Peter Montgomery's blog

Catholic Author: Pope, Church In Pro-Gay Shadow Of Antichrist

Conservative griping about Pope Francis continues. Billionaire Ken Langone, the founder of Home Depot, complained to Cardinal Timothy Dolan that the pope’s comments about capitalism would hurt efforts to raise funds from rich people for a renovation of St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York. But Langone’s whining about the pope hurting rich peoples’ feelings pales in comparison to a New Year’s Day diatribe published by Alan Keyes’ Renew America website about the Vatican hiring “pro-homosexual corporations” as advisors.

The piece by conservative Catholic anti-gay and anti-abortion activist Randy Engel complains that the government of Vatican City, in its efforts on behalf of financial reform, transparency, and efficiency, is turning to consulting firms EY (formerly Ernst & Young), McKinsey & Company, and the Promontory Financial Group. Among the sinister evidence that Engel marshals against the companies are the existence of employee LGBT groups, participation in LGBT Chambers of Commerce, high rankings on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index – even an executive’s praise for Rep. Barney Frank’s congressional service. After quoting McKinsey’s commitment to diversity in hiring, she says,

Wow! Now ain't that a kick in the head to every faithful Catholic layman and cleric and other people of good will who have been fighting the Homosexual Collective in the U.S. and abroad for decades with little to none support from the Vatican.

Engel is author of The Rite of Sodomy, a 1,300-page screed against “the immensity of the homosexual subculture that has hijacked the Roman Catholic Church.” Her book has been promoted by the likes of Peter LaBarbera.  

Engle uses rhetoric like “homosexual deathstyle” and “diversity of perversity.” But she outdoes herself in her Renew America post by going so far as to suggest that Pope Francis and other church leaders, are under the influence of the anti-Christ:

As for the Vatican's role in yet another moral quagmire under another disastrous post-Conciliar papacy, what can one say?

I have no doubt that the Vatican officials and clerics who hired these morally bankrupt firms to "reform" the Vatican's administration and finances, and who have given God's enemies free access to administrative and financial secret data of all kinds, knew exactly what they were doing when they made the appointments. The fact that not a single Vatican official including the current occupant of the Chair of Saint Peter, has publicly raised the issue of possible moral turpitude practiced and advanced by these mega business firms confirms what all true Catholics know in their heart of hearts – that we are living in the shadow of the Antichrist.

Duck the Halls: The Religious Right's Own War on Christmas

If you’re already tired of the Duck Dynasty flap, I have some bad news for you: Religious Right leaders aren’t going to drop it. On Christmas Eve, while millions of Americans were finishing Christmas preparations and gathering with loved ones, Janet Porter and Rick Scarborough were holding an emergency conference call to launch Porter’s latest gimmicky scheme: sending rubber ducks to A&E executives to protest the suspension of Phil Robertson.

Porter has been warning about a war on American Christians for years – she even wrote a book called The Criminalization of Christianity.  So she clearly sees this as her (current) last chance to save America.  Faith2Action has launched a website MailTheDuck.com, at which you can hand over your contact information to Porter so that she can send a postcard on your behalf to Nancy Dubuq, CEO of A&E Networks, declaring “You Can’t Camouflage Anti-Christian Bigotry!” The postcard demands an apology and warns of a boycott until Robertson is reinstated.  You can also fork over some cash if you want to send a rubber duck or ten to A&E to be sure they get the message.

The opening image of the website is, unfortunately, a big lie. It’s a picture of Robertson with the word FIRED stamped across it. In fact, Robertson hasn’t been fired for making offensive comments in a magazine interview, just suspended. Americans who have wanted to get their Duck on this week have been able to watch a Duck Dynasty marathon. Even WND, in its story on the project, notes: “According to Entertainment Weekly, sources close to the show report nine of the 10 remaining episodes of season four have already been shot, and the network has no plans to cut out the footage featuring the senior Robertson.”

But on the conference call Porter and Scarborough had with activists, freedom was hanging by a thread. Robertson’s suspension is “an atrocity,” “an attack on religious liberty” and an effort to “shut down Christians.” Faith itself is at risk of “being declared unlawful.” Porter even compared Robertson to the famous Chinese activist who stood in front of a tank (yeah, that’s just the kind of risk Robertson took by spouting off to GQ magazine). Porter says Americans can courageously stand with Robertson by sending  millions of ducks (probably made in China, come to think of it) to A&E.

Porter mentioned that she is working on a documentary about anti-Christian persecution. A caller who described herself as a former lesbian urged Porter to include the story of Lisa Miller, the woman who became a far-right folk hero when she kidnapped her child and fled the country rather than obeying court ordered custody arrangements involving Miller’s former partner.  Porter said Miller’s story is part of her film project.

Back to the ducks.  In addition to Scarborough’s Vision America, Porter’s new project is being cosponsored by the dominionist Oak Initiative (Porter is a board member) and by Liberty Counsel, the Religious Right legal group that used to represent Lisa Miller. Of course, Porter and Scarborough aren’t the only ones trying to cash in on the Duck Dynasty controversy. Among those who have launched  petitions are the National Organization for Marriage and Mike Huckabee.  Huckabee and Porter are longtime allies; she declared his 2008 presidential candidacy anointed by God.

What Persecution Looks Like

Nothing like putting things in perspective.

At the end of a week in which Religious Right leaders, cable TV pundits, and conservative politicians acted as if freedom were being destroyed because a rich TV star was suspended for making offensive racist and anti-gay comments, the Parliament in Uganda passed a bill that threatens gay people with life in prison.

And with that vote, all the alarmist bluster about persecution from Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and every Religious Right leader who saw a chance to boost year-end fundraising by jumping on the martyrdom bandwagon was made to look ridiculous.

This week’s news gave us plenty of evidence about real persecution, and it had nothing to do with Duck Dynasty. The face of persecution is not Phil Robertson, but the terrified LGBT people in Uganda who fear that they are about to be hunted.  Persecution looks like gay teenagers in Russia being beaten by thugs, and like gay parents who have the ability to leave Russia fleeing because anti-gay political leaders are threatening to take their children from them. Persecution looks like LGBT people all over the globe whose lives and freedom are threatened by new laws that enshrine discrimination and define them as criminals. Persecution looks like LGBT teens in Jamaica facing vigilante violence.  And on and on.

Newsweek reported a week ago that Ethiopia had declared war on gay men this year, noting, “A representative from the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council Against Homosexuality announced that the council was making ‘promising’ progress in convincing the government to introduce the death penalty to punish ‘homosexual acts.’”

How do American conservative religious and political figures respond to this kind of persecution? Not with shouts of outrage but with enthusiastic cheering. It is no small irony that many of those most loudly screaming "persecution" over Robertson's suspension have been equally vocal supporters of international efforts to literally criminalize homosexuality. 

Brian Brown, Pat Buchanan, Matt Barber, and a sad parade of other religious conservatives fawn over Russia’s violently anti-democratic strongman Vladimir Putin as if he were Christendom’s new Defender of the Faith. Putin, in Barber’s words, is being allowed to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation.” (Of course many American Christians want nothing to do with Barber or his interpretation of the faith.)

And to their lasting shame, American Religious Right leaders’ financial and political support have been inflaming anti-gay passions in Uganda for years.  Lou Engle and Scott Lively actually traveled to Uganda and helped rally support for the bill. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who takes such umbrage at FRC’s designation as a hate group, dismissed criticism of the Uganda law in its earlier and more sinister incarnation, calling the proposed law an effort to “uphold moral conduct.”

There’s no indication that the Uganda bill’s passage is causing any noticeable soul-searching among the far right.  Far from it. The American Family Association’s always-repellant Bryan Fischer invoked the Duck Dynasty flap in celebrating the passage of the anti-gay law in Uganda: “Uganda stands with Phil. Makes homosexuality contrary to public policy. It can be done.”

Actually, as offensive as Phil Robertson’s statements were, they pale in comparison to Fischer’s. Robertson hasn’t suggested, as far as I know, that gay people should be arrested and put in prison for life. And I seriously doubt that Robertson has ever traveled to Russia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, or Australia to promote legal discrimination against and criminalization of LGBT people or anyone who advocates for equality, the way right-wing figures like Engle, Lively, Brown, Mat Staver, Peter LaBarbera, Paul Cameron, and others have.

No worries about the Olympics on the American Right.  In fact the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society is excited about having its 2014 “World Congress of Families” summit in Moscow, which they see as a new stronghold for “traditional values” against the secular moral squalor of Western Europe.

Conservative activists were prepared to see Phil Robertson as a victim of religious persecution because they’ve been primed for years with the “religious liberty” narrative being pushed by Religious Right leaders and their conservative Catholic allies. They portray criticism as persecution. They equate being on the losing side of policy debates with being under the heel of oppression. And when courts and legislatures struggle with the challenge of balancing religious liberty with other constitutional values like equality under the law, they see only black-and-white battles between good and evil.

Their rhetoric cheapens and distorts the meaning of terms like tyranny. Anti-religious persecution is a violent, heartbreaking reality for Christians in many parts of the world. But not for the privileged and powerful figures in the United States who wrap themselves in the mantle of martyrdom.

The next time you hear some talking head on Fox talk about persecution, think about people in the Central African Republic who are caught in sectarian violence verging on genocide. Or think about LGBT people whose lives and freedom are threatened every day in the name of Christian values.  

Uganda Passes Anti-Gay Bill Cheered By US Conservatives

An anti-gay law championed by evangelical Christians in Uganda with the enthusiastic backing of Religious Right leaders in the U.S. has passed parliament and is awaiting the president’s decision on whether to sign it.  The bill as passed apparently no longer includes the death penalty provision but makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison. LGBT activist Frank Mugisha says his colleagues are panicking, fearing that “there is going to be a hunt.”

Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan minister who has pushed the bill for years, and has been praised by Religious Right leaders like Matt Barber for his strident anti-gay stance, tweeted “Let Freedom Ring!” and posted a celebratory picture of himself with David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor.

Ssempa got plenty of help from American Religious Right figures like Lou Engle and Scott Lively, who is facing a human rights lawsuit brought by Sexual Minorities of Uganda. “This human rights crisis was made here in the United States,” says Tarso Luís Ramos, Executive Director at Political Research Associates.

Given that American Religious Right figures had praised the bill in its even more draconian form – Tony Perkins called it an effort to “uphold moral conduct” – it is sadly unsurprising to see some of them cheering.  American Family Association hatemonger Bryan Fischer connected the law’s passage to the controversy in America over Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Fischer tweeted:

So much for “live and let live.” 

Anti-Gay Ssempa Promotes Racist, Anti-Semitic Video

Anti-gay Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa spreads other kinds of hate too.

Disgraced Former Liberty Dean Ergun Caner Gets New Job, Seeks To Silence Critics

If you were the trustee of a troubled college fighting to keep its accreditation, would you hire as your new president someone who was forced out of a previous academic post for lying about his past? That’s what the trustees of Brewton-Parker College in Georgia have just done; the college announced this week that it has hired Ergun Caner to be its new president. 

Caner is the former dean of the seminary at Liberty University who was removed from that job in 2010 when the school could no longer ignore the evidence that the Jihadi-to-Jesus life story Caner had been peddling since the 9/11 attacks turned out to be a pack of lies. (Caner said, for example, that he was raised in Turkey and trained as an America-hating jihadist; in reality he was born in Sweden and moved to the U.S. as a very young child.)

It’s not as if the Brewton-Parker trustees were unaware of Caner’s controversial past. A press release from the college quoted an unnamed trustee saying, “We didn't consider Dr. Caner in spite of the attacks; we elected him because of them. He has endured relentless and pagan attacks like a warrior. We need a warrior as our next president.”

The mind reels. Caner’s most relentless critics are not “pagan” but born-again evangelicals who take great offense at Caner’s lying to fellow Christians from church pulpits. It’s hard to see how Caner’s hiring is evidence, as outgoing president Mike Simoneux claims, of the school’s “decision to honor Jesus Christ in every area.”

In fact, the timing of the announcement is a bit awkward for Caner and the college, because it comes just days after the filing of a detailed motion in a legal suit being brought by Caner against some of his critics.

Let’s backtrack just a bit. The most devastating weapon in the arsenal of Caner’s critics has been Caner’s own demonstrably dishonest words, captured in this digital age for everyone to see. Caner, who has taken a bullying, blustering approach to his critics, set out this summer to purge the online evidence of his lying.  In May this year, he had 34 videos that critics had posted online taken down from YouTube by filing copyright claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (Sound familiar?) In June, he filed a lawsuit  against Jonathan Autry and Jason Smathers, claiming they had “willfully and purposefully infringed” on his copyright.

Among Caner’s claims is that Smathers and Autry (operating separately) violated his copyright by posting video of speeches Caner gave to U.S. Marines in 2005 training sessions. They had obtained video of the speeches by filing Freedom of Information Act requests with the Marine Corps. Then they posted the videos online so that others could see and hear Caner’s claims firsthand and judge whether they were taking his remarks out of context. The videos showed Caner misrepresenting his past in order to bolster his credentials as an expert on Islamic terrorism.

It’s easy to understand why Caner would like to cleanse the public record of his lying to Marines. But a description of the case on Smathers’ website makes it sound like Caner wants to go beyond silencing his critics to punishing or destroying them. Smathers writes that even though Autry took down Caner’s videos, and offered to sign a non-disparagement agreement, he faced escalating demands that he could not afford to meet. Says Autry, “Dr. Caner has continued with the lawsuit for apparently no reason other than to seek attorney fees that I cannot afford to pay.” In a sworn statement, Autry says Caner demanded that Autry’s wife and three young children also sign non-disparagement agreements, and that Caner threatened to bankrupt him by following up his copyright suit with a defamation claim.

Just before Thanksgiving, attorneys for Smathers and Autry filed a motion to dismiss the charges; their filing is worth reading. It provides documentation of Caner’s duplicity as well as a sense of the flimsiness of his legal claims. The attorneys conclude that “Dr. Caner’s motive is simply to lock the videos away so that no one can expose his dishonesty.” Among the assertions in the motion:

  • Caner made his speeches to the Marines as a government contractor; therefore the government, and not Caner, owns the lectures.
  • It is a longstanding principal of Freedom of Information Act law that “a release to one is a release to all.”  Since the USMC released the video of Caner’s speech, it is available to every member of the public.
  • Caner’s copyright claims are bogus because he has not shown that he has copyright to the videos in question. The videos were posted online in 2010; he now claims that his applications are pending.

The attorneys also note, “It is a crime to falsely represent the truth on a copyright application.”

Caner has also gone after another persistent critic, James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries. When Caner was at Arlington Baptist College, White says, the school tried to get a local church to cancel a presentation White gave about Caner’s “many fraudulent claims,” and charged White with criminal trespass when a former student distributed flyers on campus about his upcoming speech. (White wasn’t even in the state at the time; the charges were dropped.) White is basically begging Caner to sue him, saying he would love to depose Caner, his colleagues, and his family about the claims he made repeatedly over the years.

Brewton-Parker’s trustees are not the only people willing to overlook Caner’s dishonesty. Arlington Baptist College made Caner provost after his demotion at Liberty. And in May this year Caner was invited to address the Family Research Council’s “Watchmen on the Wall” conference for pastors.

White seems personally offended by Caner’s behavior, saying it is a sin for Caner to sue Christian pastors to “suppress the truth about his own lies.” Autry is also personally troubled by Caner’s behavior; he says he attended college and seminary at Liberty while Caner was the seminary’s dean.

But the trustees at Brewton-Parker College see something else in Caner. Trustee Bucky Kennedy said in the school's press release that Caner’s “character and love for God are admirable and inspirational.”

It makes one wonder what Brewton-Parker teaches its students about the definition of “character.”

Cruz Ally David Lane: America Must Renew Christian Covenant with God

Christian nation” advocate David Lane is organizing pastors in more than a dozen states in order to elect like-minded candidates, and hopes to get conservative evangelicals to coalesce around a presidential candidate in 2016 (it’s early, but Ted Cruz seems to have an inside track). On Thanksgiving, Lane urged American Christians to ask God for mercy and forgiveness for “what we Christians have allowed to happen to America in our lifetime.”

Lane argues that the pilgrims, who believed that their undertaking was “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith,” created a covenant with God that America must renew in order to survive. Of course the United States of America was created when the U.S. Constitution was adopted, more than a century and a half after the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. Lane argues that “the Founders established America legally as a Christian nation at the state level, rather than the Federal” – and he approvingly cites state constitutions at the time that required officeholders to be Protestant Christians.  

“To argue that America’s Founders were not Christians — and the foundation laid was not upon Christ Jesus — is at best ignorant, and at worst dishonest,” he says.

Lane, who has been demanding the return of the Bible as a primary textbook in America’s public schools, says, “Restoring Christian education is a matter of life-and-death.” The last three or four generations of American students, he says, have been failed by secularism. “Instead of developing Christian character, secularism has dispersed the sacraments of that pagan religion and indoctrinated America’s children and culture with a false, dead religion.”

Lane finished his Thanksiving column – distributed through the right-wing Western Journalism Center – as he frequently does, with a call for “a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot” to stand. Both are biblical characters who according to the Old Testament were used by God to help destroy enemies of the Israelites.

Klayman Oath Keeper: Homeland Security Behind Boston Bombing

Larry Klayman’s effort to launch a Second American Revolution is fueled by all kinds of conspiracy theories, in addition to some reality-based concerns like the extent of the NSA’s electronic snooping. At Klayman’s rally last week, the now-expected invocations of tyranny and gun control fascism appeared alongside more esoteric theories, such as one about American sovereignty having been destroyed by an act of Congress in 1871 that changed “The Constitution for the United States of America” to “THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES,” and in the process turned the U.S. from a country to a corporation in the service of nefarious bankers.

One speaker topped the conspiracy theory charts. Thomas Robert Lacovara-Stewart, an Oath Keeper who set his theatrical speech against a backdrop of patriotic music, said that the Department of Homeland Security “blew up Boston” and committed murder to hide it. 

“Because we now truly do fear our own government. The words fill sadness in my heart. I am a true son of liberty, born into it by my own bloodlines direct. And that is exactly what they have sought to destroy with multiculturalism forced, to disintegration of morality and of the family. It has become presidentially acceptable to not only embrace immorality but promote it with spectacles such as we have never seen, time and time again, attacked  by progressives, another word for communists…

Lacovara-Stewart encouraged people to visit his website, Libertyimprovementandcare.org. The website, which calls itself The Holy Order of the Sons of Liberty, promotes a remarkable collection of conspiracy theories, in addition to the charge that the Boston bombing was a “false flag” operation. Many are focused on conspiracy theory staples: Zionism, the Rothschilds, the Federal Reserve. Others are more creative. Lyme disease is biological warfare being carried out by former Nazis that were allowed entrance into the U.S.  And speaking of Nazis,

Does it not bother anyone that the German people submitted to Hitler?  Well here is why. The Nazis fluoridated the water of the people. And it made them passive and not able to do more than whine and complain but never have the nerve to do anything when faced with hard choices. Oh and by the way, they fluoridate ours too.

On his website, Lacovara-Stewart warns, “We must realize that these devils exist among us…continuing their one world government Nazi/Soviet Socialist bankers dream!”

At Klaymen’s rally, Lacovara-Stewart’s message for President Obama: “We are here to tell you that your eviction notice is served!”

Klayman's 'Peaceful' Revolution Comes With Hints Of Violence

At last week’s Reclaim America Now rally, a placard next to the speaker’s podium featured a Thomas Jefferson quote that many speakers cited: "When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." But there is apparently no evidence that Jefferson ever said this: the website of Monticello, Jefferson’s home, lists it among “spurious” quotations attributed to him.

Larry Klayman repeatedly described the Second American Revolution he is launching in nonviolent terms. He says massive peaceful civil disobedience will lead to the downfall of the current government and patriots from across the country will convene in Philadelphia to convene a new one. In recent weeks, though, Klayman has repeatedly warned that if the nonviolent approach doesn’t work, the people and the military will rise up and resort to “another recourse.” He has said that “violent revolution…looms on the horizon, if we cannot find a way to peacefully settle the score with the political establishment…”

A similar theme was heard at last week’s rally from speaker Manny Vega, who was identified as a retired marine and a Three Percenter. Three Percenters take their name from their belief that during the American Revolution only three percent of colonists took up arms against the British. The Anti-Defamation League reported a few years ago that Three Percenters, like the Oath Keepers, “promote the idea that the federal government is plotting to take away the rights of American citizens and must be resisted. The two groups are apparently trying to make inroads in the U.S. military.”

Vega, who said he served multiple tours in Iraq, said he thinks war is “abhorrent” and he wants peace to prevail. But he also said the Virginia Three Percenters are “planning and getting ready to mobilize if anything comes down.”

“But I’ll tell you what. There are a lot of men and women across this country who are willing to give it all, ok? Our forefathers, they fought for less. I am willing to fight today, ok? And, God, we don’t want violence, but if it should ever come to that, I can tell you what. I was willing to give my life in Iraq, over there, today I am more than willing to give my life over here, and I hope the president of the United States understands that. There are many more men and women like myself who are more than willing to give their lives here at home. Spread the word.”

Michael Peroutka, God, and Christian Reconstructionists At Larry Klayman's Revolution

At last week’s less-than-spectacular kickoff for the Second American Revolution, Larry Klayman announced that President Obama has until this coming Friday, November 29, to resign. If he doesn’t, Klayman and his friends will move forward with their plan to organize mass civil disobedience, force the resignation of President Obama and the Congress, and replace them with a government-in-waiting to be formed in Philadelphia in the coming weeks.

The idea was even too much for Alan Keyes, who decided not to show up at Klayman’s rally in Washington DC last week.  Klayman read the crowd a letter from Keyes explaining his decision, then dismissed Keyes’ argument that Americans should rely on grassroots political organizing rather than Egyptian-style mass demonstrations. Klayman said he no longer believes America can be fixed through elections, at least not until he’s “cleaned house.” Klayman complained bitterly that none of the Tea Party-affiliated members of Congress was willing to attend his revolution rally.

One speaker who did show up at Klayman’s rally was Michael Peroutka, the U.S. Constitution Party’s presidential nominee in 2004 (he got about 150,000 votes). According to the party’s platform, “The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.” Peroutka is also a southern secessionist and Christian Reconstructionist who sees the Republican Party and “Godless” conservative movement as part of the problem.

Just last month, Peroutka wrote, “Anyone, including those who identify with the ‘Tea Party’, who loves America and desires real reform, would do well to disengage themselves from the Republican Party and their brand of worthless, Godless, unprincipled conservatism.” And in challenging Rush Limbaugh’s rhetoric about Republicans having been “hoodwinked” by Democrats and the media during the government shutdown showdown, Peroutka wrote,

Isn’t it more likely that those who have been “hoodwinked” are those that put their trust in the Republican party and the Godless, conservative movement? Isn’t it beyond time to return to the true American View of law and government, acknowledging the Creator God as the Supreme Judge of the Universe and the written Constitution as the Supreme law of the Land?

At the rally, Peroutka praised Klayman as a “legal restorer,” saying “an order has been denigrated and lost and needs to be found and recovered and restored.” His rhetoric echoes Christian Reconstructionist godfather Rousas John Rushdoony, who said, “The only true order is founded on Biblical law. All law is religious in nature, and every non-Biblical law-order represents an anti-Christian religion.” Klayman is a member of the secretive Council on National Policy, where he has had the chance to rub shoulders with people like Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips, who died earlier this year. In his introduction to Peroutka, Klayman praised Phillips as “a great American” and “one of the icons of the conservative movement.”

In addition to his association with the Constitution Party, Peroutka is the founder of the Institute on the Constitution, a Maryland-based group that spreads Christian Reconstructionist ideas about the law and Constitution through seminars presented around the country. Peroutka’s remarks at the rally echo the Institute’s message that the only law that matters is God’s law:

“There is a God. Our rights come from him. The purpose of civil government is to protect and defend God-given rights. This is the American view of law and government. It also happens to be the biblical view of law and government. America was founded upon the biblical view of law and government….”

According to this Christian Reconstructionist view, God has not granted government the authority to have any role, for example, in education or the alleviation of poverty; God gives that responsibility to churches and families. Religion scholar Julie Ingersoll describes Christian Reconstructionism this way:

For Reconstructionists, the civil government’s authority is limited to protecting citizens from criminals. Family and ecclesiastical authority are established to uphold (and enforce) other aspects of biblical law. That’s not to say that any of these institutions are understood as functioning autonomously; all are under the authority of God and are to function according to biblical law. But each is independent of the others.

The idea that the Bible puts strict limits on government’s “jurisdiction” is at the core of Christian Reconstructionist thinking, and is frequently embraced by more “mainstream” Religious Right leaders. Peroutka writes:

Since civil government is ordained by God in order to protect God-given rights, then the function of civil government is to obey God and to enforce God’s law – PERIOD.

It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY! (Or to operate a Panda-cam at the National Zoo.)

On a website promoting the Institute on the Constitution’s course, Peroutka says, “As American culture has moved away from the acknowledgment of God’s authority, and the desire for his blessing, American government has untethered itself from God’s requirement that it stay within its limited jurisdiction.” He argues that “When God’s law is ignored, chaos ensues.” Peroutka recently told right-wing radio host Steve Deece that “so-called civil rights laws” are not law because “there is no such thing as a civil right.” And he denounced the proposed Employment Non Discrimination Act as “federalizing perversion.”

Echoing a theme heard frequently at Religious Right events, Peroutka told rally participants they share the blame for the country’s problems because they have allowed “usurpers” who don’t have allegiance to his view of law and government to “rule over us.” He said, “We need to repent of these ways, these things that we have done. Because we have broken the law by allowing this to occur. We are responsible. We need to repent before God.”

Last year, the Human Rights Campaign noticed that Peroutka, a Maryland-based lawyer, was one of the biggest donors to the anti-marriage-equality effort in the state, and slammed his association with The League of the South. Peroutka denied that he is a white supremacist, but called himself a “proud member” of the group; in fact he is a board member. He was a featured speaker at the group’s conference last June, which was entitled, “Southern Independence: Antidote to Tyranny.” The group defines its mission this way: “The League of the South is a Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic.”   Also:

We also encourage individuals and families to personally withdraw (secede) from the corrupt and corrupting influence of post-Christian culture in America. We call this "abjuring the realm," and it's a real and dramatic first step all of us can take by simply withdrawing our support of and allegiance to the corrupt government in Washington that through its greed, corruption and lack of Christian values has destroyed your children's and grand children's future.

Plenty of other speakers, including a couple of clergy, claimed God’s endorsement.  Even W. Cleon Skausen, the late far-right Mormon conspiracy theorist, was invoked. Sheriff Richard Mack demonstrated a “political prayer” that he said Skausen had taught 250 law enforcement officers at a training session – a series of hand motions to go along with a recitation of the preamble to the Constitution. Skausen, also a member of the Council on National Policy, was popularized by Glenn Beck’s promotion of his book The 5000 Year Leap as divinely inspired. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the book as “an illustrated recipe for turning the United States into 50 little theocracies.”

Klayman himself wasn’t shy about invoking God’s blessing on his revolution:

“Our strength comes from God. We take orders only from him. We don’t take orders from Hussein over there. We take orders from our God, not his. So consequently we are moving forward and we look for your support and your help.” He ended his remarks by saying, “and most important of all, we have God on our side.”

 

 

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