One of the more bizarre things that we’ve ever come across in our daily monitoring is this video, posted yesterday on Dave Daubenmire’s News with Views YouTube page, featuring a song called “Courts Cannot Make Law” written by Christian Reconstructionist and Maryland Republican politician Michael Peroutka superimposed on a scene from Lars von Trier’s 2000 film “ Dancer in the Dark,” staring Bjork.
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:
There’s a battle going on, a war for your soul
It’s a devil’s deal, it’s mind control
They want you to believe that you have no hope
They’re counting on the fact that you are a dope
You won’t learn the truth in government schools
It’s up to you to know the rules
Back in April, right-wing activist Star Parker joined Alaska GOP politician Joe Miller on his radio program to discuss the riots in Baltimore and the Supreme Court marriage equality arguments, which had happened on the day of the interview.
Parker naturally found a way to tie the two together, saying that the violence in Baltimore was happening “because we declared a war on poverty during the same time that we were declaring a war on marriage through the feminist movement and declaring a war on religion through scrubbing our schools of God, taking the Bible from the schools.”
Later in the interview, Parker got into the details of the marriage equality case, saying that a ruling striking down gay marriage bans would mean that “as a nation, we have to change every law.”
Gay rights activists, she said, don’t realize this and instead are acting like “two-year-olds” at a toy store who want to “get their way on absolutely everything” even if it “will send this nation into social chaos.”
Miller opined that a ruling in favor of marriage equality would be “terribly upsetting to the social fabric of this nation,” with which Parker agreed, adding that she hoped that the justices would listen to the testimony of the “children raised in [gay and lesbian] households that are basket cases.”>
She then compared a potential marriage equality ruling to the Dred Scott case, which was also “legal but not lawful in God’s eyes.”
Last Friday Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vetoed a bill that would allow formerly incarcerated persons to regain the right to vote upon release from prison. The bill had passed through Maryland’s General Assembly with a significant majority. Hogan’s veto sustains current Maryland law, which prohibits people from voting until they have completed their entire sentence – including parole and probation.
This decision impacts approximately 40,000 Marylanders who live, work, and pay taxes in the state. The bill would have both supported formerly incarcerated persons in the reintegration process and addressed the systemic disenfranchisement of ex-offenders. As Maryland Delegates Cory McCray and Alonzo Washington put it:
In representative democracy, the right to vote is a fundamental interest. When folks have their access to the ballot box restricted, they lose their ability to have a voice in the decision making process.
PFAW advocates in Maryland, and members of PFAW’s African American Ministers In Action, have been organizing with supporters to restore full voting rights to formerly incarcerated persons. They called on local community leaders and state representatives to promote this important cause.
Hogan’s decision is deeply disappointing and disproportionately marginalizes people of color, continuing a legacy of racially discriminatory ex-offender laws. It highlights how harmful the power to veto can be in the wrong hands. But the fight for voting rights for all is far from over, and activists in Maryland and across the country will continue to push to ensure that fundamental democratic rights are protected.
Last month, the Institute on the Constitution, the Christian reconstructionist group led by longtime Roy Moore ally Michael Peroutka, joined a Supreme Court amicus brief warning the justices that if they decide to strike down state-level bans on marriage equality, “it could bring God’s judgment on the Nation.”
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.
Newsmax's Steve Malzberg interviewed far-right radio host Jesse Lee Peterson yesterday about the unrest that is currently engulfing Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, which Peterson predictably blamed on President Obama.
After Malzberg complained that America is being turned into a "criminal-friendly nation," Peterson declared that Obama is intentionally fomenting civil unrest in Baltimore so that he can seize control of every police force in the country.
"Barack Obama believes in the redistribution of wealth," he said, "he believes in the redistribution of power, so if he can keep these blacks angry and under his control by stroking them, they're going to bring the chaos. And once the chaos comes, then Barack Obama, as he said in his speech, he can federalize the police departments around the country so that he can redistribute the power and wealth. That's what this is all about. He is pulling their strings by stroking their egos and making the feel good about being wrong for his own personal gain":
Today the Maryland legislature passed a bill that would allow people to regain the right to vote as soon as they are released from prison. The legislation rights a wrong in current Maryland law, which denies people voting rights until their entire sentence has been completed, including probation and parole. Without this bill, thousands of formerly incarcerated Marylanders — many of whom are people of color — will continue to be needlessly forced to stay home on Election Day.
PFAW activists in Maryland and members of PFAW’s African American Ministers In Action have been working with allies to help change this, calling their state representatives and urging them to support the immediate restoration of voting rights.
Disenfranchising those who have served their time in prison hampers the process of reintegration and shamefully blocks thousands of Americans from participating in elections. It worsens the discrimination already faced by formerly incarcerated people — who pay taxes, work, and contribute to their communities — and it weakens our democracy.
Passage of this bill is a big step forward in the movement for voting rights for all. Now it’s up to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to sign it and help make the state’s democratic process as fair and accessible as possible.
Earlier this year, as Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered probate judges in his state to defy a federal court ruling establishing marriage equality in Alabama, Brian reported extensively about Moore’s personal, financial and ideological connections to Michael Peroutka, a Republican county councilman in Maryland who has used his personal fortune to fund extreme Christian nationalist causes.
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.
The IOC teaches that the Constitution requires that public officeholders believe in God; that “the promotion of evolution is an act of disloyalty to America”; that “there is no such thing as a civil right”; and that the Maryland General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” after passing laws, such as marriage equality, that Peroutka believes “violate God’s law.” Peroutka argues that one reason the U.S. has strayed from “God’s law” is because the Union won the “War Between the States.”
Peroutka largely bankrolled Moore’s latest campaign for office and has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into groups that Moore founded. In return, Moore has spoken at events at Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution and, last month, appeared in a fundraising video for the group.
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.
As Brian wrote last week, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s judicial philosophy is closely tied to the work of Michael Peroutka, a Maryland-based activist and longtime member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who has been a major funder of Moore’s campaigns and activism.
Although Peroutka quit the League of the South last year during a successful campaign for a Republican seat on the Anne Arundel County Council, claiming he was unaware of the group’s racist views, he has for years been a fixture at the group’s events, including leading the group in the “national anthem” of “Dixie” in 2012, the year before he was elected to join the organization’s board.
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.”
He added that his daughter, Elizabeth, who now helps to run the family’s foundation, was known by her peers as “Beth Booth” after John Wilkes Booth.
Even in 2004, Peroutka was extolling Moore, crediting the judge for inspiring him to run for office and boasting that he had Moore’s support because “we believe the same things.”
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.
This isn’t about discrimination or bigotry. It’s about ensuring that those holding office in America are committed to the true, lawful, American philosophy of government.
Michael Peroutka, a Christian reconstructionist who peddles radical theocratic views at his Institute for the Constitution, recently got a new platform for what he calls his ‘American view’ of government when he was elected as a Republican to a county council position in Maryland.
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.
On Election Day, voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., voted to liberalize their marijuana laws, decriminalizing the possession or sale of the substance. But while Oregon and Alaska will be able to go ahead and start implementing their laws, D.C.’s more modest measure will first have to make it through a Republican Congress.
Once D.C.’s city council submits the measure to Congress, Congress will have 30 days to review it and during that time can pass a measure overriding it. Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland has vowed to use all of his political power to stop D.C.’s decriminalization measure from moving forward, including passing a spending bill rider barring the District from implementing its own law.
While D.C. will now be contending with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, it’s not clear how much support the GOP congressmen trying to stop the law will get from their colleagues. Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, for instance, has said that overriding D.C.’s law would violate the GOP’s “fundamental principles,” including “limited government” and “states’ rights.”
But other conservatives have no such compunction. In an email to members of his organization on Friday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins backed Harris’ effort to stop D.C. from implementing its decriminalization law by arguing that with a spending bill coming up, Harris “might finally have a way” to give the self-governed city with a population bigger than Vermont and Wyoming “the oversight it desperately needs” from congressional Republicans.
People in D.C. are still on a high after Election Day -- but a handful of congressmen are hoping that high isn’t permanent. As part of the District’s ballot, voters gave the thumbs up to a marijuana proposal that just made the lame-duck session a little more interesting. Under Initiative 71, locals would have the right to both possess pot (two ounces) and grow it at home.
Oregon and Alaska passed similar policies last Tuesday, but unlike the states’, D.C.’s measure is subject to Congress’s approval. And plenty of conservatives aren’t likely to give it. Before the District even planted the policy on last week’s ballot, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) was trying to put the brakes on the push from D.C. Now, with a major funding bill on the docket, Congressman Harris might finally have a way to give the city the oversight it desperately needs.
The Democratic opponent of prominent Christian Reconstructionist and southern secessionist Michael Peroutka in the race for a county council seat in Maryland was reportedly hit with a nasty anti-LGBT robocall in the final days of the campaign.
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.”
According to the Baltimore Sun, the call provided the phone number to the home Armstrong shares with his parents.
In one possible clue as to the call’s origin, the speaker mispronounces “Anne Arundel.”
Here’s the audio of the call, courtesy of the Sun:
Michael Peroutka, a radical Christian Reconstructionist and until recently an active member of the neo-Confederate group League of the South, won a seat on the Anne Arundel, Maryland, County Council last week.
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.”
The Institute on the Constitution’s Michael Peroutka was a guest on Steve Deace’s radio program on Wednesday, where the two obviously discussed the latest Religious Right controversy brewing in Houston.
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.
Peroutka conveniently made this discovery shortly before he faces an election for his local county council in Maryland, where he has come under significant pressure — especially from his fellow GOP politicians — for his membership in the racist, secessionist group. He told the Balitmore Sun about his decision today, but said he had left the group before Labor Day.
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.
Here's Peroutka at the League of the South's 2012 conference, asking participants to stand for the national anthem...and launching into "Dixie":
In an interview with Steve Deace yesterday, Institute on the Constitution head and Maryland GOP politician Michael Peroutka claimed that the aim of LGBT rights advocates is to “recruit your children” into their “deathstyle.”
“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.”
Deace fretted that as part of this agenda, the gay rights movement is turning “ESPN into homosexual cake-smash make-out sessions.”
“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.