State Rep. Sally Kern told a cheering crowd Wednesday the criticism she's received from gay rights groups and others for calling homosexuality the biggest threat facing this country backs up why she ran for the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
A crowd estimated at more than 1,500 jammed into the first floor of the state Capitol while others watched from above to show support for Kern.
Kern, R-Oklahoma City, and several others, including a man who said he was gay until he found Jesus Christ, often quoted Scriptures while speaking to the crowd.
Wednesday's rally was organized by a coalition of conservative and religious groups, who said nearly 2,000 attended. More than 500 attended a rally last week in the Capitol organized by those criticizing Kern's comments.
"I told the people when I was running for this office that I was a Christian candidate and that I believed we were in a cultural war for the very existence of our Judeo-Christian values,” said Kern, who was elected to the House in 2004. "This situation proves that I was right. We are in a cultural war; this is for real.”
Kern said she's received tens of thousands of e-mails from people supporting and opposing her comments.
"I've been called lots of names, and I can't repeat most of those names,” she said. "Some of the good names I've been called have been courageous, brave and a hero. And I want you to know — and I mean this with all my heart — I have more trouble relating to those good names than I do the bad names.
"I say that because I know I'm a sinner and I'm not worthy of God's grace.”
Kern said after the rally she was humbled by the turnout. She said she was praying for 800.
"This is not about me,” Kern told those at the rally. "It's about the church having the right to speak out about the redeeming love of Jesus Christ who died to set us all free from our sins.”
Kern's husband, the Rev. Steve Kern, said it wasn't the purpose of the rally to bash homosexuals.
"We love them,” said Rev. Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
Several groups supporting homosexual and lesbian rights had asked Kern to apologize.
About her comments
Earlier this year Rep. Kern told those at a meeting of an Oklahoma City Republican club that homosexuality is "the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.