Our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center have obtained a copy of the 2014 membership list of the Council for National Policy, a secretive group led by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that includes a who’s who of leaders of the Religious Right and the wider conservative movement who work together to influence national politics. (In 2014, Perkins was the group’s vice president.) We’ve known from news reports that CNP’s membership includes a wide range of Religious Right leaders, but one name on the list obtained by SPLC stood out: Michael Peroutka.
Peroutka, who made his fortune with a family debt-collection business, has become a minor benefactor to the Religious Right, including funding anti-choice groups, bankrolling some of the campaigns and advocacy work of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (who is currently suspended for attempting to defy the federal courts on marriage equality), and, maybe most notably, donating a million-dollar dinosaur skeleton to a creationist group.
Most troubling, Peroutka has a history as a neo-Confederate activist, including spending time on the board of the secessionist League of the South. In a 2004 speech to the group, Peroutka said that he was “still angry” that Maryland failed to secede from the Union during the Civil War. At the group’s 2012 convention, Peroutka led attendees in a spirited rendition of “Dixie,” which he referred to as “the national anthem”:
CNP’s membership list is closely guarded and new members can join only by invitation. This means that Peroutka didn’t just show up unannounced: He was invited to join a group that includes Perkins, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Alan Sears and many other high-profile conservative activists.
We don’t know if Peroutka is still a member of the group. But even by the time CNP’s 2014 membership directory was published, there was already plenty of public information available about his troubling ideology. Why was the leadership of the Religious Right willing to invite Peroutka into their fold?
Back in 2014, we watched with amazement as Michael Peroutka, the head of the Christian Reconstructionist group Institute on the Constitution and a former board member of the southern secessionist League of the South, won a local election to be a county councilman in his home county in Maryland.
After Peroutka’s victory, the news broke that an unidentified group that called itself “Marylanders for Transgenders” had sent out robocalls in the final days of the campaign asking voters to call Peroutka’s openly gay Democratic opponent, Patrick Armstrong, to “thank him for his bravery in coming out of the closet” and for supporting a bill that means “transgenders can now openly and freely go into any bathroom of their choice based on their confused gender identity.” The call provided the home phone number of Armstrong’s mother.
At the time, Peroutka denied that his campaign was behind the calls, but today his campaign manager, Dennis Fusaro, was charged with violating election laws by secretly placing the calls. The Baltimore Sun reports:
Maryland's state prosecutor on Thursday charged two Republican strategists with distributing an illegal robocall considered by many an attempt to smear an openly gay local candidate in 2014.
Prosecutor Emmet Davitt announced charges against Dennis Fusaro, a national Republican figure best known for leaking internal emails and phone calls from Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign, and Stephen Waters, a Republican political consultant based in Virginia.
Prosecutors said the call lacked the appropriate identification and came from what they described as "an untraceable" prepaid cell phone purchased with cash by Waters and Fusaro at Walmart in Fredericksburg, Va.
Fusaro was the campaign manager of Armstrong's opponent, Republican Councilman Michael Anthony Peroutka, a former member of the neo-Confederate group League of the South.
Christopher Kachouroff, attorney for Fusaro and Waters, would not say whether his clients were responsible for the call, but dubbed its message "political satire."
Peroutka, who has said that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis gave “the entire country a civics lesson” when she defied federal court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because “any purported law that is not harmonious with [God’s] word can’t be law and is not law,” includes lyrics such as:
Michael Peroutka, a neo-confederate whose Institute on the Constitution promotes a far-right Christian Reconstructionist view of religion and government, has joined the chorus of right-wing voices that have gathered to defend Kim Davis, the county clerk jailed for contempt of court after refusing to obey a court order that she issue marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples.
Glenn Beck says that over the last 10 days, America has been slapping God in the face like he has never seen before.
Mychal Massie has nothing against the Confederate flag because "the Confederate flag has never called me a nigger, but white liberals have."
Julio Severo warns that "homosexuality brought destruction to Sodom, and it will bring destruction to any city or superpower embracing it. A remnant of Christians faithful to God should warn about the danger of sodomy and support efforts to protect children and their families from it."
Michael Peroutka is trying to use his new official county council title to promote the Institute on the Constitution and has even tried to promote its materials to schoolkids using county letterhead.
Finally, Jim Bakker warns that there will be dire consequences for legalizing gay marriage: "God is not mocked. America has mocked God. We have been a blessed nation, but we are not a blessed nation any longer."
A number of prominent figures on the Religious Right have also spoken to or defended the CCC, in a sign of the uneasy and often hiddenalliancesbetween the Religious Right and racist groups.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a GOP presidential candidate, submitted a video presentation to the CCC’s 1993 national convention, which the group’s newsletter later reported was a smash it. TPM:
Then-Lt. Gov. Huckabee was invited to speak at the group's 1993 national convention by the its founder, Gordon Lee Baum, according to a 2008 Huffington Post report. Baum told The Huffington Post that Huckabee "sent an audio/video presentation saying 'I can't be with you but I'd like to be speaker next time'" because he was compelled to remain in Arkansas during the convention while then-Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D) travelled out of state.
The group's 1993 newsletter, which was obtained by Edward Sebesta, who researches neo-Confederate groups, hailed Huckabee's videotaped address as a smash hit.
"Ark. Lt. Governor Mike Huckabee, unable to leave Arkansas by law because the Governor was absent from the state, sent a terrific videotape speech, which was viewed and extremely well received by the audience," the newsletter read.
Huckabee agreed to speak in person at the group’s convention the next year but canceled after a human rights group told him that he’s be sharing the stage with a white supremacist and Holocaust denier.
Back when he was a Louisiana state legislator, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spoke to a 2001 meeting of the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. When asked about it several years later, Perkins said he could not “remember speaking at the event.” Unfortunately for him, there’s a picture:
Perkins also has ties to David Duke, a Louisiana politician and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Alabama chief justice, a Religious Right hero who is currently battling the federal courts in an effort to stop marriage equality in his state, addressed CCC’s national conference in 1995, reports Buzzfeed.
This is hardly Moore’s only troubling racist tie. Much of his career has been financed by Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who shares many of his views on the role of “biblical law.” (SPLC reports that the League of the South’s and CCC’s “membership rolls overlap a good deal” and that the two groups have collaborated on events.)
John Eidsmoe is the intellectual godfather of a strain of Christian nationalism that takes to an extreme the idea that “God’s law” must always be put before “man’s law.” He is a former legal advisor to Justice Moore and now works for the Foundation for Moral Law, a group that Moore founded. He is also famously a mentor of former Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Perhaps even more than the Religious Right, the anti-immigrant movement sometimes has a hard time drawing a line between itself and the explicitly racist white nationalist and white supremacist movements. For instance, the work of white supremacist Sam Francis, an editor for and enthusiastic endorser of the CCC, occasionally ends up cited in the work of more “mainstream” anti-immigrant activists.
Coulter took it upon herself in her 2009 book “Guilty,” to defend GOP politicians who had spoken to CCC, writing that the group’s statements in opposition to “forced integration” and “efforts to mix the races of mankind” were in no way endorsements of segregation:
Republican politicians who had given speeches to a conservative group, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), were branded sympathizers of white supremacists because some of the directors of the CCC had, decades earlier, been leaders of a segregationist group, the Citizen Councils of America, which were founded in 1954. There is no evidence on its Web page that the modern incarnation of the CCC supports segregation, though its “Statement of Principles” offers that the organization opposes “forced integration” and “efforts to mix the races of mankind.” But mostly the principles refer to subjects such as a strong national defense, the right to keep and bear arms, the traditional family, and an “America First” trade policy.
Another prominent anti-immigrant activist with ties to CCC is Roy Beck, head of the influential lobbying group Numbers USA, who addressed the group in the late 1990s. The Center for New Community dug up this photo:
Matt Bevin, the Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully challenged Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary, is now leading in a tight race for the Republican nomination for governor. An early count has Bevin ahead by 83 votes after Tuesday's primary election, making it possible that he will become the newest GOP standard-bearer in the state.
While this is great news for the Tea Party, whom Bevin calls the new abolitionists and civil rights leaders, and for Glenn Beck, who thinks Bevin is a “founder quality” candidate, who has been “ called by God” for public office, it’s less good news for everyone else. One McConnell aide said that if Bevin, a political novice, were to become governor, “his only agenda would be the commissioning of his portrait.” But his record shows that he might have quite a bit more on his plate:
Anti-Contraception Stance Bevin won the endorsement of the extreme anti-choice group Northern Kentucky Right to Life last year after he said in a questionnaire that he would support a “personhood” amendment to the Constitution — which would ban all abortion and even some common forms of birth control — and work to prohibit Medicaid funding for birth control pills.
Health Care Extremism Bevin is such an opponent of the Affordable Care Act that he has vowed to reverse Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid under the law, a move that would take away the health insurance of 400,000 people. Kentucky has been one of the greatest success stories of Obamacare, experiencing what NPR calls “second-steepest drop in uninsured of any state.”
Cockfighting Bevin got plenty of negative publicity in his last campaign when it came to light that he had once spoken at a rally organized in support of legalizing cockfighting. Bevin later explained that while he opposes “animal cruelty” he supports “states’ rights” more. A Republican strategist told the New York Times that he expects the cockfighting issue to come up a lot in the general election should Bevin secure the nomination.
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.”
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.
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.
The robocall, purportedly from a group called “Marylanders for Transgenders” asked recipients to call Peroutka’s openly gay opponent, Patrick Armstrong, and thank him for “coming out of the closet” and for supporting an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination bill that the robocall says allows “transgenders” to “openly and freely go into any bathroom of their choice based on their confused gender identity.”
In reporting this news, we and other outlets used the term “neo-Confederate” to describe Peroutka’s ideology, including his apparent support for Southern secession. In an interview on the anti-government radio show Liberty Roundtable shortly after the election, host Sam Bushman asked Peroutka about these reports, to which he responded that he doesn’t even know what “neo-Confederate” means.
“It’s interesting how they create these terms and we don’t even know what they mean,” Bushman said. “Look, a Confederate, if you want to talk about ‘southern pride’ so to speak, or whatever, would be that you’re against the federal government and the violation of states’ rights, if you understand kind of the idea behind it. But a neo-Confederate? That would be kind of like you’re a fake Confederate or a wannabe Confederate.”
“If anything, I want to be just a true Confederate,” Peroutka replied.
He added that it is just a “code word” that’s “meant to stir up hatred against us.” Groups like Right Wing Watch, Peroutka added, think “Michael Peroutka’s a threat because he believes what Jefferson and Adams and Washington believed.”
Earlier in the program, Peroutka credited God for his county council victory and agreed with Bushman’s hope that God would allow him to change the minds of his fellow council members who were educated to be “socialists” by “government schools.”
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.