Scott Esk was campaigning for a different seat in 2013 when he said that according to the Bible, Christians would be “totally in the right” to kill gay people in a Facebook comment thread.
The comments gained renewed attention as Mr Esk’s prepares to take on fellow Republican Gloria Banister in a run-off primary election for Oklahoma’s 87th House District on Tuesday.
Pressed about the remarks ahead of this week’s election, Mr Esk appeared to double down by calling it “totally just” to kill gay people because “it came directly from God”.
In 2013, on an article about the Pope asking “who am I to judge?” concerning gay people, Mr Esk posted bible verses denouncing homosexuality in the comment section.
Another user then asked him if “we should execute homosexuals (presumably by stoning)?”
“I think we would be totally in the right to do it,” he responded, according to MSNBC. “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.”
He posted a 19-minute YouTube video on 15 July of this year to “set the record straight” in response to a local news report on his previous comments.
He asked in the video if having “an opinion against homosexuality” means that he’s “a homophobe,” adding that he thinks that it “simply makes me a Christian”.
He added that he’s “not for expanding the death penalty for homosexuality” but he still criticised what he said he believes are the “obscene things homosexuals do”.
Speaking to The Oklahoman, he called a 2014 article reporting on his comments a “hit piece”.
Mr Esk appeared to double down on his controversial remarks in a recent interview with Moore Monthly, saying: “I think those kinds of sins will not do our country any good. And certainly doesn’t do anything to preserve the family.”
Moore Monthly news director Rob Morris told KFOR News 4 last month, “I looked at it and I thought, ‘oh my gosh, did a candidate for political office actually post this on Facebook?’”
Calling Mr Esk to clear up the comments, the candidate told Mr Morris: “What I will tell you right now is that that was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God. And in that time there was it was totally just it came directly from God. I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins”.
The news director told KFOR: “I bent over backwards to give him an opportunity to kind of at least soften what he said and he didn’t take it.”
Mr Esk posted a similar YouTube video in August 2015.
“I have compassion [for] anybody in the grips of an insidious addiction, such as homosexuality, and wish to help them,” he said in the 32-minute video. “Any Christian should be in the position to say that this is sin or this is good. If we don’t make that distinction, we’re not going to help people.”
“Mr Esk’s views do not align with mine nor reflect the views of Republican voters in HD87 and he certainly should not be our party’s nominee in the November election,” Ms Banister told KFOR.
Mr Eask posted a third YouTube video to “set the record straight” on 21 August. He wrote in the description, “I predict that Gloria’s efforts to embarrass me will backfire on her, and I’ll have a much wider margin of victory against her on Tuesday than there was in June, but it’s all in God’s hands!”