Maryland

Institute On The Constitution: Of Course There Should Be A Religious Test For Public Office!

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: Immigration Action Is An 'Act Of Treason' And Local Governments Should Defy It

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.

FRC: DC 'Desperately Needs' Oversight From GOP Congress After Vote To Reform Drug Laws

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.

Peroutka Opponent Hit With Nasty Anti-LGBT Robocall In Final Days Of Campaign

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.

Peroutka has denied that he or anybody connected to him was behind the calls, which were first reported by the Seventh State blog. Local elections officials referred the matter to state prosecutors.

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: I'm Not A Neo-Confederate, 'If Anything, I Want To Be Just A True Confederate'

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.”

Peroutka: Nondiscrimination Laws Plot To Replace God With Government 'Idolatry'

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.”

Michael Peroutka Leaves League Of The South, Shocked To Discover Racism In The Neo-Confederate Group

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":

 

Michael Peroutka: Gay 'Deathstyle' Wants To 'Recruit Your Children'

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.

Fairer Elections Through Public Financing: Montgomery County, Maryland, Leads the Way

It’s no secret that our country’s elections have been taken over by out-of-control spending, and this year’s rapidly approaching midterms are no exception. Maybe that’s why it’s so refreshing to read about some recent progress in the fight to reclaim our democracy from corporations and billionaires. Today the Montgomery County Council in Maryland is set to vote on legislation that would create a system of small-donor public financing for local elections — and it’s looking likely to pass.

It’s a system based on a simple premise: swap in lots of small donations from local community members in place of a handful of large donations from powerful interests. Encourage local people to give money to candidates they support by matching those donations with public funds. Not only does this empower regular people to get involved in campaigns, since they see their dollar going further, but it makes it smart for candidates to seek support from, and be accountable to, their own community members rather than wealthy special interests.

The Baltimore Sun explains how it would work in Montgomery County:

Beginning in 2015, candidates for county executive or council would qualify to have their political campaigns publicly funded if they attracted a sufficient number of small contributions of $5 to $150. In the case of a council race, for instance, it would be 125 donations adding up to at least $10,000. After that, campaigns would be largely publicly financed on a matching basis….The system would be voluntary, but participants would not be able to accept donations larger than $150 or from political action committees or labor organizations.

Public financing has worked in other cities across the country. Take New York City as an example. A 2012 Brennan Center analysis of the effects of the city’s public finance model found that the matching system helped “bring participants into the political process who traditionally are less likely to be active.” The study suggested that the model encouraged candidates to reach out to a more diverse group of people to support their campaigns, rather than centering all of their efforts on the wealthiest donors.

And when candidates start getting into office because of the support of their constituents, rather than because a few wealthy special interests have bankrolled their campaigns, the policy agenda can shift from one designed to keep powerful interests happy to one designed to serve the common good.

Legislators across the country should take note of what’s happening in Montgomery County. Polling consistently shows that the overwhelming majority of voters want to see elected officials work to lessen big money’s impact on our elections. In other words, Americans understand the problem but are hungry for solutions. Along with long-term fixes like pushing to amend the Constitution to overturn decisions like Citizens United, small donor public financing can be a way to put everyday Americans’ voices at the center of our political process, where they belong.

PFAW

Michael Peroutka Suggests That Obama Is A Greater Threat Than ISIS

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.”

GOP Candidate Michael Peroutka Fails To Shake Extremist Label With ‘Not a Racist’ Press Conference

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.

Huffington Post blogger Jonathan Hutson has video of the entire press conference. Unfortunately, nobody asked Peroutka about his belief that Maryland’s General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” because it has passed laws he thinks are in violation of God’s law. Or about his participation in Larry Klayman’s “revolutionary” rally last year, whose goal was to force President Obama out of office. Or why state Republicans should support Peroutka, a former Constitution Party presidential candidate, given that it was less than a year ago that he wrote this:

“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.”

Maryland GOPer Michael Peroutka Leads Dixie 'National Anthem' At Southern Secessionist Conference

Warren Throckmorton has dug up video of the Institute on the Constitution’s Michael Peroutka — the GOP candidate for a seat on a Maryland county council — speaking at the 2012 conference of the secessionist League of the South, and it’s a doozy.

Peroutka’s ties with the League of the South are hardly a secret — he used to sit on the group’s board and has asked for its members help in his campaign — but in his 2012 speech, he made it clear that he agrees with the group’s stand that the South may need to secede and cause the “destruction” of the current “regime.”

“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.”

Peroutka’s influence on the Religious Right extends beyond his foray into local politics. He was the 2004 Constitution Party nominee for president, he is a great ally and funder of Religious Right hero and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, he makes a weekly appearance with influential Iowa conservative talk show host Steve Deace (and recently helped Deace launch a new fetal “personhood” group), and he recently donated a $1 million dinosaur skeleton to the Creation Museum.

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.

Michael Peroutka Supporter Discusses Guerilla War Against Political, Cultural Elites

We’ve been covering the candidacy of Michael Peroutka, the southern secessionist and Christian Reconstructionist who won a primary to become the Republican nominee for a county council seat in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

This morning the Republican nominee for governor Larry Hogan renounced Peroutka, while Joe Cluster, executive director of the state Republican Party, is scheduled to meet with him today. African American leaders in the state have called on the GOP to disavow Peroutka. 

Meanwhile, Huffington Post blogger Jonathan Hutson reports more information on Michael Hill, who heads the white nationalist League of the South, on whose board Peroutka once sat and whose support Peroutka has sought for his candidacy.

Hutson reports on an essay published by Hill on the League of the South’s website on July 15 called “A Bazooka in Every Pot,” in which Hill argues that the Second Amendment allows private citizens to own any weapon system the government has, including bazookas, rocket launchers, tanks, and, if they could afford it, warships — a position that happens to be shared by GOP congressional nominee Jody Hice and right-wing Republican activist David Barton.

Hill went even further in his July 15 post, however, describing a scenario in which armed citizens wage “Fourth Generation Warfare” – guerilla warfare – against political and cultural elites who support “tyranny.” Hutson summarizes Hill this way:

…on July 15, Hill wrote an essay for the League's website titled "A Bazooka in Every Pot," in which he outlines a program of "guerrilla war," marked by "three-­to-­five-­man" death squads which would target government leaders, journalists, and other public figures for assassination, in order to advance the League's goals.

"To oversimplify," writes Hill, "the primary targets will not be enemy soldiers; instead, they will be 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."

Talk on the far right about a possible armed revolution against the U.S. government is increasingly common. As Miranda reported this morning, Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt has reasserted his belief that members of Congress should live “in constant trepidation” that they could be shot by “sovereign” citizens if they “attempt to disarm Americans the way the British crown tried 240 years ago.”

PFAW Action Fund Announces Young Elected Progressive Endorsements

People For the American Way Action Fund announced today the endorsements of a slate of dynamic young progressive candidates running for public office across the United States. The endorsees are a diverse mix of candidates 35 and under who are marking a new generation of progressive leadership for the future. These candidates and officials represent a vision that will benefit communities all over the country, as they fight for social, economic, and environmental justice, and equality for all.

The endorsements are part of People For the American Way Action Fund’s Young Elected Progressives (YEP) program. YEP evaluates and endorses young progressive candidates ages 35 and under in their bids for elected office around the U.S. at all levels.

People For the American Way Action Fund is proud to endorse these YEP candidates for 2014:

James Albis – CT House District 99
James Albis is running for reelection to the Connecticut House of Representatives 99th District, representing East Haven. Albis has advocated consistently on behalf of the families of East Haven for better jobs, better schools, and better opportunities. In his second term as Representative, Albis worked to protect the environment, serving on the Speaker’s Task Force on Shoreline Preservation. Dedicated to supporting children and families, Albis has sponsored and voted for numerous laws that would expand family and medical leave, as well as healthcare, and to protect East Haven’s share of state education funding. Visit James Albis’s campaign website for more details.

John Paul Alvarez – FL House District 100
John Paul Alvarez is running for Florida House of Representatives District 100, representing Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Alvarez, a true Floridian born and raised in South Florida, knows first-hand about the issues facing his community and is dedicated to making Florida prosper. As a teacher, mentor, and community leader, Alvarez is a fierce advocate for public education. By fighting for the issues that matter most to students, working families, retired citizens, taxpayers, and South Florida’s most vulnerable citizens, Alvarez is determined to improve his community by creating more jobs, lowering the cost of living, and promoting equality for all. Visit John Paul Alvarez’s campaign website for more details.

Nelson Araujo – NV Assembly District 3
Nelson Araujo is a candidate for Nevada’s Assembly District 3, representing Clark County and Las Vegas. He is a native Nevadan that was born to struggling immigrant parents. Araujo, a determined leader, fought to help his family out of poverty and became the first in his family to graduate high school. As a community leader and elected official, Araujo is dedicated to stimulating job growth, providing greater healthcare access, and making higher education more accessible to everyone. We believe that with his leadership, Nevada will thrive. Visit Nelson Araujo’s campaign website for more details.

Mandela Barnes – WI Assembly District 11
Mandela Barnes is running for reelection in Wisconsin’s State Assembly District 11, representing central Milwaukee. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Barnes has done important work for Milwaukee as a community organizer and youth and development specialist. His dedication to creating jobs, reforming public education, and modernizing public transportation will serve the people of Milwaukee and strengthen the community. Visit Mandela Barnes’s campaign website for more details.

Jonathan Brostoff – WI Assembly District 19
Jonathan Brostoff, lifelong resident of Milwaukee’s East Side, is running for Wisconsin State Assembly’s 19th District representing central Milwaukee. Brostroff’s dedication to Milwaukee and experience as a legislative aide will help him lead Wisconsin toward a brighter future. Brostoff is determined to promote equal rights for all, to reinvest in public education, and to improve public transit in Wisconsin. Brostoff is a capable leader, devoted to making Wisconsin thrive for generations to come, whose real-world solutions will create progress in the state. Visit Jonathan Brostoff’s campaign website for more details.

Marina Dimitrijevic – WI Assembly District 19
Marina Dimitrijevic is running for the Wisconsin State Assembly District 19. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Dimitrijevic made history in 2004, when she became the youngest woman to be elected to the Milwaukee County Board. During her 10 year tenure, she has championed legislative victories on equal rights for the LGBT community, environmental sustainability, public transit, and workers’ rights. Dimitrijevic’s experience, leadership, and commitment to winning on progressive issues are exactly what the community of Milwaukee needs.  Visit Marina Dimitrijevic’s campaign website for more details.

Justin Chenette – ME House District 134
Justin Chenette is running for reelection to the Maine House of Representatives’ 134th District , representing Saco. Before being elected as state Representative, Chenette served on the Maine State Board of Education, and has carried his passion for education into the state legislature. Chenette sponsored several education-related bills including legislation to promote community service in school and require internship experiences for high school students. Chenette, who was 22 years old upon his election to the House, has already proven himself to be a tireless and dedicated advocate and an important member in the next generation of leaders. Visit Justin Chenette’s campaign website for more details.

Luke Diaz –WI Verona Alder District 3
Luke Diaz is seeking reelection to the Verona City Council’s 3rd District, representing central Verona. Diaz has made it his mission to celebrate the city’s culture by cultivating a thriving downtown in Verona, working to expand jobs, improve transit, and provide important services to the community. An experienced city councilman, Diaz is an accessible leader that is dedicated to listening to the needs of his community. Visit Luke Diaz’s campaign page on Facebook for more details.

Zachary Dorholt – MN House District 14B
Zach Dorholt is running for reelection the Minnesota House of Representatives’ District 14B, representing St. Cloud City, and Haven and Minden Townships. Previously elected in 2011, Dorholt has been a champion for progressive values during his time in the House. He is an advocate for women’s rights and has sponsored bills to equalize pay in Minnesota and lengthen paid maternity leave. Dorholt has also fought for public education funding and is dedicated to creating a pathway to higher education for young Minnesotans. A proven leader, Dorholt will continue to make Minnesota a better and more prosperous place for the entire community. Visit Zach Dorholt’s campaign website for more details.

Crisanta Duran – CO House District 5

Crisanta Duran is running for reelection in the Colorado House of Representatives’ 5th District, representing Denver. As chairwoman of the joint budget committee, Crisanta guided the passage of a state budget that helped protect the environment, boost investments in education and job training, provide better women’s health services, help survivors of abuse, and create a better state economy for all Coloradoans. In her position as an elected official, she will continue to build a strong progressive foundation for the state’s future. Visit Crisanta Duran’s campaign website for more details.

Daneya Esgar – CO House District 46
Daneya Esgar is a candidate for Colorado State House of Representatives’ District 46, representing Pueblo. A dedicated public servant and product of Pueblo’s public education system, Esgar has dedicated her career as a television news producer and a community organizer to improving this community. Esgar has a clear vision for the future of Pueblo, and will continue to work toward job growth and improved public education as an elected official. Visit Daneya Esgar’s campaign website for more details.

Ryan Fecteau – ME House District 11
Ryan Fecteau is a Biddeford native running for Maine House of Representatives’ District 11, representing his hometown. Fecteau has a fresh and progressive perspective on the issues affecting Maine today. As representative, Fecteau will bring strong support of public education, women’s rights, and equal opportunity for all Americans by championing for middle-class workers, seniors, and college graduates of his district. Visit Ryan Fecteau’s campaign website for more details.

Joe Fitzgibbon – WA House District 34
Joe Fitzgibbon is running for reelection to the Washington House of Representatives’ District 34, representing Burien, West Seattle, White Center, and Vashon and Maury Islands. Fitzgibbon has been a fierce advocate for undocumented students, voting for both the DREAM Act and for in-state tuition for undocumented students. A champion for equality in Washington, Fitzgibbon has le d efforts to legalize gay marriage and expand healthcare and Medicaid to help ensure safe abortion procedures. Fitzgibbon is a true progressive and will continue to work toward equality for all Washingtonians. Visit Joe Fitzgibbon’s campaign website for more details.

Chris Larson – WI Senate District 7
Chris Larson is running for reelection to the Wisconsin State Senate’s 7th District, representing Milwaukee County. In Larson’s first term as senator, he served as the Minority Leader and worked tirelessly to end marriage discrimination in Wisconsin, to promote public education, and to protect the environment. Larson has worked to stimulate job growth and to increase access to health care, proving that he is truly in-tune with the needs of his community. “Larson is a true progressive leader,” PFAW’s Political Director Randy Borntrager said. “He is clearly dedicated to his community and determined to help each person and his community as a whole.” Visit Chris Larson’s campaign website for more details.

Eric Luedtke – MD House District 14
Eric Luedtke is running for reelection to the Maryland House of Delegates’ District 14, representing Montgomery County. Luedtke, who was first elected in 2010, has already made his mark as a progressive representative for Maryland. Luedtke, a teacher by profession, has advocated for public education reform, especially advocating for equality for students with special needs. Committed to families and children, Luedtke has worked on a variety of issues, from promoting easier access to healthcare to sponsoring bills that provide greater aid and support for survivors of sexual assault. Visit Eric Luedtke’s campaign website for more details.

Stefanie Mach – AZ House District 10
Stefanie Mach is running for reelection to the Arizona House of Representatives’ 10th Distric , representing Tucson. Since she was elected in 2012, Mach has proven herself to be a fighter, both professionally and personally. In her time as representative, Mach has worked to improve public education, to make higher education more affordable, to encourage job growth and the expansion of local businesses. An advocate for women and minorities, Mach has demonstrated she is dedicated to making Arizona a prosperous community for everyone. Visit Stefanie Mach’s campaign website for more details.

Marcus Madison – OH Senate District 13
Marcus Madison is a candidate for the Ohio State Senate’s 13th District, representing Huron and Lorain counties. Madison, currently serving as a city councilman in Elyria, has already proven that he is a dedicated public servant. He is the former student body president of Lorain County Community College, and previously served as deputy field officer for Obama for America, as well as Communications Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lorain County. A determined advocate, Madison is committed to improving public education, protecting workers, and providing sustainable jobs that will strengthen the middle class. Visit Marcus Madison’s campaign website for more details.

Aaron Marquez – AZ Senate District 27
Aaron Marquez is running for Arizona State Senate District 27, representing Maricopa County. Marquez, a captain with the U.S. Army Reserve, has been a courageous public servant both overseas and at home. Marquez is a fearless advocate for women’s rights, strong supporter of veterans, and a fighter for public education. A dedicated leader, Marquez will be a force for good in the Arizona legislature. Visit Aaron Marquez’s campaign website for more details.

Andrew McLean – ME House District 129
Andrew McLean is running for reelection to the 129th District in the Maine House of Representatives, representing North Gorham, White Rock, Little Falls, the Village and South Gorham. McLean was previously elected in 2012 and has worked tirelessly to support legislation that would protect the environment, expand healthcare, and reform gun laws in Maine. A resilient advocate, as representative McLean will continue to work on behalf of children and families in his next term and for years to come. Visit Andrew McLean’s campaign page on Facebook for more details.

Matt Moonen – ME House District 118
Matt Moonen is running for reelection in the 118th District in the Maine House of Representatives, representing part of Portland. Moonen has been dedicated to improving healthcare in Maine by sponsoring bills that would prohibit smoking in public places and that would expand Medicaid coverage and eligibility. Additionally, Moonen has been a fierce advocate for raising the minimum wage, passing comprehensive immigration reform, and reforming campaign finance. A true progressive candidate, Moonen will continue to make Maine an accepting and thriving place for all. Visit Matt Moonen’s campaign page on Facebook for more details.

Joe Neguse – CO Secretary of State
Joe Neguse, who is running for Colorado Secretary of State is the right choice for Colorado. Neguse brings with him knowledge and experience as a business attorney, member of the University Of Colorado Board Of Regents, and as a public servant. As secretary of state, Neguse will perform his duties with integrity and transparency, and will work to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to vote in Colorado. Neguse will advocate for everyone, regardless of wealth, age, or social standing. Visit Joe Neguse’s campaign website for more details.

Kesha Ram – VT House District 6-4
Kesha Ram is running for reelection to the Vermont House of Representatives’ District 6-4, representing Chittenden. Ram has worked to promote green job creation, affordable housing, and expanded access to healthcare. Both personally and in her capacity as a representative, Ram has worked to support survivors of domestic violence and is an active advocate for women’s rights. Ram is forward-thinking and dedicated, and her service will help Vermont flourish. Visit Kesha Ram’s campaign website for more details.

Laurie Anne Sayles – MD House District 17
Laurie Anne Sayles is running for Maryland’s House of Delegates District 17, representing Montgomery County. Sayles is a committed parent who has overcome obstacles to become a dedicated public servant in Maryland. A smart and capable leader, Sayles is a determined advocate for affordable healthcare, stronger public education, and accessible public transportation. As an elected official, Sayles will be a truly progressive leader for years to come. Visit Laurie Anne Sayles’s campaign website for more details.

Katrina Shankland – WI Assembly District 71
Katrina Shankland is running for reelection to the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing Stevens Point and its neighboring counties. In her one term as representative, Shankland has become a dedicated advocate for women’s rights and workers’ rights in Wisconsin. Shankland has worked to improve public education opportunities, and has been a fighter for environmental preservation and clean and sustainable energy practices. Visit Katrina Shankland’s campaign website for more details.

Alonzo Washington – MD House District 22
Alonzo Washington is running for reelection to the Maryland House of Delegates’ District 22, representing Prince George’s County. Washington, who has served in the House since 2012, already made a name for himself as a fighter for progressive values. He has sponsored and voted for bills that will increase the minimum wage, expand access to higher education, and strengthen public schools. As an important leader for Maryland’s future, Washington has and will continue to support progress in Maryland. Visit Alonzo Washington’s campaign website for more details.

Faith Winter – CO House District 35
Faith Winter, running for the Colorado House of Representatives’ 35th District to represent Westminster, is the right choice for Colorado. Winter has dedicated her life to public service, previously serving as a city councilwoman, mayor pro tem, and as the Emerge Colorado’s Executive Director, supporting women running for public office. In these capacities, Winter worked to create long-term jobs, expand affordable housing, and increase usage of sustainable energy in Colorado. Visit Faith Winter’s campaign website for more details.

PFAW

Michael Peroutka Campaign Spox John Lofton: Public Officials' Job To 'Administer' God's Law

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.  

He is a radical Christian Reconstructionist and southern secessionist who argues that the Maryland General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” because it has passed laws he thinks are violations of “God’s law.” He took part in Larry Klayman’s “revolutionary” rally last November, which did not achieve its stated goal of forcing President Obama out of office. He asked the white nationalist League of the South for help in his campaign. His family foundation gave a dinosaur fossil to the Creationist Museum to keep it out of the hands of evolution-promoting scientists. And notably, for a GOP candidate, he disparages “the Republican Party and their brand of worthless, Godless, unprincipled conservatism.”

Peroutka’s partner at the Institute on the Constitution, David Whitney, ran for the same seat in the Democratic primary, and lost. But another ideological compatriot, Joseph Delimater, won the uncontested GOP primary for county sheriffFrederick Clarkson points out that Delimater’s campaign website argues that it’s the responsibility of a county councilman and sheriff to resist implementation of any law that violates God’s law.

Peroutka’s campaign spokesman John Lofton told the Capital Gazette newspaper 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.” Lofton was communications director for Peroutka’s 2004 presidential campaign and has also served as communications director for Peroutka's Institute on the Constitution

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.”

On his Christian Post blog, Lofton has asked whether President Obama is wearing a “What Would Satan Do?” bracelet and decreed that sending children to public schools is “spiritual child abuse” and a sin.

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.”

Michael Peroutka, Christian Nationalist And Southern Secessionist, Wins GOP County Council Nomination In Maryland

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 Gazette notes 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.

He recently presented his theory that the Maryland General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” because it passed laws that he deems to be violations of “God’s law,” including a marriage equality bill and a stormwater tax. Last year, he said that state and local prosecutors should just ignore Roe v. Wade and prosecute women who have abortions or their providers for murder. 

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.

Christian Reconstructionist And Southern Secessionist Michael Peroutka Leading In GOP Primary

Far from the spotlight of Thad Cochran’s surprise defeat of his Tea Party challenger in Mississippi, radical Christian Reconstructionist and southern secessionist Michael Peroutka has apparently won the Republican primary for a county council seat in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County. As of early this morning, with all precincts reporting, the largely self-financing Peroutka had a 36-vote lead over his closest competitor in a five-way primary. But absentee ballots are still being counted, so Anne Arundel County voters could yet be spared a Peroutka general election candidacy.

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.”

Peroutka feels that way about civil rights laws in general. In a conversation with right-wing talk show host Steve Deace last fall, Peroutka denounced civil unions and laws against anti-gay discrimination as unconstitutional, then added:

“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.”

Peroutka runs the Institute on the Constitution, which promotes Christian Reconstructionist ideology, and, as reported by journalist Sarah Posner, has trained local Tea Party groups with its 12-part course on the biblical basis of the Constitution. Peroutka embraces Christian Reconstructionists’ radically limited view of the role of government. He has written:

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!

Peroutka said much the same thing at Larry Klaymen’s failed revolutionary rally in Washington, D.C. earlier this year which was supposed to oust President Obama from office.

“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….”

That law, of course, includes Peroutka’s interpretation of Old Testament verses on homosexuality. He declared Michael Sam, the college football star who came out as gay this year, to be “publicly in violation of Leviticus 18:22” and declared that the celebratory kiss between Sam and his boyfriend during the NFL draft was the kind of “sewer filth” that caused him to get rid of cable TV. He has said that laws against anti-gay discrimination in the workplace are part of a broader agenda that will result in people being forced “to engage in the perversion.”

Peroutka also helps run a family foundation that recently contributed to the Creation Museum a million-dollar dinosaur fossil after considering re-burying it to keep it out of the hands of paleontologists who might use it to promote the theory of evolution. It sounds crazy until you remember that Peroutka believes “the promotion of evolution is an act of disloyalty to America.”

What I’m saying is that there is no way you could promote or believe in evolution and sing ‘God Bless America’ during the 7th inning stretch.”

“All men are created equal, they are not evolved equal, get it?” he adds. “So evolution is anti-American.”

All this extremism aside, it is not clear why Maryland Republicans would want to back his candidacy. Last fall, Peroutka expressed nothing but contempt for the Republican Party:

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.”

 

Michael Peroutka Explains How Marriage Equality Invalidated All Maryland Laws

Michael Peroutka — the former League of the South board member who recently donated a million-dollar dinosaur skeleton to the Creation Museum — is also on the ballot for county council in Anne Arundel County Maryland, in today’s Republican primary.

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.

Excerpt from Peroutka’s transcript of the video:

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?

People For the American Way Action Fund Endorses Ariana Kelly for Delegate in MD-16

Today People For the American Way Action Fund announced its endorsement of Ariana Kelly for delegate in Maryland’s 16th Legislative District.

Ariana Kelly currently serves Maryland’s 16th District in the House of Delegates. She is one of six primary candidates for the three delegate seats. First elected in 2010, Kelly is the former national campaign director for MomsRising.org. Prior to that she served as executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, and served on the board of directors of the Democratic Women’s PAC of Maryland. A lifelong Democrat and native of Bethesda, Kelly is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As delegate, she has been a strong advocate for women’s rights, education, and access to healthcare. She serves on the health and government operations committee, the insurance subcommittee, and the bi-county agency committee. Kelly was named Legislator of the Year by the Mental Health Association of Maryland, won the Young Woman of Achievement Award from the Women’s Information Network, and is secretary for the Women Legislators of Maryland.

“Ariana Kelly is a committed champion for women, survivors of domestic violence, and children, who has established herself as a true leader,” said Randy Borntrager, PFAW Political Director. “She is a true progressive leader who will fight for a better future as delegate.”
               
Visit Ariana Kelly’s campaign website for more details.

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