Scott Esk, a Republican candidate for the Oklahoma state house, endorsed stoning gay people to death last year in a comment thread on Facebook.
In published screenshots from TheMooreDaily.com, a local news site in Oklahoma, Esk was discussing a story about the Pope in July of 2013 when he left a comment quoting Leviticus 20:13 from the New American Standard Bible which reads:
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. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
In the back and forth comments that followed, Esk was asked by another Facebook user, “So, just to be clear, you think we should execute homosexuals (presumably by stoning)?”
“I think we would be totally in the right to do it,“ Scott Esk replies. “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.”
The comments can still be found on Facebook, and msnbc confirmed that the conversation appears just as it was captured and published by TheMooreDaily.com. What’s more, Scott Esk’s own campaign site links to the same Facebook profile page as the Scott Esk who made the aforementioned comments. For clarity, the screenshot of the conversation below does not include comments by a third person, but links to the full thread.
Calls and emails from msnbc to Scott Esk for comment were not immediately answered.
However, TheMooreDaily.com reports it was able to speak with Scott Esk and asked him to clarify those comments. An audio recording of that interview is posted online. When asked specifically about whether he thinks members of the LGBT community should be stoned to death, the voice identified as Esk says:
What I will tell you right now is that was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God. And in that time, it was totally just – it came directly from God. I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have very big moral misgivings about those kinds of sins, and I think that those kinds of sins will not do our country any good and certainly doesn’t do anything to preserve the family.
When pressed again by the interviewer if he would approve of such a sentence, were such a law to be somehow passed, the man identified as Esk would only respond that it was a “moot point.” He went on to say, “I will not comment about a private conversation that I had with somebody.”
NBC’s Oklahoma City affiliate KFOR spoke to Rob Morris, who runs TheMooreDaily.com. He told KFOR that he was tipped off about Esk’s comments by a friend and then, like msnbc, found the conversation on Facebook. Morris said his response, when first told about the comments, was “You’re nuts. Nobody would be stupid enough to do that.”
Esk’s campaign site states that he is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and for “traditional family values.” The site also tells visitors that Esk believes citizens’ rights “come from God – not from government.”