State Senate candidate slammed for comments critics call hate speech targeting Jews, Muslims and LGBTQ+ | New
CLAREMORE — A state senate candidate from Rogers County is being called out for what critics say was hate speech targeting a number of different groups.
Republican District 2 candidate Jarrin Jackson has posted social media posts that are criticized as anti-Semitic, homophobic and insulting Islam.
Jackson has tens of thousands of followers across the country on sites including Telegram, TruthSocial and Rumble. He has also promoted false information about the 2020 presidential election and rhetoric about vaccines and COVID-19 that medical experts say is dangerous.
These critics also want Republican leaders to refute what Jackson is saying.
Rogers County GOP Chairman Bill Pearson said his chapter remains neutral on the candidates until after the runoff election later this month. He said he had no response to messages or remarks from Jackson or any other candidate in the second round.
On his campaign website, Jackson said he and his wife were “closing down” south Claremore and homeschooling their three children. They attend a church in Collinsville.
Jackson writes that he is a sixth-generation Oklahoman, a 2008 West Point graduate and an Afghanistan War veteran who received two bronze stars for combat. In one article, he wrote that he had seen children with suicide vests deployed against soldiers in Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged in 2015.
Jackson, who once told his followers he had “several failed businesses under my belt,” is also a self-published author who operates an ammunition business with clients in every state “except those who hate guns.” fire arms”.
It is also not known where Jackson resides in Rogers County, or how old he is. A state law has allowed Jackson to block public access to his application documents, and he uses a UPS store in Claremore as his address for ethics documents.
Despite this, Jackson received the most votes in the June Republican primary, securing him a spot in the Aug. 23 runoff election.
While he got the most votes in the Rogers County primary last month, he publicly acknowledged that his Telegram supporters are largely funding his candidacy.
Ethics commission disclosures show he raised more than $159,000, including a personal loan of nearly $60,000. He reports raising nearly $100,000 from people living in 43 other states and Thailand. Only about 60 donors listed an address in Oklahoma.
Of these, about a dozen live within or near the boundaries of the legislative constituency he seeks to represent. He did not accept any funding from PACs.
Jackson did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“Accomplice of hate”
Among his comments, Jackson said, “The god of Islam is a man-made god… He is a god inspired by demons. He’s not a real God. You will go to hell if you are a Muslim. …”
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), took issue with Republican leaders who failed to condemn Jackson’s posts and comments.
“I think personally and professionally that we live in a world where you really can’t stay neutral anymore, and saying I want to stay neutral when there’s a clear indication that someone is hateful towards a group of people, you’ am complicit in this hatred,” he said.
Soltani said Jackson appears to be “a classic Christian nationalist” and condemned Christian nationalism, which he said politicizes Christianity.
“The vast majority of Oklahomans are not hateful people and would not support hate towards any group of individuals,” Soltani said. “And anyone elected must represent not only the people of their district, but also the people of Oklahoma.”
Soltani said former state GOP leader John Bennett not only promotes conspiracy and divisive theories, but also allows some of the Republican district’s smaller chapters to post comments negative about Islam, Muslims and other minority groups. Bennett has also come under fire for making comments labeled as Islamophobic and has come under fire for comparing the COVID-19 rules to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.
His replacement, AJ Ferate, could not be reached for comment by CNHI, but recently told the Oklahoma City newspaper: ‘Any kind of anti-Semitism that may exist within the Republican Party has no place. within the Republican Party, and I will not tolerate this.”
Ferate did not respond to comments targeting other groups or spreading misinformation about vaccines or the 2020 presidential election.
“The Oklahoma Republican Party has done a very poor job of policing people who serve in this party or run for the House or Senate in this party and encourage them to promote this kind of hate,” Soltani said. .
Alan Levenson, director of the University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center for Judaism and Israel Studies, said he’s glad the GOP leader recently condemned anti-Semitism, but wants other GOP leaders to also condemn the speeches of hatred.
“I don’t think staying neutral is a principled position where someone is spreading hate and vilification of other groups,” Levenson said. “It’s a cynical thing to say you’re going to be neutral about anyone, right or left, who spreads hatred and division. And certainly that seems to be the only formula in American politics right now that is terribly popular, and I wish it weren’t like most people.
Jackson made anti-Semitic remarks, including writing that “I don’t care what Jews think”, that he is not “beholden to Jews or any other group”.
Levenson said he believed Jackson was “on the fringes,” not just in general, but among the ranks of Christians he encountered in Oklahoma, and that Jackson’s views do not reflect the way most Oklahomans think or what they believe.
He also said that Jackson represents a “pretty fiery and brimstone kind of religiosity, in which absolutely everyone on the planet is doomed to hell except the people who believe exactly as you believe.”
The LGBTQ+ community is also a frequent target of Jackson’s comments. In a video about June Pride Month, he said it would be “delightfully ironic and eternally entertaining if God came back today, got us out of here and then burned the whole place down. That would be great.”
He also said that most people aren’t gay and find it disgusting when “they see other guys kissing.”
“…and yet we’re supposed to celebrate?” (Jackson laughs) It’s supposed to treat him like it’s normal. It is not normal.
Alex Wade, acting executive director of Oklahomans for Equality, said there’s “an unfortunate attitude among bigoted Oklahomans that difference isn’t welcome and everyone feels the same as they do. “.
“Just because contestants like Jarrin Jackson think we don’t belong doesn’t mean that’s the case,” Wade said. “We are just as Oklahoman as he is and have every right to live and love in the state we call home.”
The Reverend Alexis Engelbrecht of Claremore First Christian Church also rejected Jackson’s views. She said they do not reflect Jesus’ teachings to love one another and care for the marginalized and oppressed.
“I am very concerned for the people Mr. Jackson is dehumanizing in these statements,” Engelbrecht said. “Jesus was a Jew, as were his disciples. The teachings of Jesus were influenced by the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, so to say such things about a religious tradition with which Christians share sacred texts is a misunderstanding and a misuse of scripture and history.
Ordained minister of the Disciples of Christ with a master’s degree in theology, Engelbrecht said the kind of love Jesus reveals in his teachings and ministry is a love that does not discriminate, but rather responds to needs and connects people. .
“As stated on our website: ‘We agree that God’s love extends to all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, ideology politics, their age, their gender identity/expression, their mental and physical abilities, or any other designation that has brought them the pain of exclusion and discrimination by the Church and society,” she said. declared.
Engelbrecht said First Christian Church Claremore does not believe homosexuality is a sin and welcomes members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I want people who are part of the groups targeted by Mr. Jackson to know that there is a religious community in Claremore, Oklahoma, with members who strive to treat each person as a precious child of God.” , she said. “We want to share messages of compassion and caring that lead to reconciliation, liberation and peace.”
Despite Jackson’s support for the Second Amendment, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association endorsed Ally Seifried, his second-round opponent. Don Spencer, who heads the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, did not return a message seeking comment.
Seifried said, when asked to comment, “Our words matter, and serious times require serious leaders…I look forward to providing our district with positive leadership that is conservative, thoughtful and consistent with the policies of the district. ‘America First.’
The State Medical Association also condemned Jackson’s comments that “COVID shots kill,” that politicians have been “paid and bought” by vaccine maker Pfizer, and that Oklahomans don’t really need injection because COVID didn’t really kill that. Many people.
COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on families in Oklahoma for more than two years, said Dr. David Holden, president of the organization.
“Throughout this period, dangerous anti-vaxx rhetoric has contributed to the deaths of more than 16,000 Oklahomans and endangered thousands more,” he said.
“With such a loss, Oklahoma cannot afford to have leaders who dismiss the science and realities of COVID,” Holden said.
Jackson also said he classed himself as an “undocumented Eastern Cherokee” because when his ancestors were forced to move to Oklahoma, they said, “We hate white people (and) we don’t sign these garbage,” referring to the Dawes Rolls.
Regarding the ramifications of the United States Supreme Court’s McGirt decision, which found that large swaths of eastern Oklahoma remained reserved land, Jackson said, “(the color of the skin ) does not mean that you are more or less politically protected based on your brown. are. Amen.”
The Cherokee Nation did not respond to a message left seeking comment.