,” he just wants everyone to know that gay people are so offensive to his god that his religion wants them dead.
“The fact is, that it’s much more offensive knowing what obscene things homosexuals do with each other than it is for somebody to hold the view that it is indecent,” he said in the second video.
Now that the runoff election is tomorrow, The Oklahoman asked Esk about those comments to see if his opinion has changed at all.
He refused to do an interview and pointed The Oklahoman to the two videos.
“I’ve stood up for what is right in the past, and I intend to in the future and I am right now,” he stated. “That’s got me in trouble. The media are not my friends, as far as I’m concerned.”
Earlier today, Esk posted a video to his YouTube channel entitled “Scott Esk sets the record straight for the 3rd time,” in which he calls The Oklahoman piece and a piece by News 4 “hit pieces” and says that the media is against him because they want his opponent Gloria Banister to win.
He also responded to being fired from his job as a data manager in 2011 because he was arrested after he allegedly threatened and harassed the leadership of his church. In the video, he calls those church leaders “snakes” and makes some opaque references to the divorce and custody battle he was going through at the time.
Whoever wins the primary tomorrow will run against the Democratic winner in November. The seat is currently held by state Rep. Collin Walke (D), who is retiring.