Metro Weekly

Two Anti-Gay Republicans Seeking Office in Oklahoma Lose Primaries

Jarrin Jackson posted an anti-gay rant condemning Pride, while Scott Esk suggested homosexuality was "worthy of death."

Oklahoma legislative candidates Jarrin Jackson (left) and Scott Esk. – Photos: Facebook.

In a rare bit of good news for the LGBTQ community in Oklahoma, two anti-gay Republicans seeking seats in the state legislature lost their primary election runoffs on Tuesday.

Jarrin Jackson, a Christian nationalist who sought the GOP nomination for Senate District 2, located in the Tulsa exurbs, lost to Ally Seifried, 54%-46%, while Scott Esk, a self-described “Christian constitutionalist,” lost to Gloria Banister, 58%-42%, after finishing in the top two in June’s crowded Republican primaries. 

Jackson, who has lost some endorsements — most notably that of Arizona’s GOP nominee for governor, Kari Lake — after making comments that some deemed as anti-Semitic, saying that Jews would go to hell if they didn’t adopt Jesus Christ as their savior, and implying that Jews were “evil” in social media posts on Telegram.

Jackson also said, in several different posts, that he was “not beholden to Jews or any other group,” and that “I love Jews because Christ told me to, not because they deserve it.”

Jackson previously came under fire for an anti-LGBTQ rant that he made while shooting a video for the right-wing platform Rumble. In the hour-long video, he said he wished for the Rapture and God meeting out vengeance against sinners, including the LGBTQ community. Jackson denounced the celebration of Pride Month, calling homosexuality “unnatural” and “disgusting,” and said he hoped that God “burns the whole place down” — referring to the existing world — and punishes those who celebrate “godlessness.”

Jackson also accused corporate America of attempting to force tolerance of homosexuality “down people’s throats,” by glorifying “disgusting and dangerous” behavior. He attributed those actions to Satan, whom he said is trying to bring disorder into the world and throw a wrench into God’s plans for humanity by discouraging heterosexual marriage and procreation.

In the race for House District 87, in the Oklahoma City suburbs, Scott Esk, a self-employed courier, recently attracted negative press for old Facebook comments dating back nearly a decade in which he claimed gay people are “worthy of death” and that “we would be totally in the right” to stone them to death.

Esk made the comments in 2013 while responding to a Facebook user who had posted a link to an article about Pope Francis’s comments that gay people should not be “judged” and should be integrated into society. In his response, Esk quoted the Old Testament, writing: “Those who practice such things are worthy of death ‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.'”

According to Yahoo! News, Adam Bates, the Facebook user who posted the original article, asked Esk: “So, just to be clear, you think we should execute homosexuals (presumably by stoning)?”

“We would be totally in the right to do it,” Esk replied. “That 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.”

In that same thread, Esk said he was not for “vigilante ‘justice’ or hating people,” adding that he would only harm another person in self-defense and that there is “little support for re-instating the death penalty for perversions involving consenting adults.”

Esk’s comments were deleted soon after they came to light in 2014, although he told the website — in an interview that has also since been scrubbed from the Internet but was reported on by Slate magazine — that the directive about stoning gays “came directly from God” and that he was just reiterating what the Old Testament says. 

“I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law,” Esk told the website at the time. “[But] I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins.”

In another old YouTube video from 2015, Esk referred to homosexuality as an “insidious addiction.”

The original comments — as well as his 2014 defense — were revived shortly ahead of Tuesday’s primary, when the newspaper The Oklahoman published a story reviving the controversy over the comments.

When contacted by the paper for comment, Esk called the newspaper’s past articles from 2014 about the Facebook comments a “hit piece,” declining to give an interview and directing the newspaper to videos he posted on his YouTube page.

“I’ve stood up for what is right in the past, and I intend to in the future and I am right now,” he said. “That’s got me in trouble. The media are not my friends, as far as I’m concerned.”

In one of those videos, he criticized a story focusing on the original comments, written in July by a reporter from NBC affiliate KFOR, and claimed he was being unfairly attacked for holding beliefs opposing homosexuality, which he argued are common among many Christians.

“I had an opinion against homosexuality,” he says in the video. “Well, does that make me a homophobe? Maybe some people think it does, but as far as I and many of the voters of House District 87 are concerned, it simply makes me a Christian.”

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