An Oklahoma City minister publicly berated a state senator on Thursday for making what the pastor described as “sexist”, “misogynist” and “racist” public remarks about Vice President Kamala Harris.
Reverend Lee Cooper, senior pastor of the Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, was serving his last day as a participant in the Oklahoma Senate Chaplain of the Week program when he picked up Senator Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, for implying that Harris, the country’s first black person, the first woman and the first person of South Asian descent to become vice-president, had fallen asleep in politics.
Tulsa World reported on Monday that Dahm, who is white, made remarks about Harris after he introduced a law banning the use of paper straws. The outlet reported that Dahm attacked Harris with Pres. Joe Biden and US Senator Mitt Romney in a press release on Senate Bill 1065, saying they were, in his opinion, as weak as paper straws. He shared more derogatory remarks about Harris in an interview with a broadcast reporter.
“Talking to some people, one thing you could say is, you know, you can’t use a paper straw for a milkshake, but maybe Kamala Harris could because of his vast experience, “Dahm told the show’s reporter. in the world of Tulsa. When the reporter replied that it was “mostly oral sexual involvement”, Dahm did not deny it.
Cooper, who is Black, responded to these derogatory remarks made by Dahm.
“I said ‘Sen. Dahm, ‘sucking straws’ is not acceptable. Plus, it’s sexist, misogynistic and racist, ”the pastor told the Oklahoman.
Several Republican senators left the Senate chamber after Cooper called Dahm by name during his sermonette. However, the minister said he had no regrets about berating Dahm.
“You have to speak the truth to power,” Cooper said Thursday afternoon.
“I didn’t bring anything into the Senate space that wasn’t already in the public sphere. Some of them came out and I said it wasn’t the first time someone has gone out while I was talking.”
Dahm did not respond to a request for comment.
Senator George Young, D-Oklahoma City, nominated Cooper for the Senate chaplaincy program. The Senate immediately entered executive session after the pastor’s comments. Young, an ordained Baptist minister, said he could not reveal the subject of the executive session due to Senate rules and protocol.
Senator Mary Boren, D-Norman, however, took to Twitter to announce the executive session.
“We have just entered executive session apparently due to a sermon from the pastor today,” Boren tweeted.
Young said that Cooper was not told what he could or could not say in his meditation that served to conclude his participation in the program. Young also reiterated Cooper’s claim that Dahm’s comments on Harris had been made public, so many people were already aware that he had made statements about her.
“His message was good. No one specifically gave him directions for content, context, message. It was just to be courteous and use decorum and I thought he was doing all of that,” he said. Young said.
“What he did was he used an example that was common knowledge. Anyone who wants to know what that senator said and the horrible reference he made. to the very body that person is a member of and he used that as an example in his message as any pastor would because he was talking about the fact that we need to wake up and start talking and facing these things that are happening to us. impact negatively, those things that negatively impact other people – those things that just keep going without responding to them. He didn’t know not to use the person’s name because the person was still there. ”
Cooper is the longtime senior pastor of Prospect Baptist in northeast Oklahoma City. After Oklahoma City Ward 7 Councilor John Pettis resigned, the minister served as Ward 7 city councilor from June to November 2018, when Nikki Nice, current Ward 7 councilor, was elected to the post.
Cooper said his remarks directly to Dahm came at the end of his sermonette which focused on the importance of dealing with the turmoil that allows the nation to heal and bring about reconciliation.
The minister said the Lord had led him to focus on a unified call for racial reconciliation. He called out the names of several black men and women across the country who were killed by police.
“These are the things that tear us apart. We should now be awakened from our sleep and listlessness and we should be at the point where we should be ready to act,” he said.
“There can be no real reconciliation without confrontation. Something must be said.”
Meanwhile, when asked about the possible repercussions for Dahm, Aaron Cooper, Senate Pro Tem spokesman Greg Treat, said the Senate leader was maintaining his previous comments disapproving of Dahm’s remarks.
“Any disciplinary action that may be taken will be dealt with internally, as has been the case with other disciplinary action taken by Senator Treat since he became the pro tem,” Cooper said.