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.”
As we reported earlier today, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has close personal and financial ties with Michael Peroutka, the neo-Confederate activist and theocrat who has helped develop the view, espoused by Moore in recent interviews and statements, that states must defy federal court rulings in favor of marriage equality since they are in violation of divine law.
Warren Throckmorton notes, just today announced that on April 14 it will host a celebration of the anniversary of the “execution of the tyrant Abraham Lincoln.”
League of the South President Michael Hill writes in a blog post titled “Honoring John Wilkes Booth” that the organization “thanks Mr. Booth for his service to the South and to humanity”:
The League of the South looks to the present and future. However, from time to time we do look back at our past.
This 14th of April will mark the 150th anniversary of John Wilkes Booth’s execution of the tyrant Abraham Lincoln. The League will, in some form or fashion, celebrate this event. We remember Booth’s diary entry: “Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment.” A century and a half after the fact, The League of the South thanks Mr. Booth for his service to the South and to humanity.
Stay tuned . . .
It might be a good time to harken back to the League of the South’s 2012 convention, when Peroutka asked participants to stand for the “national anthem”… and then started singing “Dixie”:
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.
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.
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.
For Republicans who would like to “rebrand” the party to reach more voters, Michael Peroutka is a nightmare. Peroutka won the Republican primary for a county council seat in Anne Arundel County, which includes Maryland’s state capital. As we have been reporting, Peroutka is a Christian Reconstructionist who believes “It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY!” He is an ardent supporter of the white nationalist League of the South, which promotes the secession of southern states, and whose leader recently wrote about “Fourth Generation Warfare” in which citizen hit squads would target “political leaders, members of the hostile media, cultural icons, bureaucrats, and other of the managerial elite without whom the engines of tyranny don't run."
Last week, Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee for governor, disavowed Peroutka over his extremist positions. Yesterday, Peroutka held a press conference in which he repeatedly claimed he is not a racist, vowed that he would not play the “race card game,” and produced two African American Republicans, Eric Knowles and Robert Broadus, to vouch for his not-racism.
But if the press conference was meant to dispel the notion that Peroutka is an extremist, it failed miserably. Peroutka repeatedly refused to disavow the League of the South, on whose board he has sat. He would not say it was a mistake to have called Dixie the national anthem at a League of the South convention. And he refused, in spite of repeated questions, to disavow the idea that the southern states should secede. In response to the suggestion that the Civil War settled the question of secession, he said “No moral issue is really ever settled by the point of a sword.” He repeatedly stated that secession is “a historical fact” and “a political reality.” The American Revolution was an act of secession, he said. And it is a kind of secession when people move out of Maryland to escape its high taxes.
“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.”
“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.
Mississippi’s Chris McDaniel isn’t the only Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who has allied with neo-Confederate activists. Warren Throckmorton reports today that Bill Flynn, a radio talk show host seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democrat Kay Hagan in North Carolina, is a close partner of the Institute on the Constitution’s David Whitney and has taught courses through the Institute. Whitney wrote on the group’s website last week:
Our Institute On The Constituion [sic] Host Bill Flynn in Triad region of North Carolina announced his candidacy for the United States Senate race this past Sunday. Bill hosts a morning radio show on WEGO (980 AM). Bill has not only taught our U.S. Constitution course he was my co-host on the Constitutional Cruise, All Aboard America this past March. Bill is a good friend and patriot.
Whitney’s bio notes that he also serves as “the Chaplain of the Southern National Congress where he is also the Chairman of the Maryland State Delegation to the Congress.” The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Southern National Congress as “a neo-Confederate group focused exclusively on advancing a new secession through political means.” Two GOP lawmakers in Tennessee were recently slated to appear at a Southern National Congress event.
“You may also tell them that I am proud to be a member of League of the South,” Peroutka said during his campaign for president in 2004. “I look forward to receiving the support not only from guys with Confederate flags in their trucks, but also those with the Southern Cross in their heart.”