A photo of Jasmine Crockett labeled "Secularist of the week" and a photo of Tom Woods labeled "Theocrat of the Week"

FFRF Action Fund chides Okla. sen’s slurs and praises U.S. rep’s Project 2025 rebuttal 

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FFRF Action Fund celebrates its “Secularist of the Week” for her pushback against the authoritarian Christian nationalist Presidential Transition Project and names a bigoted Oklahoma state senator as its “Theocrat of the Week.” 

State Sen. Tom Woods recently referred to Oklahoma’s LGBTQ+ community as “filth” in the wake of the tragic death of a 16-year-old high school student, justifying his remarks by claiming “Oklahoma is a Christian state.”

Nex Benedict, of Choctaw ancestry, was physically assaulted in a school bathroom by three older girls, following a year of bullying due to Nex’s gender identity, and later died. Nex’s head was hit on the floor during the attack. The police or an ambulance were not called after the school was alerted, and Nex was suspended. Nex collapsed at home the next day and was pronounced dead at a nearby emergency room. The cause of death has not been officially determined, and a federal investigation has been opened into the school district’s response to bullying and harassment. (Nex was reported as identifying as nonbinary and using they/them pronouns by family members, but friends later said that Nex was transgender and preferred he/him pronouns.)  

State Sen. Woods’ despicable comments took place during a public legislative panel forum sponsored by the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce. After an audience member asked the four Republican legislators on the panel why they had “such an obsession with the LGBTQ citizens of Oklahoma and what people do in their personal lives and how they raise their children,” Woods responded by saying that while his “heart goes out” over Nex’s death, he represents the interests of his constituency: “We are a Republican state — supermajority — in the House and the Senate. I represent a constituency that doesn’t want that filth in Oklahoma.” The Tahlequah Daily Press reported that several audience members applauded Woods’ remarks while others appeared shocked. Woods added, “We are a religious state and we are going to fight it to keep that filth out of the state of Oklahoma because we are a Christian state — we are a moral state … we don’t want that in the state of Oklahoma.” After the event, Woods stood by his abhorrent words even when Oklahoma Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat denounced them.

Our Theocrat of the Week is obviously never going to retract his hateful statements because he truly believes them, and justifies them by his religious faith, which continues to make Oklahoma an unsafe place for its vulnerable LGBTQ+ community.

Our “Secularist of the Week” is fighting against Christian nationalism in the form of the Presidential Transition Project, Project 2025, which would restructure the executive branch if Donald Trump wins in November. Project 2025, a product of the Heritage Foundation, ALEC and various Christian nationalist organizations, is a blueprint for authoritarianism and wants to make sure that Christianity has a privileged place in American society, the civil service is gutted and nondominant communities are marginalized. 

U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett rebuked Project 2025 while appearing on MSNBC in late February. The member of Congress posted her interview on X and wrote, “I’m a Preacher’s Kid, so let me set it straight: Project 2025 doesn’t have a thing to do with the teachings of Christianity. It’s about using Christianity to create a right-wing authoritarian state with control of every aspect of your life.” In her interview, Crockett said, “When I walk in to legislate, I legislate as someone who is looking out for all of America — whether you are of the Islamic faith, Jewish faith, Christian faith or no faith at all because that is what we are supposed to do.”

We thank our Secularist of the Week for her commitment to serving all of America and her recognition of how alarming Project 2025 and Christian nationalism are. Our Theocrat of the Week, on the other hand, needs a tutorial on the basic constitutional values of this country.

FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.