IOC’s Jake MacAulay, who came to Peroutka’s group from the ministry of fiery Minnesota pastor Bradlee Dean, drove home this point in a video this week, in which he warns that it would be “very wrong and very dangerous” for the Supreme Court to back marriage equality, because “to attempt to change that which is eternal and forever fixed by the Creator is to do nothing less than make the claim that you are God.”
“Psalm Two warns that when the judges and the rulers of the earth throw off God’s law and take it upon themselves to make their own rules for right and wrong, they will be dashed to pieces like a rod of iron striking a clay pot,” MacAulay warns. “Regrettably we seem to be setting ourselves up for this very lesson. Unless our government officials start obeying God and stop ‘playing god,’ this is a lesson we will experience fully.”
Now to attempt to change that which is eternal and forever fixed by the Creator is to do nothing less than make the claim that you are God. This is very wrong and very dangerous, and the Supreme Court of these United States is now considering taking this very same dangerous step.
While there are many conclusions that can be drawn as we witness this cultural degradation, one comes most immediately to my mind. When a culture discards the Word of God as the standard for what is right and what is wrong, and relegates these determinations to fallen men, the results are as predictable as they are terrible.
In the time of the founding of America, when a Biblical worldview was predominant in the American people, this connection between following the commandments and peaceable existence was clearly known, easily understood and evidentially experienced in the American culture. Undoubtedly, living prosperously by living righteously is what Jefferson meant when he used the phrase “pursuit of happiness”.
Psalm Two warns that when the judges and the rulers of the earth throw off God’s law and take it upon themselves to make their own rules for right and wrong, they will be dashed to pieces like a rod of iron striking a clay pot.
Regrettably we seem to be setting ourselves up for this very lesson. Unless our government officials start obeying God and stop “playing god,” this is a lesson we will experience fully.
In the weeks leading up to oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a collection of marriage equality cases being heard at the Supreme Court this month, groups on both sides of the issue have been flooding the Court with amicus briefs.
These have inevitably included some very bad arguments from lawyers arguing on behalf of anti-LGBT groups. Here are five of the worst:
5. Gays Need ‘Tough Love,’ Like Smokers Or Drug Abusers
As with smoking or drug abuse, it would be neither compassionate nor kind to normalize and encourage a known and significant public health risk such as homosexuality. Heightened early mortality risk suggests that homosexual practice (whether in casual or long-term unions) is self-injurious and therefore would put undue financial, emotional, and health burdens on survivors, especially children, as well as society, pursuant to any normalization of same-sex marriage by decree of this Court.
Just as in the cases of drug abusers or suicidal individuals, it would not be compassionate nor kind of this Court to attempt to further normalize and encourage known and significant public health risks represented by LGBT lifestyles and unions. Thus, the expansion of LGBT activity by decree of this Court is likely to proliferate undue financial, emotional, and health burdens upon survivors, especially children, and upon wider society as well. Far from “hateful,” the amici curiae herein hold that deference to the States in the regulation of lawful marriage, as well as federalist restraint and humility by this Court, would represent an act of love. “Tough love,” perhaps, but love nonetheless.
4. Marriage Equality Will Lead To Civil War
While the Texas chapter of Eagle Forum, in a brief written by Phyllis Schlafly’s son Andrew, never exactly says in its Supreme Court brief that a broad ruling in favor of marriage equality would lead to civil war, it does draw an awful lot of parallels between the effects of Obergefell and those of the infamous pre-Civil War Dred Scott case.
The Texas Eagle Forum brief warns of “a badly fractious effect” if the Court declares that “the Bible is wrong about marriage,” drawing out “regional differences” similar to the regional divide over slavery before the Civil War. The group warns that, like Dred Scott, “any ruling by the Court that imposes homosexual marriage on Texas and every corner of the United States would cause vastly more conflict, along regional lines.”
In 1857, as now, there were sharp regional differences over a fundamental social issue. But rather than allow Congress to sort the disputes out, the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds and attempted to dictate one solution nationwide about slavery. That poured fuel on the fire, as history teaches. Likewise, any ruling by the Court here that attempts to establish homosexual marriage for every region of our country, thereby declaring that the local voters are wrong, their political leaders are wrong, and the Bible is wrong about marriage, will have a badly fractious effect.
The disunity will greatly worsen if the Court rules that Texas and other southern states must begin performing homosexual marriage. Far from unifying the Nation, as some argue, such a Court ruling would have a divisive effect similar to that of the Dred Scott decision. The Dred Scott Court felt that by imposing its view of slavery on the entire Nation, the Court was resolving the conflict. In fact, of course, the decision made the conflict far worse. Likewise, any ruling by the Court that imposes homosexual marriage on Texas and every corner of the United States would cause vastly more conflict, along regional lines.
Texas Eagle Forum specifically argues that the supposedly unbiblical nature of same-sex marriage would “be disastrous for the unity of our Nation” because the Bible is “the strongest link that holds our society together.”
The Bible is perhaps the most unifying force of our Nation.
A Supreme Court ruling that endorses homosexual marriage would directly conflict with clear teachings in both the Old and New Testaments. See, e.g., Genesis 2:24 (“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”) and Mark 10:6-8 (“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’”) (ESV). In essence, the Court would be rejecting the Bible as false, and by implication perhaps even disparaging the Bible as hate speech. Whether the large percentage of Americans who respect the Bible would be persuaded by such a ruling remains to be seen. But if they are persuaded, then the results would be disastrous for the unity of our Nation, because it would weaken the strongest link that holds our society together.
3. Marriage Equality Is Bad For Gay People’s Kids Because Right Wing Watch Criticized Robert Oscar Lopez
Lopez cites one flawed study about same-sex parenting and uses it as a jumping-off point for discussing what he speculates is a trend toward things getting “harder, not easier” for children raised by same-sex couples as “gay marriage has become a broader and more accepted phenomenon."
It has gotten harder, not easier, for COGs [Children of Gays], to the extent that gay marriage has become a broader and more accepted phenomenon. The younger generation of COGs has lived with an enormous amount of surveillance and speech policing by people interested in ensuring that they say nothing to undermine the social prestige of their gay guardians. The younger generation of COGs seems to feel more uprooted from the missing half of their ancestry and more fearful of defying the authority of gay stepparent figures whom they still tend to view as stepparents even if they are fond of them.
COGs are now treated with less dignity, more suspicion, fewer protections and heightened discrimination/harassment/retaliation than they saw before same-sex marriage achieved a level of national success. All of this is emanating from within the gay community, enabled by complacent groups such as COLAGE and emboldened by the gay-marriage equality movement. Put simply, the situation for COGs has worsened as their numbers have multiplied.
Lopez’s main piece of evidence for the “heightened discrimination/harrassment/retaliation” being directed at the children of gay parents since those parents began to gain marriage rights seems to be his own experience being criticized by blogs, including Right Wing Watch, which he details at great length in a separate section of the brief.
2. It’s Okay To Discriminate Against Women, So Why Not Gays?
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate flagged a brief submitted by the state of South Carolina which illustrates at length the concern that the drafters of the 14th Amendment had about it granting rights to women. Since the state at the time sought to discriminate against women, the brief argues, then it is absurd to apply the amendment’s protections to gay and lesbian people who want to get married.
Nor did the framers and their contemporaries conceive that the definition of marriage consisted of anything other than the union between man and woman. Indeed, the framers insisted upon leaving untouched those state laws depriving women of basic rights upon marriage to a man. Surely then, those state laws exclusively defining marriage as between a man and woman were hands off under the Amendment’s original meaning.
Representatives from the South Carolina solicitor general’s and attorney general’s offices followed up with Stern to clarify that “that their state does not wish to implement the sexist laws outlined in its brief—though it could if it wanted to.”
1. Marriage Equality Will Cause God To Destroy America
Really any constitutional argument you can come up with becomes irrelevant if we are threatened with God’s judgement on America. A coalition of right-wing groups (two of which have close ties with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore), pulled out that trump card in a brief in which they warn the Justices that should they “require the States and the People to ‘ritualize’ sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the Nation.”
Should the Court require the States and the People to “ritualize” sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the Nation. Holy Scripture attests that homosexual behavior and other sexual perversions violate the law of the land, and when the land is “defiled,” the people have been cast out of their homes. See Leviticus 18:22, 24-30. Although some would assert that these rules apply only to the theocracy of ancient Israel, the Apostle Peter rejects that view: “For if God ... turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:4-6. The continuing application of this Levitical prohibition is confirmed by the Book of Jude: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering 1 Kings 14:24. 41 the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Peroutka, who until recently was active in the neo-Confederate League of the South and once said that he was “still angry” Maryland didn’t secede from the Union, runs a group called the Institute on the Constitution (IOC), which promotes the view that American laws must reflect a certain interpretation of biblical law.
Appearing about 2 minutes and 23 seconds into the video, Moore says: “My good friend Michael Anthony Peroutka and the folks at the Institute on the Constitution have developed a course to teach the moral, legal and biblical basis of our Constitution and the principles upon which our nation began. I personally have reviewed this course and found it to be highly instructive, and recommend it.”
The fundraising video also highlights IOC’s “American Clubs,” meant to teach the groups ideology to schoolchildren.
Peroutka was even less guarded about his Confederate sympathies in a 2004 speech to a League of the South event in Montgomery, Alabama, which the group posted online in 2012. At the time, Peroutka was running for president on the Constitution Party ticket, a spot that Moore had been offered but passed up.
In the speech, Peroutka tried to appeal to the neo-Confederate group by reminding them that his home state of Maryland “was below the Mason-Dixon line." Referring to the 1861 arrest of pro-Confederate members of the Maryland legislature, he added, "And we would have seceded if they hadn’t locked up 51 members of our legislature. And by the way, I’m still angry about that."
Peroutka went on to boast to the group that his children were carrying on his views, his daughter by refusing to play “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in her school band and his son by referring to the Confederate battle flag as “the American flag.”
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore threw his state into turmoil this week when he ordered probate judges to defy a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Moore, who has a history of making extreme anti-gay statements, insists that the federal judge is the one who is really breaking the law since she violateddivinelaw by ruling for marriage equality.
Moore’s call for statewide defiance of the federal judiciary’s “tyranny” stems from a belief that the Constitution was made to protect biblical commandments, so that anything that goes against his personal interpretation of the Bible is therefore in violation of the Constitution.
Moore shares that belief with a powerful ally: Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate activist who is also one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in the Religious Right’s reimagining of American law.
Peroutka, who once held a leadership position in the neo-Confederate League of the South and remained a member of the group until it hampered his run for a local office in Maryland last year, promotes this theocratic view of the law through his group the Institute on the Constitution. Speaking at an event at the Institute in 2011, Moore gushed that Peroutka would help lead America to a “glorious triumph” over the federal government’s “tyranny.”
After Moore was removed from his original position on Alabama’s high court in 2003 for defying a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, Peroutka paid for the ousted judge to go on a national speaking tour to build support for his cause. He also funded a group that held rallies in support of Moore.
Over nine years, Peroutka contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to two groups founded by Moore, the Foundation for Moral Law (which is now run by Moore’s wife Kayla) and the now-defunct Coalition to Restore America.
In 2004, the far-right Constitution Party tried to recruit Moore to run for president on its ticket. When he declined, Peroutka stepped in to run in his place.
This neo-Confederate leader helped to lay the ideological groundwork for Moore’s current standoff with the federal courts, a standoff which many commentators have compared to Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s decision to defy federal law on desegregation.
Peroutka said last year that such rulings would “coerce” state officials to “declare that which is sinful and immoral” to be “valid and right,” even forcing them to “participate in it.” Such “evil” decisions, according to Peroutka, must be “resisted at every level of government, even the lower levels of government, most especially the lower levels of government,” since local governments are the true “protectors against those who would force these things on us tyrannically from above.”
For example, after a federal judge struck down Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage last year, Peroutka insisted that Sen. Rand Paul move to impeach the judge who made the decision, defund the court, and press for his state to defy the ruling: “He should use every influence he has in Kentucky to have people not obey this; the Kentucky legislature, the Kentucky courts, should not obey this, this is not lawful.”
Peroutka also believes that local officials should defy their state legislatures on issues like marriage equality. After Maryland’s general assembly voted in 2012 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, Peroutka declared that the assembly’s decision to “violate God’s laws” effectively invalidated its legal authority, since any law that contradicts divine law does “not constitute a law – even if it were enacted and signed.”
Using an argument similar to the one Moore is now making in Alabama, Peroutka said that lower-level officials could ignore not only the marriage equality law but any law passed by the state’s general assembly, since it had invalidated itself by breaking biblical decrees: “Is it possible that those who are sworn to uphold the law, such as police and sheriffs and judges and prosecutors, may soon come to the conclusion that the enactments of this body should be ignored because they are based not in law, but in lawlessness?”
In Peroutka’s view, anything that breaks the “organic law,” or biblical law, is automatically unconstitutional.
Peroutka believes that America needs to “go back to what God called marriage, not what the state has perverted the definition to be, but what God called marriage.” Since biblical law doesn’t permit same-sex marriage in his view, then civil law can’t either: “There is no way we are ever going to validate homo- or sodomite-‘unmarriage’ because God defined marriage as between a man and a woman once and forever.”
“I always go back to these two standards: What does God say and what does the Constitution say?” Peroutka explained in 2013.
He added that the United States will have a small, limited government as long as it adheres to biblical standards. But he believes that the Union’s victory in the Civil War — or as he calls it, “The War Between the States” — enabled the federal government to greatly expand its powers, thus undermining the authority of biblical law and leading to such evils as same-sex marriage.
“Ever since then, there’s been this huge black hole of centralized power that’s formed in Washington, D.C.” he said. “People sometimes talk about ‘The War Between the States’ as being about the issue of slavery. I believe that history is written by the winners, it wasn’t about that at all. What it was about was consolidating power into the hands of a few people.”
“[T]he real effect of the war and the Reconstruction after the war was to take the very foundation of our understanding of our rights away from us, that is to say that they come from God, and put them in the hands of men and say that they come from the Supreme Court or they come from the legislature or they come from the executive,” he added.
The end of the Civil War, Peroutka claims, produced an “evil anti-God, anti-Christian revolution” that led to a “tyrannical consolidation of power” in Washington, D.C., undermining the “biblical worldview that acknowledges Christ’s authority over all things.”
Peroutka also contends that the gay rights movement isn’t just “federalizing homosexuality” but “federalizing perversion,” even claiming that the federal government violated the Constitution by imposing civil rights laws on the states.
“[T]he so-called civil rights laws are not law,” he said in 2013. “They never should’ve been passed. They’re not law now, they weren’t law then. They aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.”
Since Peroutka believes “rights come from God” and not civil government, he argues that all civil rights laws are illegitimate since “the term ‘civil rights’ is kind of an oxymoron. There’s no ‘right’ in the sense of a permanent, fixed, thing that you have, that can be defended, if in fact it comes from the civil government.”
Now Moore is once again putting Peroutka’s words into action, threatening state judges who lawfully issue a marriage licenses to a same-sex couples. Because in the eyes of Moore and Peroutka, their personal reading of the Bible takes precedence over the law of the land.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported on the efforts of a group of church-state separation activists, led by Todd Stiefel, who are trying to remove long-forgotten articles in seven state constitutions that require people holding public office to believe in God.
This did not sit well with Jake McAuley, the chief operating officer of Michael Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution, who writes in BarbWire today that it is “impossible” for an elected official who doesn’t believe in God to fulfill his or her duties. “This isn’t about discrimination or bigotry,” he writes. “ It’s about ensuring that those holding office in America are committed to the true, lawful, American philosophy of government.”
Peroutka, who was recently elected to a county office in Maryland, has declared all laws passed by his state legislature null and void because the body violated "God's law" by legalizing gay marriage.
Now, let’s be clear. Mr. Steifel may not believe that there is a God. And no one is forcing him to do so.
But if he doesn’t believe that God exists, it follows that he doesn’t believe that God-given rights exist either.
And if he doesn’t believe that God-given rights exist, then how would you expect him, if elected, to defend and protect those rights?
You see, when someone is elected to office he swears an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the God-given rights that are secured thereby. To elect someone who does not believe that God exists, is to ask them to do that which is impossible for them to do.
The drafters of our state constitutions understood this simple logic and so they included these provisions designed to protect us from officeholders who do not share the American philosophy of law and government.
Think of it this way.
Suppose instead of not believing in God, Mr. Stiefel informs us that he does not believe that there exists a city called Cincinnati, Ohio.
By not believing in Cincinnati, Mr. Stiefel breaks no law that we can punish him for.
But now suppose that a few of us have decided to take a bus trip to visit Cincinnati. We advertise for a driver for the bus and Mr. Stiefel answers our advertisement.
Is Mr. Stiefel qualified to drive us to Cincinnati?
Do you see the problem? Once he started the bus, what would Mr. Stiefel do next? How would he get us to a place the existence of which he denies?
Of course he is not qualified. He not only doesn’t know the way. He doesn’t even believe that there is a way. He is not qualified to take us to a place that, in his own mind, does not exist.
So this constitutional requirement that an office holder must believe in God is a logical and consistent protection against those who might drive our constitutional republic in a bad direction.
Although Peroutka has yet to take office, he’s already giving a taste of what it will mean to implement his radical views at a local level. In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace on Tuesday, Peroutka urged state and county governments to simply ignore any White House order deferring the deportation of some undocumented immigrants, and instead work independently to “incarcerate” or “deport” immigrants covered by the order.
Deace asked Peroutka what he, as a newly minted GOP elected official, would do about the “Marxist in the White House” who is “supposed to be protecting us from invasion, and here he is implementing one.”
“This action on the part of the president is the action of somebody who hates America and is seeking to destroy America,” Peroutka responded. “I don’t think it can be interpreted any other way. It certainly is an act of treason because it’s aiding and abetting the enemies of America and giving them comfort and aid.”
Peroutka urged Republicans in Congress to move to impeach the president, and added that governors and county executives throughout the country “should resist this in every way they can.”
He advised that local governments tell the president: “We’re not abiding by it, we are still going to either incarcerate or seek to remove and deport those who are here illegally. We’re not going to follow suit and give them aid and comfort like he wants us to do, even though he’s bribing us with money to do it.”
“We as local authorities and as state authorities should resist this scheme,” Peroutka said. “If we did, then it couldn’t go through.”
Earlier this year, Peroutka declared that all laws passed by the Maryland General Assembly were invalid because that body had violated “God’s law” in implementing marriage equality.
Remarkably for someone who has just become an elected official in Maryland, Peroutka argues that since state legislators have passed laws like marriage equality that “violate God’s law,” the Maryland General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” and none of the laws that it has passed are “legally valid and legally enforceable.”
Peroutka argued last year that the reason the U.S. is not following God’s law on marriage and other issues is because when the Union won the Civil War – in his words “The War Between the States” – people began looking to government rather than God as the foundation of their rights. When local media began focusing on Peroutka’s connections to the racist, secessionist League of the South – he served on its board and was a featured speaker at its June 2013 conference on “Southern Independence: Antidote to Tyranny” – he resigned, feigning surprise at racist material on the group’s website, though even then he told reporters, “I don’t have any problem with the organization.”
Anne Arundel County Maryland, one of the wealthiest counties in the country, is home to the state capital of Annapolis.
Deace declared that nondiscrimination laws like the one in Houston and transgender nondiscrimination laws being considered throughout the country are ultimately meant to “silence the church” and elevate government to the level of God.
Lawmakers, Deace argued, are “using sexual perversity and immorality as the means to silence the church so that there is no institution capable of challenging the supremacy of the state.”
Peroutka — who is also a GOP candidate for a county office in Maryland — agreed, saying “If you believe that you are God, as government has proved over and over again that it believes it is…you don’t want there to be another God, you don’t want anybody to have an allegiance to the one true and living God, the God of the Bible whose son is Jesus Christ, because if that exists it is the enemy of your own idolatry.”
Christian-nation advocate, former Constitution Party presidential candidate, and creationist benefactor Michael Peroutka has left the neo-Confederate group League of the South after making the surprising discovery that its members hold racist views on interracial marriage.
The Baltimore Sun reports that while Peroutka says he had quibbles with statements from fellow League of the South members regarding interracial marriage, he still doesn’t “have any problem with the organization.”
Michael Anthony Peroutka, a Anne Arundel County Council candidate who gained attention for his membership in a Southern secessionist group, said this week he's no longer a member of the League of the South.
Peroutka, a Millersville Republican, said he left the group prior to Labor Day because he discovered statements members made on the subject of being opposed to interracial marriage were “contrary to my beliefs." He would not elaborate.
Though his League of the South membership drew criticism during the campaign — "Everybody wants to talk about League of the South all the time," he said — the decision to quit the group was not politically motivated, Peroutka said.
“I didn’t do it to bring up any political points,” Peroutka said. “I don’t have any problem with the organization.”
Peroutka said he still stands by the groups stances on self-government and conserving southern heritage.
“Is this about sinful people want to engage in their sin, or is this about making a statement that you will go along with the sin?” Peroutka asked about the LGBT rights movement.
Deace responded by repeating his theory that LGBT people are simply seeking “validation” from the government because they can’t get it from God, adding: “We have two moral vices that have a powerful political lobby in America. One is sexually driven and the other one’s driven on covetousness, that’s the welfare state and victimology.”
“It seems to me that the reason that it’s got to be validated, perversion has to be validated, because recruitment is necessary,” Peroutka added. “This deathstyle — I don’t call it a lifestyle — this deathstyle does not reproduce, it needs to recruit, so it’s got to recruit your children.”
Earlier in the interview, Deace said that governors should just ignore court rulings that they disagree with — such as marriage equality and legalized abortion —saying that if he were governor he would have shut down every abortion clinic in the state “and arrested every employee for killing, every single one of them.”
“The Nazis, everything they did was technically legal too,” he said.
The Institute on the Constitution’s Michael Peroutka — who is currently the GOP nominee for a seat on the county council in Anne Arundel County, Maryland — made his weekly appearance on “The Steve Deace Show” on Tuesday, where he somehow managed to blame President Obama for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
He appeared to hold Obama responsible for a plank in Iraq’s Constitution, adopted in 2005, which reads that “Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation.”
“We have somebody who calls himself president, chief executive, who says that we’re no longer a Christian country," he said, referring to remarks Obama made in 2006. "Well, think about that, if we’re no longer a Christian country and we see under Sharia law, we actually fight for Sharia law in Iraq — because for the Iraqis to adopt their constitution, which we shed our blood for, their constitution is based on Sharia law. Here we have Americans dying so that we can create and support and uphold some other form and understanding of law and government."
Peroutka wondered why someone who doesn't adhere to Christian nationalism would be upset about beheadings committed by ISIS.
“If we’re no longer a Christian nation, then why would we be upset about beheadings?” he asked. “Beheadings are all right in that other law form. We have become our own enemy by jettisoning principles on which our country was built.”
Discussing ISIS with guest host Rebecca Maxwell earlier in the interview, Peroutka seemed relatively unconcerned, suggesting that Obama was a greater threat to the country.
“Saddam Hussein, for example, he never tried to rob me of my right to property or to self-defense,” Peroutka said. “But Barack Hussein Obama does that almost constantly, when he’s not playing golf. So, my point is, the threats to American liberty and American life and our way of life, I really don’t think are foreign. I think they’re domestic.”
“I don’t disagree with Dr. Hill at all that this regime is beyond reform,” he told the crowd, referring to League of the South president Michael Hill. But he told group members he was concerned that what he calls the "biblical view" of government should “survive the secession.”
“I don’t want people from League of the South to think for one minute that I’m about reforming the current regime, or studying the Constitution is about reforming the current regime,” he said. “I, like many of you, and like Patrick Henry, probably have come to the conclusion that we smelled a rat from the beginning.”
He then asked the crowd to “stand for the national anthem”…and led the crowd in a spirited rendition of “Dixie.”
Late last week, the Republican candidate for county executive in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, where Peroutka is running for office, asked Peroutka to resign from the League of the South because his membership “could be considered racist.”
The candidate, Steve Schuh, however, reported from his conversation with Peroutka: “He has assured me that he is not a racist and that he believes in the equality of all members of the human family. He has further assured me that he does not believe in secession of any portion of our country.”
We’ve clipped a couple pieces of Peroutka’s League of the South speech here, but you can find the whole thing, which was recorded by an attendee, in Throckmorton’s post.
In keeping with the group’s apparent mission to be so extreme that it will never attract any mainstream support, Deace invited Michael Peroutka, a regular guest on his radio show, to give an opening speech to Personhood Iowa activists.
Peroutka — who recently declared that the Maryland General Assembly is no longer a valid legislative body because its passage of marriage equality violated “God’s law” — told the Iowa activists that everything from seat-belt mandates to the progressive income tax to Obamacare to Roe v. Wade are not valid laws because government only has the authority to uphold what he deems to be “organic law.” In fact, he said, all of these things are “pretended legislation,” a term used in the Declaration of Independence to refer to acts of Parliament governing the American colonies.
Peroutka also presented the audience with a contrast between what he sees as the “biblical worldview,” which he says is based on the idea of literal biblical creationism, and the “pagan worldview,” which he says is based on the theory of evolution.
The theory of evolution, he claimed, was responsible for the Columbine school shooting and the Holocaust, yet is still being taught through “the tragedy of public education.”
There’s a reason so many Republican politicians seem to bring a religious fervor to their efforts to gut public institutions and social welfare spending. The modern day Religious Right draws much of its ideology from Christian Reconstructionists who teach that God gave specific duties to the government, the church, and the family.
According to this theological worldview, education and taking care of the poor are the responsibility of families and churches, and it is unbiblical for the government to take on these roles. That meshes well with the view of “constitutional conservatives” who believe, for example, the Constitution does not authorize any federal government role in education.
A stark example of the increasingly indistinct line between conservative Republicans and hard-core Christian Reconstructionists and dominionists (who believe the right kind of Christians are meant to have dominion over every aspect of society) can be found in the recent Republican primary victory of Michael Petrouka in a race for a county council seat in an Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Peroutka believes that any law that runs counter to God’s law is invalid, and that the Maryland General Assembly is itself no longer a valid legislative body. Here’s a concise summation of his approach to government:
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!
This religion-inflected ideological view of government is not relegated to inhabitants of the far-right fringe like Peroutka. David Barton, an influential Republican activist and “historian” who helped write the GOP’s national platform in 2012, claims that the Constitution was drawn directly from the Bible and the sermons of colonial preachers, and that its focus on individual freedom reflects the founders’ theology of individual salvation. In this view, the Tea Party’s belief in a radically limited federal government is not only a question of constitutional interpretation, it is a mandate of Holy Scripture.
Just this month, Barton promoted these views on “Praise the Lord,” the flagship program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which bills itself as the world’s largest religious network and America’s most-watched faith channel. “In the Bible, Jesus has a teaching about minimum wage,” Barton said. “In the Bible, Jesus has two teachings on capital gains tax.” The Bible, according to Barton, opposes those taxes as well as estate taxes and progressive income taxes. A flat tax is “what the Bible supports.”
On the same show Barton denounced government spending on welfare. “It’s not the government’s responsibility to take care of the poor and needy,” he said, “it’s the church’s responsibility.”
According to Barton, there are 205 verses in the Bible that instruct the family or church to take care of the poor, but not the government. “The government is told to do only one thing with taking care of the poor and that one thing is to make sure that when the poor come into court they get justice. That’s the only thing government is told….What we’re doing right now is for the first time in America we have ignored what the Bible says, the Bible says you don’t work, you don’t eat.” He went on to say that people “not having to work and getting free money…violates everything the Bible tells us” about dealing with the poor.
It is wrong, Beisner writes, to try to mitigate inequality “through force of government.” Why? “Because God ordained the state to dispense justice, and the church to dispense grace.” According to Beisner, giving someone “unearned” benefits is grace, not justice. People should graciously serve the poor, he writes. “But if care for the needy is made a matter of justice to the needy rather than to God, then grace becomes law. Then, the needy—and those who merely profess to be needy—may claim the benefits of grace as their due by justice.”
In other words, government has no right to tax someone in order to help feed someone else.
That is a widely shared belief on the Religious Right. Speakers at Religious Right conferences like Reed’s June event, and Republican Members of Congress, can be heard justifying cuts in food stamps with an appeal to the Bible passage that David Barton quoted on TBN. That verse, depending on your translation, says something like “he who will not work shall not eat.”
Reps. Kevin Cramer and Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee cited that verse last year. Fincher said, “The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” In equating taxation for social services with theft, Fincher echoes Barton, Beisner, and others. (In context, by the way, the work-to-eat verse referred to early Christians who were so confident of the imminent return of Christ that they quit doing anything.)
Poor people turning to the government, Beisner writes in his anti-social-justice booklet, results in “the stultifying effects of wealth redistribution by the coercive power of the state.” Even worse, he says, “it blinds [poor people] to their deepest need: the grace of God offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
We’ve been reporting on the candidacy of Michael Peroutka, the 2004 presidential nominee for the U.S. Constitution Party and now the apparent GOP nominee for a county council seat in Anne Arundel, Maryland. It is frankly hard to imagine a more extremist candidate for public office.
Like Peroutka, Lofton has expressed contempt for the Republican Party, calling himself a “Recovering Republican,” and explaining on his website, “Being a Republican is not a disease; it is a choice – a very bad choice, but a choice nonetheless.”
Lofton was a movement conservative until he became enamored of Christian Reconstructionist R.J. Rushdoony and disillusioned that the conservative movement was not sufficiently focused on God. A few years ago he denounced the conservative movement, saying that “Dunghill Rejects” was the “perfect name” for “for the Godless, anti-Christian, modern ‘conservative movement.’”
Lofton has been invited to speak about God and Government at Liberty University’s Helms School of Government. He said the purpose of the Institute on the Constitution’s God and Government project – which encourages individuals to use public comment periods at local government meetings to deliver packaged two-minute statements – is “to tell our elected officials that government is from God and therefore their first duty is to obey God and to administer and apply his law.”
And in reference to an article about evangelicals disagreeing on budget priorities, he wrote that “there should be no disagreement among those who believe the Bible is true. Because it is crystal clear that in God's Word He gives NO AUTHORITY to civil government (Caesar) to give health, education or welfare to ANYBODY. If people need help, it is the role of the Church --- God's people --- to provide this help and NOT government.” He insists, “Man-made ‘laws’ that contradict God's Law are not law.”
Lofton’s Facebook page indicates that he shares Peroutka’s contempt for many contemporary political figures. He writes that President Obama “heads up the most powerful terrorist organization in the world, the American government.”
This week Lofton dismissed as “IDOLATROUS LINCOLN-WORSHIPPING CRAP” an article in which the Religious Right’s intellectual godfather, Robert George, wrote that Lincoln had, by saving the union, “completed, in a sense, America’s founding.”
On the 4th of July Lofton bragged that his local paper had printed his letter to the editor, which denounced the Laurel, Maryland, City Council for allowing a Hindu to open a meeting “by invoking false Gods,” which he called “an act of appalling idolatrous idiocy which invites God – the God of the Bible, the only true God there is – to curse us.”
Back in 2002, Lofton was interviewed by Stephen Colbert for The Daily Show. He denounced Lynn Cheney’s children’s book as “child abuse” for including Martin Luther King and a reference to the Day of the Dead holiday, which he said is “from the pit of hell.”
Two weeks ago, Peter reported that Michael Peroutka, a Southern secessionist and head of the Christian Nationalist group Institute on the Constitution, was narrowly leading in the GOP primary for a seat on the Anne Arundel County, Maryland, county council. Now, after all the ballots have been counted, Peroutka appears to have come out on top of the five-way primary in his heavily Republican district, besting his closest competitor by a mere 38 votes.
In an editorial today, the Annapolis Capital Gazettenotes that by nominating Peroutka, GOP voters in the district “have definitely gotten their party into a pickle.”
“Peroutka told voters the truth when he stressed that he was against taxes and stormwater fees,” the Capital Gazette writes. “He didn’t stress that he’s also a theocrat and secessionist who thinks it would be great if local officials refused to uphold state laws.”
Peroutka has certainly indicated that his national political activism will inform how he governs at the local level.
Peroutka's spokesman told the Capital Gazette yesterday that the candidate "would evaluate each piece of legislation to be sure it was authorized by God in the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and the Anne Arundel County Charter” and would look into privatizing road repairs and the fire department.
In the general election, Peroutka will be running against Democrat Patrick Armstrong, who handily beat Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution sidekick David Whitney in the primary.
We have a few things for county voters to think about.
As Miranda reported yesterday, Peroutka recently declared that, because the Maryland General Assembly has passed laws that “violate God’s law,” it is “no longer a valid legislative body” and as a result, none of the laws it has passed are “legally valid and legally enforceable.”
“I would include the so-called civil rights laws are not law, they never should’ve been passed, they’re not law now, they weren’t law then, they aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.”
“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….”
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.”
If Peroutka is elected, it seems that he may feel no need to follow the laws of the state of Maryland. In an Institute on the Constitution video released yesterday, Peroutka claims that the Maryland General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” and as a result, none of the laws that it has passed are “legally valid and legally enforceable.”
This is because, Peroutka argues, the Maryland Assembly has passed laws that “violate God’s law” and therefore have violated the Constitution and moved toward “despotism.” The laws that have invalidated Maryland’s entire state government in Peroutka’s estimation are a marriage equality bill, a transgender rights bill, an assault weapons ban and a stormwater runoff fee .
“Is it possible that those who are sworn to uphold the law, such as police and sheriffs and judges and prosecutors, may soon come to the conclusion that the enactments of this body should be ignored because they are based not in law, but in lawlessness?” he asks.
In order for an enactment of a legislative body, such as Maryland’s General Assembly, to be legally valid and legally enforceable, it must satisfy two standards.
Firstly, the enactment must not violate what our Founders, in the Declaration of Independence, called “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Another way of saying this is that an enactment must not violate God’s law. (For example, an enactment that allowed the taking of innocent life would violate God’s Commandment “Thou shalt not murder,” and would, therefore, not constitute a law – even if it were enacted and signed.)
Secondly, the enactment must not violate the limits placed on the government by the Constitution of the United States or the constitution of your State. Another way of saying this is that the legislature of Maryland cannot do what it has no authority to do.
When we review the behavior of the Maryland legislature against this background, we are faced with overwhelming evidence that neither of these legal standards is followed by them, or even considered by them on a regular basis.
For example, in recent legislative sessions they have, among other things:
1) Tried to redefine “marriage,”
2) Tried to restrict the right of the people to keep and bear arms, (SB281)
3) Declared that little girls must share bathrooms with older men who are “gender confused,”
4) Placed a tax on the rain.
In earlier times, our Founders referred to such enactments as “pretended legislation.”
When the people of Maryland consider this pattern of behavior, are they justified in declaring that the Maryland legislature is no longer fit to do the job they are sworn to do?
Are they justified in declaring that the Maryland legislature has engaged in what the Declaration characterizes as a “long train of abuses and usurpations,” which is designed to reduce them to despotism?
Is it possible that those who are sworn to uphold the law, such as police and sheriffs and judges and prosecutors, may soon come to the conclusion that the enactments of this body should be ignored because they are based not in law, but in lawlessness?
Indeed what can the people do – what should the people do when those who are entrusted with making and enforcing the law actually become the lawbreakers? What happens when they use the “law” to break the law?