Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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God’s Senator

Who would Jesus vote for? Meet Sam Brown­back

Sam Brownback Photo

At the Vet­er­ans Day parade in Empo­ria, Kansas

Nobody in this lit­tle church just off Times Square in Man­hat­tan thinks of them­selves as polit­i­cal. They’re spir­i­tu­al — actors and ath­letes and pret­ty young things who believe that every word of the Bible is inerrant dic­ta­tion from God. They look down from the bal­cony of the Morn­ing Star, sway­ing and smil­ing at the screen that tells them how to sing along. Nail-pierced hands, a wound­ed side. This is love, this is love! But on this evening in Jan­u­ary, pol­i­tics and all its world­ly machi­na­tions have entered their church. Sit­ting in the dark­ness of the front row is Sam Brown­back, the Repub­li­can sen­a­tor from Kansas. And hunched over on the stage in a red leather chair is an old man named Har­ald Bre­desen, who has come to anoint Brown­back as the Chris­t­ian right’s next can­di­date for pres­i­dent.

Over the last six decades, Bre­desen has prayed with so many pres­i­dents and prime min­is­ters and kings that he can bare­ly remem­ber their names. He’s the spir­i­tu­al father of Pat Robert­son, the man behind the preacher’s vast media empire. He was one of three pas­tors who laid hands on Ronald Rea­gan in 1970 and heard the Pasade­na Prophe­cy: the moment when God told Rea­gan that he would one day occu­py the White House. And he recent­ly dis­patched one of his pro­teges to remind George W. Bush of the divine will — and evan­gel­i­cal pow­er — behind his pres­i­den­cy.

Tonight, Bre­desen has come to breathe that pow­er into Brown­back­’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. After lit­tle more than a decade in Wash­ing­ton, Brown­back has man­aged to posi­tion him­self at the very cen­ter of the Chris­t­ian con­ser­v­a­tive upris­ing that is trans­form­ing Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. Just six years ago, win­ning the evan­gel­i­cal vote required only a veneer of bland nor­mal­cy, noth­ing more than George Bush’s vague assur­ance that Jesus was his favorite philoso­pher. Now, Brown­back seeks some­thing far more rad­i­cal: not faith-based pol­i­tics but faith in place of pol­i­tics. In his dream Amer­i­ca, the one he believes both the Bible and the Con­sti­tu­tion promise, the state will sim­ply with­er away. In its place will be a coun­try so suf­fused with God and the free mar­ket that the social fab­ric of the last hun­dred years — schools, Social Secu­ri­ty, wel­fare — will be pri­va­tized or sim­ply done away with. There will be no abor­tions; sex will be con­fined to het­ero­sex­u­al mar­riage. Men will lead fam­i­lies, moth­ers will tend chil­dren, and big busi­ness and the church will take care of all.

Bre­desen squints through the stage lights at Brown­back, sit­ting straight-backed and atten­tive. At forty-nine, the sen­a­tor looks taller than he is. His face is wide and flat, his skin thick like leather, etched by wind­burn and sun from years of work­ing on his father’s farm just out­side Park­er, Kansas, pop­u­la­tion 281. You can hear it in his voice: slow, dis­tant but warm; a bari­tone, spo­ken out of the left side of his mouth in half-sen­tences with few hard con­so­nants. It sounds like the voice of some­one who has learned how to wait for rain.

“He wants to be pres­i­dent,” Bre­desen tells the con­gre­ga­tion. “He is mar­velous­ly qual­i­fied to be pres­i­dent.” But, he adds, there is some­thing Brown­back wants even more: “And that is, on the last day of your earth­ly life, to be able to say, ‘Father, the work you gave me to do, I have accom­plished!’ ” Bre­desen, shrunk­en with age, leans for­ward and glares at Brown­back.

“Is that true?” he demands.

“Yes,” Brown­back says soft­ly.

“Friends!” The old man’s voice is sud­den­ly a trum­pet. “Sam . . . says . . . yes!”

The crowd roars. Those occu­py­ing the front rows lay hands on the con­tender.

Brown­back takes the stage. He begins to pace. In front of sec­u­lar audi­ences he’s a politi­cian, stiff and wonky. Here, he’s a preach­er, not sweaty but smooth, work­ing a call-and-response with the back rows. “I used to run on Sam pow­er,” he says.

“Uh-uh,” some­one shouts.

To qui­et his ambi­tion, Brown­back con­tin­ues, he used to take sleep­ing pills.

“Oh, Lord!”

Now he runs on God pow­er.


He tells a sto­ry about a chap­lain who chal­lenged a group of sen­a­tors to recon­sid­er their con­cep­tion of democ­ra­cy. “How many con­stituents do you have?” the chap­lain asked. The sen­a­tors answered: 4 mil­lion, 9 mil­lion, 12 mil­lion. “May I sug­gest,” the chap­lain replied, “that you have only one con­stituent?”

Brown­back paus­es. That moment, he declares, changed his life. “This” — being sen­a­tor, run­ning for pres­i­dent, wav­ing the flag of a Chris­t­ian nation — “is about serv­ing one con­stituent.” He rais­es a hand and points above him.

From the bal­cony a hal­lelu­jah, an amen, a yelp. From Bre­desen’s great white head, now peer­ing up from the front row, Brown­back wins an appre­cia­tive nod.

This boy, Bre­desen thinks, may be the cho­sen one.

* * *

Back in 1994, when Brown­back came to Con­gress as a fresh­man, he was so con­temp­tu­ous of fed­er­al author­i­ty that he refused at first to sign the Con­tract With Amer­i­ca, Newt Gin­grich’s right-wing man­i­festo — not because it was too rad­i­cal but because it was too tame. Repub­li­cans should­n’t just reform big gov­ern­ment, Brown­back insist­ed — they should elim­i­nate it. He imme­di­ate­ly pro­posed abol­ish­ing the depart­ments of edu­ca­tion, ener­gy and com­merce. His pro­pos­als failed — but they quick­ly made him one of the right’s ris­ing stars. Two years lat­er, run­ning to the right of Bob Dole’s cho­sen suc­ces­sor, he was elect­ed to the Sen­ate.

“I am a seek­er,” he says. Brown­back believes that every spir­i­tu­al path has its own unique scent, and he wants to inhale them all. When he ran for the House he was a Methodist. By the time he ran for the Sen­ate he was an evan­gel­i­cal. Now he has become a Catholic. He was bap­tized not in a church but in a chapel tucked between lob­by­ists’ offices on K Street that is run by Opus Dei, the secre­tive lay order found­ed by a Catholic priest who advo­cat­ed “holy coer­cion” and con­sid­ered Span­ish dic­ta­tor Fran­cis­co Fran­co an ide­al of world­ly pow­er. Brown­back also stud­ies Torah with an ortho­dox rab­bi from Brook­lyn. “Deep,” says the rab­bi, Nos­son Scher­man. Late­ly, Brown­back has been read­ing the Koran, but he does­n’t like what he’s find­ing. “There’s some dif­fi­cult mate­r­i­al in it with regard to the Chris­t­ian and the Jew,” he tells a Chris­t­ian radio pro­gram, voice husky with regret.

Brown­back is not part of the GOP lead­er­ship, and he does­n’t want to be. He once told a group of busi­ness­men he want­ed to be the next Jesse Helms — “Sen­a­tor No,” who oper­at­ed as a one-man demo­li­tion unit against god­less­ness, inde­pen­dent of his par­ty. Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Bill Frist, a man with pres­i­den­tial ambi­tions of his own, gave Brown­back a plum posi­tion on the Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee, per­haps hop­ing that Brown­back would pro­vide a coun­ter­bal­ance to Arlen Specter, a mod­er­ate Repub­li­can who threat­ened to make trou­ble for Bush’s appointees. Instead, tak­ing a page from Helms, Brown­back turned the posi­tion into a plat­form for a high-pro­file war against gay mar­riage, porn and abor­tion. Cast­ing Bush and the Repub­li­can lead­er­ship as soft and mud­dled, he reg­u­lar­ly turns sleepy hear­ings into plat­forms for his vision of Amer­i­ca, invit­ing a parade of angry wit­ness­es to denounce the “homo­sex­u­al agen­da,” “bes­tial­i­ty” and “mur­der.”

He is run­ning for pres­i­dent because mur­der is always on his mind: the abor­tion of what he con­sid­ers fetal cit­i­zens. He speaks often and admir­ing­ly of John Brown, the abo­li­tion­ist who mas­sa­cred five pro-slav­ery set­tlers just north of the farm where Brown­back grew up. Brown want­ed to free the slaves; Brown­back wants to free fetus­es. He loves each and every one of them. “Just . .
. sacred,” he says. In Jan­u­ary, dur­ing the con­fir­ma­tion of Samuel Ali­to for a seat on the Supreme Court, Brown­back com­pared Roe v. Wade to the now dis­graced rul­ings that once upheld seg­re­ga­tion.

Ali­to was in the Sen­ate hear­ing room that day large­ly because of Brown­back­’s efforts. Last Octo­ber, after Bush named his per­son­al lawyer, Har­ri­et Miers, to the Supreme Court, Brown­back polite­ly but thor­ough­ly demol­ished her nom­i­na­tion — on the grounds that she was insuf­fi­cient­ly opposed to abor­tion. The day Miers with­drew her name, Sen. John McCain sur­prised the mob of reporters clam­or­ing around Brown­back out­side the Sen­ate cham­ber by grab­bing his col­league’s shoul­ders. “Here’s the man who did it!” McCain shout­ed in admi­ra­tion, a big smile on his face.

Brown­back is unlike­ly to receive the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion — but as the can­di­date of the Chris­t­ian right, he may well be in a posi­tion to deter­mine who does, and what they include in their plat­form. “What Sam could do very effec­tive­ly,” says the Rev. Rob Schenck, an evan­gel­i­cal activist, is hold the nom­i­na­tion hostage until the Chris­t­ian right “exacts the last pledge out of the more pop­u­lar can­di­date.”

The nation’s lead­ing evan­gel­i­cals have already lined up behind Brown­back, a feat in itself. A decade ago, evan­gel­i­cal sup­port for a Catholic would have been unthink­able. Many evan­gel­i­cals viewed the Pope as the Antichrist and the Roman Catholic Church as the Whore of Baby­lon. But Brown­back is the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of a strat­e­gy known as co-bel­ligeren­cy — a unit­ed front between con­ser­v­a­tive Catholics and evan­gel­i­cals in the cul­ture war. Pat Robert­son has tapped the “out­stand­ing sen­a­tor from Kansas” as his man for pres­i­dent. David Bar­ton, the Chris­t­ian right’s all-but-offi­cial pres­i­den­tial his­to­ri­an, calls Brown­back “uncom­pro­mis­ing” — the high­est praise in a move­ment that con­sid­ers intran­si­gence next to god­li­ness. And James Dob­son, the move­men­t’s strongest chief­tain, can find no fault in Brown­back. “He has ful­filled every expec­ta­tion,” Dob­son says. Even Jesse Helms, now in retire­ment in North Car­oli­na, rec­og­nizes a kin­dred spir­it. “The most effec­tive sen­a­tors are those who are truest to them­selves,” Helms says. “Sen­a­tor Brown­back is becom­ing known as that sort of indi­vid­ual.”

* * *

As he gath­ers the forces of the Chris­t­ian right around him, how­ev­er, Brown­back has bro­ken with the move­men­t’s tra­di­tion of fire and brim­stone. His fun­da­men­tal­ism is almost ten­der. He’s no less intol­er­ant than the angry pul­pit-pounders, but he nev­er sounds like a hater. His style is both gen­tler and cold­er, a mix­ture of Mr. Rogers and monk­ish detach­ment.

Brown­back does­n’t thump the Bible. He reads obses­sive­ly, study­ing biogra­phies of Chris­t­ian cru­saders from cen­turies past. His learn­ing does­n’t lend him grav­i­tas so much as it seems to free him from grav­i­ty, to set him adrift across space and time. Ask him why he con­sid­ers abor­tion a “holo­caust,” and he’ll answer by way of a sto­ry about an eigh­teenth-cen­tu­ry British par­lia­men­tar­i­an who broke down in tears over the sin of slav­ery. Brown­back believes Amer­i­ca is enter­ing a peri­od of reli­gious revival on the scale of the Great Awak­en­ing that pre­ced­ed the nation’s cre­ation, an epi­dem­ic of mass con­ver­sions, signs and won­ders, book burn­ings. But this time, he says, the upheaval will give way to a “cul­tur­al spring­time,” a theo­crat­ic order that is pleas­ant and balmy. It’s a vision shared by the mega-church­es that sprawl across the sur­bur­ban land­scape, the 24–7 spir­i­tu­al-enter­tain­ment com­plex­es where mil­lions of Amer­i­cans embrace a feel-good fun­da­men­tal­ism.

When Brown­back trav­els, he tries to avoid spend­ing time alone in his hotel room, where inde­cent tele­vi­sion pro­gram­ming might tempt him. In Wash­ing­ton, though, he goes to bed ear­ly. He does­n’t like to eat out. Indeed, it some­times seems he does­n’t like to eat at all — his staff wor­ries when the only thing he has for lunch is a com­mu­nion wafer and a drop of wine at the noon­time Mass he tries to attend dai­ly. He lives in a spar­tan apart­ment across from his office that he shares with Sen. Jim Tal­ent, a Repub­li­can from Mis­souri, and he flies home to Tope­ka almost every Thurs­day. On the wall of his office, there’s a fam­i­ly por­trait of all sev­en Brown­backs gath­ered around two tree stumps, each Brown­back in black shoes, blue jeans and a black pullover. The old­est, Abby, is nine­teen; the youngest, Jen­na, aban­doned on the doorstep of a Chi­nese orphan­age when she was two days old, is sev­en.

Brown­back­’s house in Tope­ka perch­es atop a hill, shield­ed from the road behind a great arc of dri­ve­way in a name­less sub­urb so new that the grass has yet to sprout on near­by lawns. On a recent Sun­day, Brown­back sits in the kitchen, look­ing relaxed in jeans and an orange sweat­shirt that says HOODWINKED, the name of his old­est son’s band. Hood­winked mem­bers drift in and out, chat­ting with the sen­a­tor. When the band starts prac­tice in the base­ment, Brown­back walks down­stairs, opens the door, jerks his right knee in the air and half wind­mills his arm. Hood­winked shout at him to leave them alone.

When he was a boy, Brown­back did­n’t belong to any rock bands. He grew up in a white, one-sto­ry farm­house in Park­er, where his par­ents still live. Brown­back likes to say that he is fight­ing for tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly val­ues, but his father, Bob, was more con­cerned about the price of grain, and his moth­er, Nan­cy, had no qualms about hav­ing a gay friend. Back then, moral val­ues were sim­ple. “Your word was your word. Don’t cheat,” his moth­er recalls. “I can’t think of any­thing else.”

Her son played foot­ball (“quar­ter­back” she says, “nev­er very good”) and was elect­ed class pres­i­dent and “Mr. Spir­it.” “He was talk­a­tive,” she adds, as if this were an alien qual­i­ty. Like most kids in Park­er, Sam just want­ed to be a farmer. But that life is gone now, destroyed by what the old farm­ers who sit around the town’s sin­gle gas sta­tion sum up in one word — “Rea­gan­ism.” They mean the voodoo eco­nom­ics by which the gov­ern­ment favored cor­po­rate inter­ests over fam­i­ly farms, a “what’s good for big busi­ness is good for Amer­i­ca” phi­los­o­phy that Brown­back him­self now cham­pi­ons.

In 1986, just a few years after fin­ish­ing law school, Brown­back land­ed one of the state’s plum offices: agri­cul­ture sec­re­tary, a posi­tion of no small influ­ence in Kansas. But in 1993, he was forced out when a fed­er­al court ruled his tenure uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. Not only had he not been elect­ed, he’d been appoint­ed by peo­ple who weren’t elect­ed — the very same agribusi­ness giants he was in charge of reg­u­lat­ing.

The fol­low­ing year, he squeaked into Con­gress, run­ning as a mod­er­ate. But in Wash­ing­ton, in the midst of the Gin­grich Rev­o­lu­tion, Brown­back did­n’t just tack right — he unzipped his qui­et Kansan cos­tume and stepped out as the leader of the New Fed­er­al­ists, the small but potent fac­tion of fresh­men deter­mined to get rid of gov­ern­ment almost entire­ly. When he dis­cov­ered that the Repub­li­can lead­er­ship was­n’t real­ly inter­est­ed in derail­ing its own gravy train, Brown­back began spend­ing more time with his Bible. He began to sus­pect that the prob­lem with gov­ern­ment was­n’t just too many tax­es; it was not enough God.

Brown­back­’s wife, Mary, heiress to a Mid­west news­pa­per for­tune, mar­ried Sam dur­ing her final year of law school and boasts that she has nev­er worked out­side the home. “Basi­cal­ly,” she says, “I live in the kitchen.” From her spot by the stove, Mary mon­i­tors all media con­sumed by her kids. The Brown­backs block sev­er­al chan­nels, but even so, innu­en­dos slip by, she says, and the night­ly news is often “too sex­u­al.” The chil­dren, Mary says, “exude their faith.” The old­est kids “opt out” of sex edu­ca­tion at school.

Sex, in all its var­i­ous forms, is at the cen­ter of Brown­back­’s agen­da. Amer­i­ca, he believes, has divorced sex­u­al­i­ty from what is sacred. “It’s not that we think too much about sex,” he says, “it’s that we don’t think enough of it.” The sen­a­tor would glad­ly roll back the sex­u­al rev­o­lu­tion alto­geth­er if he could, but he knows he can’t, so instead he dreams of some­thing bet­ter: a cul­ture of “faith-ba
sed” eroti­cism in which pre­mar­i­tal pas­sion plays out not in flesh but in prayer. After Janet Jack­son’s nip­ple made its sur­prise appear­ance at the 2004 Super Bowl, Brown­back intro­duced the Broad­cast Decen­cy Enforce­ment Act, rais­ing the fines for such on-air abom­i­na­tions to $325,000.

On Sun­days, Brown­back ris­es at dawn so he can catch a Catholic Mass before meet­ing Mary and the kids at Tope­ka Bible Church. With the excep­tion of one brown-skinned man, the con­gre­ga­tion is entire­ly white. The stage looks like a rec room in a sub­ur­ban base­ment: wall-to-wall car­pet, wood pan­el­ing, a few hap­haz­ard ferns and a cou­ple of elec­tric gui­tars lying around. This morn­ing, the church wel­comes a guest preach­er from Promise Keep­ers, a men’s group, by per­form­ing a skit about golf and father­hood. From his pre­ferred seat in the bal­cony, Brown­back chuck­les when he’s sup­posed to, sings every song, nods seri­ous­ly when the preach­er warns against “Judaiz­ers” who would “poi­son” the New Tes­ta­ment.

After the ser­vice, Brown­back intro­duces me to a white-haired man with a yel­low Viking mus­tache. “This is the man who wrote ‘Dust in the Wind,’ ” the sen­a­tor announces proud­ly. It’s Ker­ry Liv­gren of the band Kansas. Liv­gren has found Jesus and now wor­ships with the sen­a­tor at Tope­ka Bible. Brown­back, one of the Sen­ate’s fiercest hawks on Israel, tells Liv­gren he wants to take him to the Holy Land. When­ev­er the sen­a­tor met with Prime Min­is­ter Ariel Sharon to talk pol­i­cy, he insist­ed that they first study Scrip­ture togeth­er. The two men would study their Bibles, music play­ing soft­ly in the back­ground. Maybe, if Liv­gren goes to Israel with Brown­back, he could strum “Dust in the Wind.” “Car­ry on my . . .” the sen­a­tor war­bles, try­ing to remem­ber anoth­er song by his friend.

* * *

One of the lit­tle-known strengths of the Chris­t­ian right lies in its adop­tion of the “cell” — the build­ing block his­tor­i­cal­ly used by small but deter­mined groups to impose their will on the major­i­ty. Sev­en­ty years ago, an evan­ge­list named Abra­ham Verei­de found­ed a net­work of “God-led” cells com­pris­ing sen­a­tors and gen­er­als, cor­po­rate exec­u­tives and preach­ers. Verei­de believed that the cells — God’s cho­sen, appoint­ed to pow­er — could con­struct a King­dom of God on earth with Wash­ing­ton as its cap­i­tal. They would do so “behind the scenes,” lest they be accused of pride or a hunger for pow­er, and “beyond the din of vox pop­uli,” which is to say, out­side the bounds of democ­ra­cy. To insid­ers, the cells were known as the Fam­i­ly, or the Fel­low­ship. To most out­siders, they were not known at all.

“Com­mu­nists use cells as their basic struc­ture,” declares a con­fi­den­tial Fel­low­ship doc­u­ment titled “Thoughts on a Core Group.” “The mafia oper­ates like this, and the basic unit of the Marine Corps is the four-man squad. Hitler, Lenin and many oth­ers under­stood the pow­er of a small group of peo­ple.” Under Rea­gan, Fel­low­ship cells qui­et­ly arranged meet­ings between admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials and lead­ers of Sal­vado­ran death squads, and helped fun­nel mil­i­tary sup­port to Siad Barre, the bru­tal dic­ta­tor of Soma­lia, who belonged to a prayer cell of Amer­i­can sen­a­tors and gen­er­als.

Brown­back got involved in the Fel­low­ship in 1979, as a sum­mer intern for Bob Dole, when he lived in a res­i­dence the group had orga­nized in a soror­i­ty house at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land. Four years lat­er, fresh out of law school and look­ing for a polit­i­cal role mod­el, Brown­back sought out Frank Carl­son, a for­mer Repub­li­can sen­a­tor from Kansas. It was Carl­son who, at a 1955 meet­ing of the Fel­low­ship, had declared the group’s mis­sion to be “World­wide Spir­i­tu­al Offen­sive,” a vision of man­ly Chris­tian­i­ty ded­i­cat­ed to the expan­sion of Amer­i­can pow­er as a means of spread­ing the gospel.

Over the years, Brown­back became increas­ing­ly active in the Fel­low­ship. But he was­n’t invit­ed to join a cell until 1994, when he went to Wash­ing­ton. “I had been work­ing with them for a num­ber of years, so when I went into Con­gress I knew I want­ed to get back into that,” he says. “Wash­ing­ton — pow­er — is very dif­fi­cult to han­dle. I knew I need­ed peo­ple to keep me account­able in that sys­tem.”

Brown­back was placed in a week­ly prayer cell by “the shad­ow Bil­ly Gra­ham” — Doug Coe, Verei­de’s suc­ces­sor as head of the Fel­low­ship. The group was all male and all Repub­li­can. It was a “safe rela­tion­ship,” Brown­back says. Con­ver­sa­tion tend­ed toward the per­son­al. Brown­back and the oth­er men revealed the most inti­mate details of their desires, fail­ings, ambi­tions. They talked about lust, anger and infi­deli­ties, the more shame­ful the bet­ter — since the goal was to break one’s own will. The abo­li­tion of self; to become noth­ing but a ves­sel so that one could be used by God.

They were striv­ing, ulti­mate­ly, for what Coe calls “Jesus plus noth­ing” — a gov­ern­ment led by Christ’s will alone. In the future envi­sioned by Coe, every­thing — sex and tax­es, war and the price of oil — will be decid­ed upon not accord­ing to democ­ra­cy or the church or even Scrip­ture. The Bible itself is for the mass­es; in the Fel­low­ship, Christ reveals a high­er set of com­mands to the anoint­ed few. It’s a good old boy’s club blessed by God. Brown­back even lived with oth­er cell mem­bers in a mil­lion-dol­lar, red-brick for­mer con­vent at 133 C Street that was sub­si­dized and oper­at­ed by the Fel­low­ship. Month­ly rent was $600 per man — enough of a deal by Hill stan­dards that some said it bor­dered on an eth­i­cal vio­la­tion, but no charges were ever brought.

Brown­back still meets with the prayer cell every Tues­day evening. He and his “broth­ers,” he says, are “bond­ed togeth­er, faith and souls.” The rules for­bid Brown­back from reveal­ing the names of his fel­low mem­bers, but those in the cell like­ly include such con­ser­v­a­tive stal­warts as Rep. Zach Wamp of Ten­nessee, for­mer Rep. Steve Largent of Okla­homa and Sen. Tom Coburn, an Okla­homa doc­tor who has advo­cat­ed the death penal­ty for abor­tion providers. Fel­low­ship doc­u­ments sug­gest that some 30 sen­a­tors and 200 con­gress­men occa­sion­al­ly attend the group’s activ­i­ties, but no more than a dozen are involved at Brown­back­’s lev­el.

The men in Brown­back­’s cell talk about pol­i­tics, but the sen­a­tor insists it’s not polit­i­cal. “It’s about faith and action,” he says. Accord­ing to “Thoughts on a Core Group,” the pri­ma­ry pur­pose of the cell is to become an “invis­i­ble ‘believ­ing’ group.” Any action the cell takes is an out­growth of belief, a nat­ur­al exten­sion of “agree­ments reached in faith and in prayer.” Deals emerge not from a smoke-filled room but from a prayer-filled room. “Typ­i­cal­ly,” says Brown­back, “one per­son grows desirous of pur­su­ing an action” — a piece of leg­is­la­tion, a diplo­mat­ic strat­e­gy — “and the oth­ers pull in behind.”

In 1999, Brown­back worked with Rep. Joe Pitts, a Fel­low­ship broth­er, to pass the Silk Road Strat­e­gy Act, designed to block the growth of Islam in Cen­tral Asian nations by brib­ing them with lucra­tive trade deals. That same year, he teamed up with two Fel­low­ship asso­ciates — for­mer Sen. Don Nick­les and the late Sen. Strom Thur­mond — to demand a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion of a lib­er­al group called Amer­i­cans Unit­ed for Sep­a­ra­tion of Church and State. Last year, sev­er­al Fel­low­ship broth­ers, includ­ing Sen. John Ensign, anoth­er res­i­dent of the C Street house, sup­port­ed Brown­back­’s broad­cast decen­cy bill. And Pitts and Coburn joined Brown­back in stump­ing for the Hous­es of Wor­ship Act to allow tax-free church­es to endorse can­di­dates.

The most blunt­ly theo­crat­ic effort, how­ev­er, is the Con­sti­tu­tion Restora­tion Act, which Brown­back co-spon­sored with Jim DeMint, anoth­er for­mer C Streeter who was then a con­gress­man from South Car­oli­na. If passed, it will strip the Supreme Court of the abil­i­ty to even hear cas­es in which cit­i­zens protest faith-based abus­es of pow­er. Say the may­or of your town decides to declare Jesus lord and fire any­one who refus­es to do so; or the prin­ci­pal of your local high school decides to read a fun­da­men­tal­ist prayer over the PA every morn­ing; or the pres­i­dent declares the Unit­ed States a Chris­t­ian nation. Under the Con­sti­tu­tion Restora­tion Act, that’ll all be just fine. /p>

Brown­back points to his friend Ed Meese, who served as attor­ney gen­er­al under Rea­gan, as an exam­ple of a man who wields pow­er through back­room Fel­low­ship con­nec­tions. Meese has not held a gov­ern­ment job for near­ly two decades, but through the Fel­low­ship he’s more influ­en­tial than ever, cred­it­ed with bro­ker­ing the recent nom­i­na­tion of John Roberts to head the Supreme Court. “As a behind-the-scenes net­work­er,” Brown­back says, “he’s impor­tant.” In the sen­a­tor’s view, such hid­den pow­er is sanc­tioned by the Bible. “Every­body knows Moses,” Brown­back says. “But who were the lead­ers of the Jew­ish peo­ple once they got to the promised land? It’s a lot of peo­ple who are unknown.”

* * *

Every Tues­day, before his evening meet­ing with his prayer broth­ers, Brown­back chairs anoth­er small cell — one explic­it­ly ded­i­cat­ed to alter­ing pub­lic pol­i­cy. It is called the Val­ues Action Team, and it is com­posed of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions on the reli­gious right. James Dob­son’s Focus on the Fam­i­ly sends an emis­sary, as does the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil, the Eagle Forum, the Chris­t­ian Coali­tion, the Tra­di­tion­al Val­ues Coali­tion, Con­cerned Women for Amer­i­ca and many more. Like the Fel­low­ship prayer cell, every­thing that is said is strict­ly off the record, and even the groups them­selves are for­bid­den from dis­cussing the pro­ceed­ings. It’s a lit­tle “cloak-and-dag­ger,” says a Brown­back press sec­re­tary. The VAT is a war coun­cil, and the ene­my, says one par­tic­i­pant, is “sec­u­lar­ism.”

The VAT coor­di­nates the efforts of fun­da­men­tal­ist pres­sure groups, uni­fy­ing their mes­sage and arm­ing con­gres­sion­al staffers with the data and lan­guage they need to pass leg­is­la­tion. Work­ing almost entire­ly in secret, the group has direct­ed the fights against gay mar­riage and for school vouch­ers, against hate-crime leg­is­la­tion and for “absti­nence only” edu­ca­tion. The VAT helped win pas­sage of Brown­back­’s broad­cast decen­cy bill and made the pres­i­den­t’s tax cuts a top pri­or­i­ty. When it comes to “impact­ing pol­i­cy,” says Tony Perkins of the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil, “day to day, the VAT is instru­men­tal.”

As chair­man of the Helsin­ki Com­mis­sion, the most impor­tant U.S. human rights agency, Brown­back has also stamped much of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy with VAT’s agen­da. One vic­to­ry for the group was Brown­back­’s North Korea Human Rights Act, which estab­lish­es a con­fronta­tion­al stance toward the dic­ta­to­r­i­al regime and shifts funds for human­i­tar­i­an aid from the Unit­ed Nations to Chris­t­ian orga­ni­za­tions. Sean Woo — Brown­back­’s for­mer gen­er­al coun­sel and now the chief of staff of the Helsin­ki Com­mis­sion — calls this a process of “pri­va­tiz­ing democ­ra­cy.” A dap­per man with a sooth­ing voice, Woo is per­haps the bright­est thinker in Brown­back­’s cir­cle, a savvy inter­na­tion­al­ist with a deep knowl­edge of Cold War his­to­ry. Yet when I ask him for an exam­ple of the kind of project the human-rights act might fund, he tells me about a Ger­man doc­tor who releas­es bal­loons over North Korea with bub­ble-wrapped radios tied to them. North Kore­ans are sup­posed to find the bal­loons when they run out of heli­um and use the radios to tune into Voice of Amer­i­ca or a South Kore­an Chris­t­ian sta­tion.

Since Brown­back took over lead­er­ship of the VAT in 2002, he has used it to con­sol­i­date his posi­tion in the Chris­t­ian right — and his influ­ence in the Sen­ate. If sen­a­tors — even lead­ers like Bill Frist or Rick San­to­rum — want to ask for back­ing from the group, they must talk to Brown­back­’s chief of staff, Robert Wasinger, who clears atten­dees with his boss. Wasinger is from Hays, Kansas, but he speaks with a Har­vard drawl, and he is still remem­bered in Cam­bridge twelve years after grad­u­a­tion for a fight he led to get gay fac­ul­ty boot­ed. He was par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned about the wel­fare of gay men; or rather, as he wrote in a cam­pus mag­a­zine fund­ed by the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, that of their inno­cent sperm, forced to “swim into feces.” As gate­keep­er of the VAT, he’s a key strate­gist in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. He makes sure the reli­gious lead­ers who attend VAT under­stand that Brown­back is the boss — and that oth­er sen­a­tors real­ize that every time Brown­back speaks, he has the mon­ey and mem­ber­ship of the VAT behind him.

VAT is like a closed com­mu­ni­ca­tion cir­cuit with Brown­back at the switch: The pow­er flows through him. Every Wednes­day at noon, he trots upstairs from his office to a radio stu­dio main­tained by the Repub­li­can lead­er­ship to ral­ly sup­port from Chris­t­ian Amer­i­ca for VAT’s agen­da. One par­tic­i­pant in the broad­cast, Salem Radio Net­work News, reach­es more than 1,500 Chris­t­ian sta­tions nation­wide, and Focus on the Fam­i­ly offers access to an audi­ence of 1.5 mil­lion. Dur­ing a recent broad­cast Brown­back explains that with the help of the VAT, he’s work­ing to defeat a mea­sure that would stiff­en penal­ties for vio­lent attacks on gays and les­bians. Mem­bers of VAT help by mobi­liz­ing their flocks: An e‑mail sent out by the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil warned that the hate-crime bill would lead, inex­orably, to the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of Chris­tian­i­ty.

Brown­back recent­ly mus­cled through the Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee a pro­posed amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion to make not just gay mar­riage but even civ­il unions near­ly impos­si­ble. “I don’t see where the com­pro­mise point would be on mar­riage,” he says. The amend­ment has no chance of pass­ing, but it’s not designed to. It’s a time bomb, sched­uled to det­o­nate some­time dur­ing the 2006 elec­toral cycle. The intend­ed vic­tims aren’t Democ­rats but oth­er Repub­li­cans. GOP mod­er­ates will be forced to vote for or against “mar­riage,” which — in the lan­guage of the VAT com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work — is anoth­er way of say­ing for or against the “homo­sex­u­al agen­da.” It’s a typ­i­cal VAT strat­e­gy: a tool with which to puri­fy the ranks of the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

* * *

Eleven years ago, Brown­back him­self under­went a sim­i­lar process of purifi­ca­tion. It start­ed, he says, with a strange bump on his right side: a melanoma, diag­nosed in 1995.

Brown­back is sit­ting in the Sen­ate din­ing room sur­round­ed by back-slap­ping sen­a­tors and staffers, yet he seems serene. His press sec­re­tary tries to stop him from talk­ing — he con­sid­ers Brown­back­’s can­cer epiphany suit­able only for reli­gious audi­ences — but Brown­back can’t be dis­tract­ed. His eyes open wide and his shoul­ders slump as he set­tles into the mem­o­ry. He starts using words like “med­i­ta­tion” and “soli­tude.” The press sec­re­tary winces.

The doc­tors scooped out a piece of his flesh, Brown­back says, as if mur­mur­ing to him­self. A minor pro­ce­dure, but it scared him. In his mind, he lost hold of every­thing. He asked him­self, “What have I done with my life?” The answer seemed to be “Noth­ing.”

One night, while his fam­i­ly was sleep­ing, Brown­back got up and pulled out a copy of his resume. Sit­ting in his silent house, in the mid­dle of the night, a scar over his ribs where can­cer had been carved out of his body, he looked down at the piece of paper. His work, the laws he had passed. “This must be who I am,” he thought. Then he real­ized: Noth­ing he had done would last. All his accom­plish­ments were hum­drum con­ser­v­a­tive mea­sures, bureau­crat­ic wran­gling, leg­is­la­tion that had noth­ing to do with God. They were worth noth­ing.

Brown­back turns, holds my gaze. “So,” he says, “I burned it.”

He smiles. He paus­es. He’s wait­ing to see if I under­stand. He had cleansed him­self with fire. He had made him­self pure.

“I’m a child of the liv­ing God,” he explains.

I nod.

“You are, too,” he says. He purs­es his lips as he search­es the oth­er tables. Look, he says, point­ing to a man across the room. “Mark Day­ton, over there?” The Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tor from Min­neso­ta. “He’s a lib­er­al.” But you know what else he is? “A beau­ti­ful child of the liv­ing God.” Brown­back con­tin­ues. Ted Kennedy? “A beau­ti­ful child of the liv­ing God.” Hillary Clin­ton? Yes. Even Hillary. Espe­cial­ly Hillary.

Once, Brown­back says, he hat­ed Hillary Clin­ton. Hat­ed her so much it hurt him. But he reached in and scooped that hatred out like a can­cer. Now, he loves her. She, too, is a beau­ti­ful child of the liv­ing God.

* * *

After his spir­i­tu­al trans­for­ma­tion, Brown­back began trav­el­ing to some of the most blight­ed regions in the world. At times his moti­va­tion appeared strict­ly eco­nom­ic. He toured the dic­ta­tor­ships of Cen­tral Asia, trad­ing U.S. sup­port for access to oil — but he insists that he want­ed to pre­vent their wealth from falling into “Islam­ic hands.” Oil may have spurred his inter­est in Africa, too — the U.S. com­petes with Chi­na for access to African oil fields — but the wel­fare of the world’s most afflict­ed con­ti­nent has since become a gen­uine obses­sion for Brown­back. He has trav­eled to Dar­fur, in Sudan, and he has just returned from the Con­go, where the starv­ing die at a rate of 1,000 a day. Recall­ing the child sol­diers he’s met in Ugan­da, his voice chokes and his eyes fill with hor­ror.

When Brown­back talks about Africa, he sounds like JFK, or even Bono. “We’re only five per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion,” he says, “but we’re respon­si­ble for thir­ty per­cent of the world’s econ­o­my, thir­ty-three per­cent of mil­i­tary spend­ing. We’re going to be held account­able for the assets we’ve been giv­en.” His def­i­n­i­tion of moral deca­dence includes Amer­i­ca’s fail­ure to stop geno­cide in the Sudan and tor­ture in North Korea. He wants drug com­pa­nies to spend as much on med­i­cine for malar­ia as they do on feel-good drugs for Amer­i­cans, like Via­gra and Prozac. Ask him what dri­ves him and he’ll answer, with­out irony, “wid­ows and orphans.” It’s a ref­er­ence to the New Tes­ta­ment Epis­tle of James: “Reli­gion that God our father accepts as pure and fault­less is this: to look after orphans and wid­ows in their dis­tress and to keep one­self from being pol­lut­ed by the world.”

Brown­back is less con­cerned about the world being pol­lut­ed by peo­ple. His biggest finan­cial backer is Koch Indus­tries, an oil com­pa­ny that ranks among Amer­i­ca’s largest pri­vate­ly held com­pa­nies. “The Koch folks,” as they’re known around the sen­a­tor’s office, are among the nation’s worst pol­luters. In 2000, the com­pa­ny was slapped with the largest envi­ron­men­tal civ­il penal­ty in U.S. his­to­ry for ille­gal­ly dis­charg­ing 3 mil­lion gal­lons of crude oil in six states. That same year Koch was indict­ed for lying about its emis­sions of ben­zene, a chem­i­cal linked to leukemia, and dodged crim­i­nal charges in return for a $20 mil­lion set­tle­ment. Brown­back has received near­ly $100,000 from Koch and its employ­ees, and dur­ing his neck-and-neck race in 1996, a mys­te­ri­ous shell com­pa­ny called Tri­ad Man­age­ment pro­vid­ed $410,000 for last-minute adver­tis­ing on Brown­back­’s behalf. A Sen­ate inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee lat­er deter­mined that the mon­ey came from the two broth­ers who run Koch Indus­tries.

Brown­back has been a staunch oppo­nent of envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions that Koch finds annoy­ing, fight­ing fuel-effi­cien­cy stan­dards and the Kyoto Pro­to­col on glob­al warm­ing. But for the sen­a­tor, there’s no real divide between the preda­to­ry eco­nom­ic inter­ests of his cor­po­rate back­ers and his own moral pas­sions. He received more mon­ey fun­neled through Jack Abramoff, the GOP lob­by­ist under inves­ti­ga­tion for bilk­ing Indi­an tribes of more than $80 mil­lion, than all but four oth­er sen­a­tors — and he blocked a casi­no that Abramof­f’s clients viewed as a com­peti­tor. But get­ting Brown­back to vote against gam­bling does­n’t take bribes; he would have done so regard­less of the mon­ey.

Brown­back finds the issue of finances dis­taste­ful. He refus­es to dis­cuss his back­ers, smooth­ly turn­ing the issue to mat­ters of faith. “Pat got me elect­ed,” he says, refer­ring to Robert­son’s net­work of Chris­t­ian-right orga­ni­za­tions. Sit­ting in his cor­ner office in the Sen­ate, Brown­back returns to one of his favorite sub­jects: the scourge of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty. The office has just been remod­eled and the high-ceilinged room is almost bar­ren. On Brown­back­’s desk, adrift at the far end of the room, there’s a Bible open to the Gospel of John.

It does­n’t both­er Brown­back that most Bible schol­ars chal­lenge the idea that Scrip­ture oppos­es homo­sex­u­al­i­ty. “It’s pret­ty clear,” he says, “what we know in our hearts.” This, he says, is “nat­ur­al law,” derived from obser­va­tion of the world, but the log­ic is cir­cu­lar: It’s wrong because he observes him­self believ­ing it’s wrong.

He has world­ly proof, too. “You look at the social impact of the coun­tries that have engaged in homo­sex­u­al mar­riage.” He shakes his head in sor­row, think­ing of Swe­den, which Chris­t­ian con­ser­v­a­tives believe has been made by “social engi­neer­ing” into an out­er ring of hell. “You’ll know ’em by their fruits,” Brown­back says. He paus­es, and an awk­ward silence fills the room. He was cit­ing scrip­ture — Matthew 7:16 — but he just called gay Swedes “fruits.”

Homo­sex­u­al­i­ty may not be sanc­tioned by the Bible, but slav­ery is — by Old and New Tes­ta­ments alike. Brown­back thinks slav­ery is wrong, of course, but the Bible nev­er is. How does he square the two? “I’ve won­dered on that very issue,” he says. He ten­ta­tive­ly sug­gests that the Bible views slav­ery as a “per­son-to-per­son rela­tion­ship,” some­thing to be worked out beyond the intru­sion of gov­ern­ment. But he quick­ly aban­dons the argu­ment; call­ing slav­ery a per­son­al choice, after all, is awk­ward for a man who often com­pares slav­ery to abor­tion.

* * *

Although Brown­back con­vert­ed to Catholi­cism in 2002 through Opus Dei, an ultra­ortho­dox order that, like the Fel­low­ship, spe­cial­izes in cul­ti­vat­ing the rich and pow­er­ful, the source of much of his reli­gious and polit­i­cal think­ing is Charles Col­son, the for­mer Nixon aide who served sev­en months in prison for his attempt to cov­er up Water­gate. A “key fig­ure,” says Brown­back, in the pow­er struc­ture of Chris­t­ian Wash­ing­ton, Col­son is wide­ly acknowl­edged as the Chris­t­ian right’s lead­ing intel­lec­tu­al. He is the archi­tect behind faith-based ini­tia­tives, the nego­tia­tor who forged the Catholic-evan­gel­i­cal uni­ty known as co-bel­ligeren­cy, and the man who drove sex­u­al moral­i­ty to the top of the move­men­t’s agen­da.

“When I came to the Sen­ate,” says Brown­back, “I sought him out. I had been lis­ten­ing to his thoughts for years, and want­ed to get to know him some.”

The admi­ra­tion is mutu­al. Col­son, a pow­er­ful mem­ber of the Fel­low­ship, spot­ted Brown­back as promis­ing mate­r­i­al not long after he joined the group’s cell for fresh­man Repub­li­cans. At the time, Col­son was hold­ing class­es on “bib­li­cal world­view” for lead­ers on Capi­tol Hill, and Brown­back became a prize pupil. Col­son taught that abor­tion is only a “thresh­old” issue, a wedge with which to intro­duce fun­da­men­tal­ism into every ques­tion. The two men soon grew close, and began coor­di­nat­ing their efforts: Col­son pro­vides the strat­e­gy, and Brown­back trans­lates it into pol­i­cy. “Sam has been at the meet­ings I called, and I’ve been at the meet­ings he called,” Col­son says.

Col­son’s most admirable work is Prison Fel­low­ship, a min­istry that offers coun­sel­ing and “world­view train­ing” to pris­on­ers around the world. Many of his pro­grams receive fed­er­al fund­ing, and Brown­back is spon­sor­ing a bill that would make it eas­i­er for more gov­ern­ment dol­lars to go to faith-based pro­grams such as Col­son’s. Social sci­en­tists debate whether such pro­grams work, but politi­cians con­sid­er them unde­ni­able evi­dence of the exis­tence of com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­vatism.

And yet com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­vatism, as Col­son con­ceives it and Brown­back imple­ments it, is strik­ing­ly sim­i­lar to plain old author­i­tar­i­an con­ser­vatism. In place of lib­er­a­tion, it offers as an ide­al what Col­son calls “bib­li­cal obe­di­ence” and what Brown­back terms “sub­mis­sion.” The con­cept is derived from Romans 13, the scrip­ture by which Brown­back and Col­son under­stand their pow­er as God-giv­en: “Whoso­ev­er there­fore resisteth the pow­er, resisteth the ordi­nance of God: and they that resist shall receive to them­selves damna­tion.”

To Brown­back, the verse is not dic­ta­to­r­i­al — it’s sim­ply one of the demands of spir­i­tu­al war, the “world­wide spir­i­tu­al offen­sive” that the Fel­low­ship declared a half-cen­tu­ry ago. “There’s prob­a­bly a high­er lev­el of Chris­tians being per­se­cut­ed dur­ing the last ten, twen­ty years than . . . through­out human his­to­ry,” Brown­back once declared on Col­son’s radio show. Give
n to fram­ing his own faith in terms of bat­tles, he believes that sec­u­lar­ists and Mus­lims are fight­ing a world­wide war against Chris­tians — some­times in con­cert. “Reli­gious free­dom” is one of his top pri­or­i­ties, and secur­ing it may require force. He’s spon­sored leg­is­la­tion that could lead to “regime change” in Iran, and has pro­posed send­ing com­bat troops to the Philip­pines, where Islam­ic rebels killed a Kansas mis­sion­ary.

Brown­back does­n’t demand that every­one believe in his God — only that they bow down before Him. Part holy war­rior, part holy fool, he preach­es an odd mix of the­o­log­i­cal naivete and diplo­mat­ic savvy. The faith he wields in the pub­lic square is blunt, heavy, unsub­tle; brass knuck­les of the spir­it. But the reli­gion of his heart is that of the woman whose exam­ple led him deep into ortho­doxy: Moth­er Tere­sa — it is a kiss for the dying. He sees no ten­sion between his intol­er­ance and his ten­der­ness. Indeed, their suc­cess­ful rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in his polit­i­cal self is the mir­a­cle at the heart of the new fun­da­men­tal­ism, the fusion of hell­fire and Hall­mark.

“I have seen him weep,” growls Col­son, anoint­ing Brown­back with his high­est praise. Such are the new Amer­i­can cru­saders: tear-streaked strong men hud­dling togeth­er to talk about their feel­ings before they march forth, their sen­ti­men­tal faith sharp­ened and their man-feel­ings hard­ened into “nat­ur­al law.” They are God’s promise keep­ers, His defend­ers of mar­riage, His knights of the fetal cit­i­zen. They are the select few who embody the para­dox­i­cal love promised by Christ when he declares — in Matthew 10:34 — “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Stand­ing on his back porch in Tope­ka, Brown­back looks down into a dark patch of hedge trees, a gnarled hard­wood that’s near­ly unsplit­table. The same trees grow on the 1,400 acres that sur­round Brown­back­’s child­hood home in Park­er; not much else remains. When the sen­a­tor was a boy, there were eleven fam­i­lies liv­ing on the land. Now there are only the Brown­backs and a friend from high school who lives rent-free in one of the emp­ty hous­es. When the friend moves on, Brown­back­’s father plans to tear the house down. The rest of the homes are already tak­ing care of them­selves, slow­ly crum­bling into the prairie. The world Brown­back grew up in has van­ished.

In its place, Brown­back imag­ines anoth­er one. Stand­ing on his porch, he thinks back to the days before the Civ­il War, when his home state was known as Bloody Kansas and John Brown fought for free­dom with an ax. “A ter­ror­ist,” con­cedes Brown­back, care­ful not to offend his South­ern sup­port­ers, but also a wise man. When Brown was in jail await­ing exe­cu­tion, a vis­i­tor told the abo­li­tion­ist that he was crazy.

“I’m not the one who has 4 mil­lion peo­ple in bondage,” Brown­back intones, recall­ing Brown’s response. “I, sir, think you are crazy.”

This is anoth­er of Brown­back­’s para­bles. In place of 4 mil­lion slaves, he thinks of uncount­able unborn babies, of all the per­se­cut­ed Chris­tians — a nation with­in a nation, await­ing Brown­back­’s lib­er­a­tion. Brown­back, sir, thinks that sec­u­lar Amer­i­ca is crazy.

The sen­a­tor stares, his face gen­tle but unsmil­ing.

He isn’t jok­ing.



24 comments for “God’s Senator”

  1. To pro­vide an updat­ed answer to the ques­tion posed in the sub­ti­tle “Who would Jesus vote for?”, the answer for 2012 will be hum­ble small busi­ness­man Mitt Rom­ney (bar­ring a con­tin­u­ance of “Newt-men­tum”). More specif­i­cal­ly, Jesus would be super psy­ched about Mit­t’s pro­pos­al to pri­va­tize vet­er­ans’ health care:

    “Some­times you won­der, would there be some­way to intro­duce some pri­vate sec­tor com­pe­ti­tion, some­body else that could come in and say, you know, each sol­dier gets X thou­sand dol­lars attrib­uted to them and then they can choose whether they want to go on the gov­ern­ment sys­tem or the pri­vate sys­tem and then it fol­lows them, like what hap­pens with schools in Flori­da where they have a vouch­er that fol­lows them. Who knows.”

    Oh, some­one knows Mitt, and his gen­tle face is smil­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 11, 2011, 8:00 pm
  2. I stand cor­rect­ed!

    Cain says God per­suad­ed him to run for pres­i­dent

    By RAY HENRY — Asso­ci­at­ed Press | AP – 6 hrs ago

    ATLANTA (AP) — Repub­li­can Her­man Cain said God con­vinced him to enter the race for pres­i­dent, com­par­ing him­self to Moses: “ ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’ ”

    The Geor­gia busi­ness exec­u­tive played up his faith Sat­ur­day after bat­tling sex­u­al harass­ment alle­ga­tions for two weeks, try­ing to shift the con­ver­sa­tion to reli­gion, an issue vital to con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­cans, espe­cial­ly in the South.

    In a speech Sat­ur­day to a nation­al meet­ing of young Repub­li­cans, Cain said the Lord per­suad­ed him after much prayer.

    “That’s when I prayed and prayed and prayed. I’m a man of faith — I had to do a lot of pray­ing for this one, more pray­ing than I’ve ever done before in my life,” Cain said. “And when I final­ly real­ized that it was God say­ing that this is what I need­ed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’ ”

    Once he made the deci­sion, Cain said, he did not look back.

    Four women have now accused Cain of sex­u­al­ly harass­ing them when he led the Nation­al Restau­rant Asso­ci­a­tion more than a decade ago. Cain, who has denied wrong­do­ing, was silent about the alle­ga­tions and did not take reporters’ ques­tions.

    Cain isn’t the first to say God prod­ded him toward a cam­paign. Texas Gov. Rick Per­ry’s wife, Ani­ta, has said she felt God was speak­ing to her about the race, adding that her hus­band need­ed to see a “burn­ing bush,” a Bib­li­cal ref­er­ence to God’s first appear­ance to Moses.


    God cer­tain­ly works in mys­te­ri­ous ways...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 12, 2011, 9:50 pm
  3. Too...many...choic­es...for...baby...Jeebus. He’s just a baby!

    Dur­ing a town hall meet­ing in Ottumwa, Iowa Fri­day after­noon, Rick San­to­rum argued that Amer­i­cans receive too many gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits and ought to “suf­fer” in the Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion. If “you’re low­er income, you can qual­i­fy for Med­ic­aid, you can qual­i­fy for food stamps, you can qual­i­fy for hous­ing assis­tance,” San­to­rum com­plained, before adding, “suf­fer­ing is part of life and it’s not a bad thing, it is an essen­tial thing in life.” How­ev­er, almost all states have cur­tailed their aid pro­grams, just as the eco­nom­ic down­turn is expand­ing the pool of eli­gi­ble appli­cants

    Near the end of the linked video God’s new favorite Sen­a­tor explains that there’s both the tan­gi­ble types of suf­fer­ing (lack of food, shel­ter, etc), and the intan­gi­ble kind of suf­fer­ing like a lack of dig­ni­ty. So any of you starving/dying folks, just know that he’s suf­fer­ing too. It’s a good thing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 21, 2011, 8:46 am
  4. Newt­men­tum? :

    Gin­grich Says Child Labor Laws Should Be Rolled Back So Kids Can Be Jan­i­tors

    David Teich Novem­ber 21, 2011, 11:07 AM

    Newt Gingrich’s desire to roll back Social Secu­ri­ty is no secret. But appar­ent­ly his quest to tack­le decades-old New Deal poli­cies doesn’t stop there.

    Now Gin­grich is tak­ing on an issue he says “no lib­er­al wants to deal with” — eco­nom­i­cal­ly suf­fo­cat­ing child labor laws.

    Dur­ing a Har­vard address on Fri­day, Gin­grich blamed child labor restric­tions for doing “more to cre­ate income inequal­i­ty in the Unit­ed States than any oth­er sin­gle pol­i­cy.” “It is trag­ic what we do in the poor­est neigh­bor­hoods, entrap­ping chil­dren in…child laws, which are tru­ly stu­pid,” said Gin­grich.

    Most of these schools ought to get rid of the union­ized jan­i­tors, have one mas­ter jan­i­tor and pay local stu­dents to take care of the school,” he added. “The kids would actu­al­ly do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of ris­ing.

    No, it’s just plain old God­men­tum, and Newt’s got it!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 21, 2011, 8:55 am
  5. I bet the GOP pri­ma­ry vot­ers might like to learn more about this Catholic-based legal sys­tem Newt’s talked about:

    Gin­grich: Ave Maria to help Catholic-based legal sys­tem replace left, sec­u­lar judi­cial branch

    Post­ed Novem­ber 19, 2010 at 11:46 p.m.

    NAPLES — For­mer Speak­er of the House Newt Gin­grich spoke of the impor­tance Ave Maria School of Law will have in replac­ing the cur­rent lib­er­al, sec­u­lar legal sys­tem dur­ing the law school’s 10th Anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion held at the Naples Ritz Carl­ton Beach Resort on Fri­day night.

    The poten­tial 2012 pres­i­den­tial hope­ful con­vert­ed to Roman Catholi­cism in 2009, which is the same year the law school relo­cat­ed from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Naples.

    The law school’s stu­dents would be pre­pared to write the laws, defend the laws and defeat the left, Gin­grich said. The mod­ern, sec­u­lar law, he said, can be seen every few min­utes on TV.

    “Ads on tele­vi­sion, basi­cal­ly say ‘do you know some­body with mon­ey we could mug togeth­er?’ …Call…’” Gringrich said.

    This school mat­ters, he said, by replac­ing the “neu­tral tech­nol­o­gy for the redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth” with a moral­ly-based legal sys­tem.


    He’s a lit­tle vague on the details about this new “moral­ly-based legal sys­tem” but I’m pret­ty sure at least piz­za will still be legal.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 28, 2011, 9:51 am
  6. This David Bar­ton fel­low must be the guy Newt calls when his his­to­ri­an work requires a Con­sti­tu­tion­al inter­pre­tion:

    Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 08:44 AM PST
    Gin­grich in Video Which Claims Con­sti­tu­tion Based on Old Tes­ta­ment

    by Trout­fish­ing­Fol­low

    Does Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and For­mer Speak­er of the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Newt Gin­grich believe that the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion is based on the Old Tes­ta­ment?

    On Sep­tem­ber 19, 2011, at an Orlan­do, Flori­da hotel, Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls Newt Gin­grich and Rick Per­ry gath­ered, along with hun­dreds of pas­tors brought in for a secre­tive “Pas­tors Pol­i­cy Brief­ing” meet­ing (which exclud­ed the press), and lis­tened as Chris­t­ian his­to­ry revi­sion­ist David Bar­ton, for­mer Vice Chair of the Texas GOP, explained (link to video clip of Bar­ton) that key con­cepts in the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion were derived from Old Tes­ta­ment scrip­ture, includ­ing from the books of Deuteron­o­my and Leviti­cus.

    Footage from Gin­grich’s and Bar­ton’s talks at the Sep­tem­ber 19th meet­ing is now being show­cased in a 2‑hour long video that’s being screened in church­es across Amer­i­ca, titled “One Nation Under God”.

    In his Sep­tem­ber 19th talk fea­tured in the “One Nation Under God” video, David Bar­ton declares that the authors of the Con­sti­tu­tion “gave us the First Amend­ment, not because it guar­an­tees sep­a­ra­tion of church and state — there’s no such thing”. As Bar­ton went on to explain,

    “Strik­ing­ly, if you look through that doc­u­ment, it is amaz­ing how many Bib­li­cal claus­es appear in Con­sti­tu­tion­al claus­es. Bib­li­cal vers­es and phras­es — you’ll find them through­out — so many con­cepts, the found­ing fathers point­ed to bible vers­es as the source of those con­cepts. See, today we’re “oh no, the gov­ern­men­t’s sec­u­lar” — that’s that com­part­men­tal­iza­tion again. They nev­er believed it was sec­u­lar. They looked to God to be includ­ed in every­thing they did.

    While Bar­ton nar­rates, the video shows the pair­ing of impor­tant claus­es in the Con­sti­tu­tion with their alleged sources in scrip­ture from the Bible’s books of Jere­mi­ah, Isa­iah, Ezra, Exo­dus, Deuteron­o­my and Leviti­cus. The Book of Leviti­cus pre­scribes ston­ing as a cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment for a range of trans­gres­sions includ­ing blas­phe­my and curs­ing, adul­tery, and witch­craft.

    Gin­grich has made numer­ous appear­ances at events along­side David Bar­ton, head of the non­prof­it group Wall­builders and author of numer­ous works of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist his­to­ry revi­sion­ism, and Gin­grich has pledged to seek Bar­ton’s advice dur­ing his 2012 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

    “One Nation Under God”, which heav­i­ly pro­motes Newt Gin­grich as the can­di­date who can best enable Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist vot­ers “retake” Amer­i­ca in the 2012 elec­tion, is con­nect­ed to pas­tor David Lane’s ongo­ing Renew­al Project/Pastors Pol­i­cy Brief­ing events being held over the past sev­er­al years in swing states includ­ing in Iowa, that trace back to efforts by Lane to ral­ly pas­tors behind Rick Per­ry in Texas. An April 2, 2011 New York Times sto­ry char­ac­ter­ized Lane’s events as a “broad effort to revi­tal­ize the reli­gious right.”

    “One Nation Under God” is being deployed in a well-fund­ed and orga­nized nation­al cam­paign, orches­trat­ed by an enti­ty, whose efforts seem to inter­lock with Lane’s Renew­al Project events, called Unit­ed in Purpose/Champion The Vote that aims to reg­is­ter and get to the polls, mil­lions of new con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers–with Gin­grich as the cur­rent ben­e­fi­cia­ry. The effort includes the tar­get­ing of African-Amer­i­can and His­pan­ic evan­gel­i­cals.


    Newt Gin­grich and the New Apos­tolic Ref­or­ma­tion

    As report­ed by the LA Times, one of the major finan­cial back­ers of the Cham­pi­on The Vote, Unit­ed In Prayer ini­tia­tive is tech boom entre­pre­neur Ken Eldred, whose sev­er­al non­prof­it foun­da­tions are endowed with upwards of $50 mil­lion dol­lars. In his 2008 book Domin­ion! How King­dom Action Can Trans­form The World, C. Peter Wag­n­er iden­ti­fies Eldred as a “mar­ket­place apos­tle” who has pro­vid­ed “what might prove to be our most viable guide­lines for a new strat­e­gy of social trans­for­ma­tion.”

    Accord­ing to the 990 tax forms of his sev­er­al “Liv­ing Stones” foun­da­tions, Ken Eldred has financed sev­er­al aspects of Wag­n­er’s move­ment includ­ing the work of apos­tle George Otis Jr., whose Trans­for­ma­tion videos show evan­gel­i­cal believ­ers achiev­ing dom­i­nance over cities, towns, and geo­graph­ic areas by dri­ving away demon spir­its and hound­ing out or neu­tral­iz­ing ide­o­log­i­cal foes, often por­trayed as witch­es and war­locks.

    In Sep­tem­ber 2008, short­ly before the 2008 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, footage sur­faced show­ing a star from Otis, Jr.‘s first Trans­for­ma­tion video, Kenyan evan­ge­list Thomas Muthee, bless­ing and anoint­ing Sarah Palin against “every form of witch­craft.”


    Oh my, so it sounds like Newt likes to pal around with Joel’s Army. I won­der how promi­nent evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers feel about Newt’s recent con­ver­sion to Catholi­cism:

    MATTHEWS: A lot of peo­ple I know are hap­pi­ly mar­ried for the sec­ond
    time, some­times the third time.

    In fact, I bumped into an old friend of mine the oth­er day. He‘s on
    his forth. I‘m not here to judge. I‘m not a min­is­ter. I‘m not a man of
    the cloth. In fact, I don‘t real­ly judge peo­ple myself on that. I think
    peo­ple should seek hap­pi­ness on Earth in a rea­son­able way and in a moral

    OK. Now, Newt Gin­grich, three times mar­ried, Opus Dei, right-wing
    Catholic, is he OK with you? Are you OK with him?

    PERKINS: You know, this issue came up when he was kind of toy­ing with
    the idea of run­ning four years ago. And he addressed those issues.

    And I absolute­ly do agree he has seri­ous prob­lems with women,
    con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers. I think they will give some­body one pass, but I do
    think he has a dif­fi­cul­ty that he may not be able to over­come. But this is
    what he has done in the debates. He has not been out front and won every
    debate, but he‘s kind of had this — every time he‘s said some­thing, it‘s
    been pret­ty good.

    I mean, he‘s a pret­ty smart guy.

    MATTHEWS: I know that.

    PERKINS: And he has kind of been a senior states­man and he‘s brought
    some clar­i­ty to these debates. So I think peo­ple are giv­ing him a sec­ond


    Well, ok, his Opus Dei affil­i­a­tion does­n’t seem to be a prob­lem with folks like Tony Perkins. And, as Tony point­ed out, he’s brought a lot of clar­i­ty to the debates.

    Although, giv­en these friends of his, I have a lot more ques­tions now. Like, since he’s a mem­ber of a far-right Catholic cult, but pals around with far-right Evan­gel­i­cals, which the­o­log­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tion wins? For instance, since his evan­gel­i­cal His­to­ri­an friend David Bar­ton appears to oppose week­ends and over­time laws, how will this jive with Newt’s envi­sioned Opus Dei Catholic-based legal sys­tem (I’m guess­ing he’ll find a way make it work).

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 28, 2011, 8:38 pm
  7. Ok, I think we’ve final­ly found God’s Sen­a­tor.

    San­to­rum: ‘Sci­ence Should Get Out Of Pol­i­tics’

    Yep, def­i­nite­ly God’s Sen­a­tor. It’s a pow­er­ful, almost sur­re­al, state­ment too. Or maybe “hyper­re­al” is a bet­ter descrip­tion.

    Oh Ricky, may your sto­ry nev­er end.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 9, 2011, 8:05 pm
  8. @Pterrafractyl: I seri­ous­ly hope this guy does NOT win the GOP nom­i­na­tion next year, the oth­ers suck real­ly bad as it is.

    Posted by Steven l. | December 10, 2011, 8:50 am
  9. @Steven L.: I would­n’t wor­ry about ol’ Ricky, although I could see him as an Ashcroft-like cab­i­net pick some­day. Unfor­tu­nate­ly his polit­i­cal career, like his cur­rent cam­paign, seems to have joined the ranks of the undead. We haven’t seen the last of the San­to­rum.

    Newt, on the oth­er hand, I would be more wor­ried about, although it looks like he may have peaked. In a way, it’s too bad, because I would be grim­ly curi­ous to see how recep­tive the pub­lic would be to Newt’s new “best of three” form of Con­sti­tu­tion rule:

    Decem­ber 18, 2011 12:45 PM
    Quote of the Day

    By Steve Benen

    At this week’s debate for Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, Newt Gin­grich empha­sized one of his favorite sub­jects: his dis­gust for the fed­er­al judi­cia­ry. The dis­graced for­mer House Speak­er warned of “an upris­ing” against the courts, adding that he’s “pre­pared to take on the judi­cia­ry” unless fed­er­al courts start issu­ing rul­ings he agrees with. He went on to say he under­stands these issues “bet­ter than lawyers,” because he’s “a his­to­ri­an.”

    Yes­ter­day, Gin­grich host­ed a con­fer­ence call with reporters and went even fur­ther, sketch­ing out his vision for pol­i­cy­mak­ers lit­er­al­ly ignor­ing fed­er­al court rul­ings. Ref­er­enc­ing Supreme Court find­ings on the han­dling of sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist detainees, for exam­ple, Gin­grich said, “A com­man­der in chief could sim­ply issue instruc­tions to ignore it, and say it’s null and void and I do not accept it because it infringes on my duties as com­man­der in chief to pro­tect the coun­try.”

    Gin­grich went on to describe “the rule of two of three” — a made-up rule with no foun­da­tion in Amer­i­can law — in which two branch­es of gov­ern­ment could out-vote the oth­er one.

    He wasn’t kid­ding, by the way.

    This led CBS’s Bob Schi­ef­fer to ask Gin­grich a good ques­tion on “Face the Nation” this morn­ing.

    SCHIEFFER: One of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, that Con­gress should sub­poe­na the judge and bring him before Con­gress and hold a con­gres­sion­al hear­ing … how would you enforce that? Would you send the Capi­tol Police down to arrest him?

    GINGRICH: Sure. If you had to. Or you’d instruct the Jus­tice Depart­ment to send a U.S. Mar­shal.

    Just so we’re clear, this week, a lead­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­date artic­u­lat­ed his belief that, if elect­ed, he might (1) elim­i­nate courts he doesn’t like; (2) ignore court rul­ings he doesn’t like; and (3) take judges into cus­tody if he dis­ap­proves of their legal analy­ses.


    So where did Newt come up with his nov­el notions of con­sti­tu­tion orig­i­nal intent? Let’s just call it divine inspi­ra­tion:


    He said he devel­oped his pro­pos­als after the Ninth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals in 2002 ruled that recit­ing phrase “one nation, under God” in the Pledge of Alliance in pub­lic schools infringed on the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state.

    I was frankly just fed up with elit­ist judges impos­ing sec­u­lar­ism on the coun­try and basi­cal­ly fun­da­men­tal­ly chang­ing the Amer­i­can Con­sti­tu­tion,” Gin­grich said. “The more it was clear to me that you have a judi­cial psy­chol­o­gy run amok, and there has to be some method of bring­ing bal­ance back to the three branch­es.”

    God’s lil’ cryp­to-fas­cist, that’s our Newt­ster!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 18, 2011, 4:47 pm
  10. Well this is a bit unex­pect­ed. God’s pick just might be Ron Paul:

    Death Penal­ty For Gays: Ron Paul Courts The Reli­gious Fringe In Iowa

    Pema Levy & Ben­jy Sar­lin Decem­ber 28, 2011, 3:32 PM

    Ron Paul has faced a tor­rent of crit­i­cism in recent weeks over newslet­ters print­ed in his name dur­ing the 1980s and 1990s which con­tained racist, anti-semit­ic, and homo­pho­bic con­tent. He is also on the hook for accept­ing the sup­port of fringe right-wing groups. While Paul dis­miss­es these con­cerns, his cam­paign seems to have no prob­lem work­ing with and enjoy­ing the sup­port of anti-gay extrem­ists, includ­ing one sup­port­er who has called for the imple­men­ta­tion of the death penal­ty for homo­sex­u­al behav­ior.

    Paul’s Iowa chair, Drew Ivers, recent­ly tout­ed the endorse­ment of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pas­tor at the Domin­ion Covenant Church in Nebras­ka who also draws mem­bers from Iowa, putting out a press release prais­ing “the enlight­en­ing state­ments he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to gov­ern­ment is con­sis­tent with Chris­t­ian beliefs.” But Kayser’s views on homo­sex­u­al­i­ty go way beyond the bounds of typ­i­cal anti-gay evan­gel­i­cal pol­i­tics and into the vio­lent fringe: he recent­ly authored a paper argu­ing for crim­i­nal­iz­ing homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and even advo­cat­ed impos­ing the death penal­ty against offend­ers based on his read­ing of Bib­li­cal law.

    “Dif­fi­cul­ty in imple­ment­ing Bib­li­cal law does not make non-Bib­li­cal penol­o­gy just,” he argued. “But as we have seen, while many homo­sex­u­als would be exe­cut­ed, the threat of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment can be restora­tive. Bib­li­cal law would rec­og­nize as a mat­ter of jus­tice that even if this law could be enforced today, homo­sex­u­als could not be pros­e­cut­ed for some­thing that was done before.”

    Reached by phone, Kayser con­firmed to TPM that he believed in rein­stat­ing Bib­li­cal pun­ish­ments for homo­sex­u­als — includ­ing the death penal­ty — even if he didn’t see much hope for it hap­pen­ing any­time soon. While he said he and Paul dis­agree on gay rights, not­ing that Paul recent­ly vot­ed for repeal­ing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he sup­port­ed the cam­paign because he believed Paul’s fed­er­al­ist take on the Con­sti­tu­tion would allow states more lat­i­tude to imple­ment fun­da­men­tal­ist law. Espe­cial­ly since under Kayser’s own inter­pre­ta­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion there is no sep­a­ra­tion of Church and State.

    Under a Ron Paul pres­i­den­cy, states would be freed up to not have polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness imposed on them, but obvi­ous­ly some state would fol­low what’s polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect,” he said. “What he’s try­ing to do, whether he agrees with the Constitution’s posi­tion or not, is restrict him­self to the Con­sti­tu­tion. That is some­thing I very much appre­ci­ate.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 28, 2011, 7:24 pm
  11. The NY Times has a piece on Fos­ter Friess, the Koch-bud­dy bil­lion­aire back­ing Rick San­to­rum (He’s was smit­ten with Mit­tens four years ago, but Ricky wins its this time). God’s king-mak­ers have deep pock­ets:

    A Wealthy Backer Likes the Odds on San­to­rum
    Pub­lished: Feb­ru­ary 8, 2012

    Mitt Rom­ney and Fos­ter Friess, a wealthy donor to con­ser­v­a­tive caus­es, were walk­ing out of an event togeth­er a few months ago when Mr. Friess broke the news: After back­ing Mr. Rom­ney for pres­i­dent four years ago, he was get­ting behind Rick San­to­rum this time around.

    “He couldn’t quite fig­ure out why Rick was even both­er­ing to go through the effort,” Mr. Friess recalled in an inter­view on Wednes­day. “I mean, I don’t mean to fault him for say­ing, ‘Why take Rick seri­ous­ly?’ Nobody took Rick seri­ous­ly.”

    Many more Repub­li­cans are tak­ing Mr. San­to­rum seri­ous­ly now, thanks to his vic­to­ries in Min­neso­ta, Mis­souri and Col­orado on Tues­day — and per­haps none more than Mr. Rom­ney, for whom Mr. Santorum’s unex­pect­ed rise pos­es anoth­er threat from the right.

    Few peo­ple played a more piv­otal role in Tuesday’s turn of events than Mr. Friess. An investor who made mil­lions in mutu­al funds and now lives in Wyoming, he is the chief backer of a “super PAC” that has helped keep Mr. Santorum’s can­di­da­cy alive by run­ning tele­vi­sion adver­tise­ments on his behalf.

    His role as out­side fun­der — one that Mr. Friess indi­cat­ed he would con­tin­ue to play in the con­tests ahead — esca­lates the bat­tle among a few dozen wealthy Repub­li­cans to influ­ence their party’s choice of a pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

    They are exploit­ing changes to cam­paign laws and reg­u­la­tions that have allowed wealthy indi­vid­u­als and busi­ness­es to pool unlim­it­ed con­tri­bu­tions into super PACs that in turn have inun­dat­ed the air­waves with neg­a­tive adver­tise­ments.

    Mr. Friess’s cho­sen out­let, called the Red, White and Blue Fund, pro­vid­ed crit­i­cal sup­port for Mr. San­to­rum as he suc­cess­ful­ly sought to resus­ci­tate his cam­paign with vic­to­ries in Tuesday’s con­tests. At a time when Mr. San­to­rum could not afford to pay for a sin­gle com­mer­cial of his own, the Red, White and Blue Fund focused in par­tic­u­lar on Min­neso­ta, where the super PAC sup­port­ing Mr. Rom­ney, Restore Our Future, broad­cast a last-minute blitz of adver­tis­ing against him, accord­ing to an analy­sis from Kan­tar Media/CMAG.


    Mr. Friess’s per­son­al Web site calls him “The Man Atop the Horse”; his father was a horse and cat­tle trad­er. He is rel­a­tive­ly rare among the major back­ers of super PACs for his close asso­ci­a­tion with the reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. His Web site quotes Scrip­ture, and he often says that God is “the chair­man of my board.”

    He is also rare for his will­ing­ness to speak open­ly about his polit­i­cal giv­ing, a break from Mr. Adel­son, who has not spo­ken pub­licly about his dona­tions of $10 mil­lion, with his wife, to the super PAC sup­port­ing Mr. Gin­grich.

    “There are not many donors who are real­ly will­ing to be out there as such an advo­cate,” said the founder of Red, White and Blue, Nick Ryan. “It takes a lit­tle bit of the cloak and dag­ger out of the whole thing.”


    Mr. Friess, 71, said that he liked Mr. San­to­rum for his faith, but that he also believed he was the best can­di­date to com­pete with Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, whom he blamed for exces­sive gov­ern­ment. He said he came to know Mr. San­to­rum sev­er­al years ago and par­tic­u­lar­ly approved of his oppo­si­tion to abor­tion rights and his hawk­ish for­eign pol­i­cy stance.


    Like donors to rival super PACs, Mr. Friess ranks among the country’s lead­ing patrons of Repub­li­can and con­ser­v­a­tive caus­es. He has giv­en hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to the Repub­li­can Par­ty and can­di­dates in recent years, includ­ing to Mr. Santorum’s two chief rivals for the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, Mr. Rom­ney and Mr. Gin­grich, to whom Mr. Friess donat­ed last spring. Late last year, Mr. Friess gave $100,000 to Gov. Scott Walk­er of Wis­con­sin to help fend off a Demo­c­ra­t­ic-led recall effort.

    He said dur­ing the inter­view Wednes­day that he had spo­ken to Mr. Adel­son recent­ly. And he has also been an ally of the bil­lion­aire Koch broth­ers, per­haps the lead­ing financiers of con­ser­v­a­tive caus­es in the nation. He has attend­ed the Kochs’ semi­an­nu­al retreats for major donors, includ­ing the most recent one, held late last month at a resort in Cal­i­for­nia, and like them has donat­ed to Tea Par­ty-inspired can­di­dates and groups, includ­ing the Tea Par­ty Express polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee.


    “Well, I think that if he does that it is so excit­ing,” he said, “because it final­ly rec­og­nizes that Rick San­to­rum is a threat.”

    To make mat­ters worse, take a look at what Fos­ter specif­i­cal­ly thinks res­onates with the “pro-Israel” block of Evan­gel­i­cal and Catholic con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers in Rick “Let’s bomb Iran” San­to­rum’s pol­i­cy port­fo­lio:

    Friess said he doesn’t coun­sel his cho­sen can­di­date on strat­e­gy, but he does think San­to­rum can woo the “pro-Israel vot­ing bloc,” Catholic and Evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers.

    San­to­rum is con­stant­ly men­tion­ing on the stump the dan­gers of a nuclear Iran and how the coun­try would nev­er be allowed to devel­op a nuclear weapon if he were pres­i­dent, but Friess specif­i­cal­ly men­tioned his work on both Iran- and Syr­ia-relat­ed issues as rea­sons he would do well with vot­ers that are inter­est­ed in a more hawk­ish and con­ser­v­a­tive Israel stance.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 8, 2012, 10:52 pm
  12. Here’s a sto­ry that’s impres­sive in how it’s able to encap­su­late so much of what has gone awry in a soci­ety:

    Dug­gar Says Over­pop­u­la­tion Is a Lie & More Con­tro­ver­sies
    Mar 30, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
    Michelle Dug­gar, of 19 Kids and Count­ing, claims the Earth’s over­pop­u­la­tion prob­lem is a “lie.” See 8 (and count­ing!) of the biggest debates involv­ing reality-TV’s mega-brood.

    Michelle Claims Over­pop­u­la­tion Is ‘a Lie’

    Did you know that if every sin­gle human being in the world stood shoul­der-to-shoul­der they would fit with­in the city lim­its of Jack­sonville, Fla.? That’s the truth about over­pop­u­la­tion, accord­ing to Michelle Dug­gar, the baby-pop­ping matri­arch of TLC’s 19 Kids and Count­ing. In a Web inter­view with the Chris­t­ian Broad­cast­ing Net­work, Dug­gar answered a ques­tion about whether her over­size fam­i­ly hurts the envi­ron­ment by dis­put­ing the idea of over­pop­u­la­tion entire­ly. “First off, the idea of over­pop­u­la­tion is not accu­rate,” Dug­gar said before propos­ing her the­o­ry about Jacksonville’s abil­i­ty to accom­mo­date 7 bil­lion peo­ple. In fact, she point­ed out, the world is in need of more babies. “We’ve had oth­er coun­tries com­ing to our doorstep, ask­ing us to please let their peo­ple know that they need to have more chil­dren,” she said. “They are see­ing that their death rates are out­num­ber­ing their birth rates and they’re in cri­sis.”

    Cam­paign­ing for Rick San­to­rum

    Giv­en their staunch­ly anti-abor­tion beliefs, it per­haps isn’t sur­pris­ing that the Dug­gars sup­port Rick San­to­rum-they did, how­ev­er, raise a few eye­brows by pack­ing up their things and hit­ting the road to cam­paign with him. “He is the true con­ser­v­a­tive in the race,” Michelle has told The Dai­ly Beast. “Rick San­to­rum has the fam­i­ly val­ues that we hold dear in our hearts.” The Dug­gars have even record­ed a “19 Rea­sons and Count­ing to Vote for Rick San­to­rum” video, in which they get the entire fam­i­ly involved, even man­ag­ing to get their sec­ond-youngest (who sounds like she’s still very new at talk­ing) to utter, “Rick San­to­rum for pres­i­dent!”


    Dug­gar Fam­i­ly Clones? The Bate­ses

    For any­one who thought the Dug­gars were a sin­gu­lar­ly bizarre fam­i­ly, meet the Bate­ses. As of Feb­ru­ary, they’re now tied with the Dug­gars as America’s largest fam­i­ly. The Ten­nessee brood has also suf­fered through two mis­car­riages; they also don’t believe in birth con­trol; they also sup­port Rick San­to­rum and-you guessed it-they also just scored their own TLC real­i­ty show. You might think the two fam­i­lies are rivals, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The two fam­i­lies have met and (so far) have noth­ing but nice things to say about each oth­er. “The Dug­gars are some of the kind­est-heart­ed peo­ple,” Gil Bates (patri­arch of the Bates fam­i­ly) said. “We’re all in a race against time to fin­ish what­ev­er work God has for us in the time we have left.”

    So there’s not one, but two, TLC shows that cel­e­brate the lives of fam­i­lies with 19 chil­dren and a dis­tinct patri­ar­chal Chris­t­ian world­view. That some great expo­sure for the “Quiv­er­full” move­ment since both fam­i­lies are also liv­ing bill­boards for the non-denom­i­na­tion­al patri­ar­chal anti-fem­i­nist Chris­tian­ist move­ment that arose in the last cou­ple of decades. The Chris­t­ian authors that cre­at­ed the sys­tem of “Bib­li­cal wom­an­hood” aslo push a “contraception=abortion” the­o­log­i­cal argue­ment that’s becoue part of the present day polit­i­cal sub­text in sud­den con­tra­cep­tion ker­fuf­fle in the US’s pres­i­den­tial race. The term “Quiv­er­full” is derived from the the­o­log­i­cal ima­gry of each child as an arrow in the par­en­t’s quiv­ers as part of some sort of spir­i­tu­al arms race. And as a Domin­ion­ist movement(ie. the spir­i­tu­al arms race includes a man­date to “sub­due” the earth and phys­i­cal­ly take over and rule soci­ety), the Quiv­er­full move­ment also intends to pro­vide expo­nen­tial­ly grow­ing blocks of vot­ers for the Domin­ion­ist cause:

    Extreme Moth­er­hood
    Mar 16, 2009 8:00 PM EDT
    Under­stand­ing Quiv­er­full, the antifem­i­nist, con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian move­ment that moti­vates pop­u­lar real­i­ty-TV fam­i­lies like the Dug­gars.
    by Kathryn Joyce

    If there is a whole­some coun­ter­point to the gos­sip-rich tra­vails of sin­gle-mom Nadya Sule­man and her 14 chil­dren, it might be Jim Bob and Michelle Dug­gar, who had their 18th child just weeks before the arrival of Sule­man’s octu­plets in Jan­u­ary. The Dug­gar birth was tele­vised on the Arkansas cou­ple’s pop­u­lar TLC real­i­ty show, “17 Kids and Count­ing” (now “18 Kids and Count­ing”). Unlike Sule­man, who was vil­i­fied as the freak­ish, gov­ern­ment-assis­tance-depen­dent “Octo­mom,” the Dug­gars’ abun­dant prog­e­ny often attract admi­ra­tion. Their chil­dren play vio­lin, their pala­tial home is immac­u­late and the fam­i­ly matri­arch is a soft-spo­ken mul­ti­tasker who gen­tly keeps order in her immense house­hold.

    Watch­ing Michelle Dug­gar man­age her Her­culean tasks is addic­tive. We like to mar­vel at the logis­tics of life in over­sized real­i­ty-TV fam­i­lies like the Dug­gars or the par­tic­i­pants of the series “Kids By the Dozen” (also on TLC), which fea­tures fam­i­lies with at least 12 chil­dren each. How do they do all that laun­dry every week? Afford all those gal­lons of milk or cope with a joint birth­day par­ty for 13?

    But there’s one big omis­sion from the on-screen por­tray­al of many of these fam­i­lies: their moti­va­tion. Though the Dug­gars do describe them­selves as con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians, in real­i­ty, they fol­low a belief sys­tem that goes far beyond “Cheap­er by the Dozen” high jinks. It is a pro-life-purist lifestyle known as Quiv­er­full, where women for­go all birth-con­trol options, view­ing con­tra­cep­tion as a form of abor­tion and con­sid­er­ing even nat­ur­al fam­i­ly plan­ning an attempt to con­trol a realm-fer­til­i­ty-that should be entrust­ed to divine prov­i­dence.

    At the heart of this real­i­ty-show depic­tion of “extreme moth­er­hood” is a grow­ing con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian empha­sis on the impor­tance of women sub­mit­ting to their hus­bands and fathers, an antifem­i­nist back­lash that holds that gen­der equal­i­ty is con­trary to God’s law and that wom­en’s high­est call­ing is as wives and “pro­lif­ic” moth­ers.

    Mary Pride, an ear­ly home­school­ing leader whose 1985 book “The Way Home: Beyond Fem­i­nism, Back to Real­i­ty” is a found­ing text of Quiv­er­full, con­vinced many read­ers that reg­u­lat­ing one’s fer­til­i­ty is a slip­pery slope. “Fam­i­ly plan­ning is the moth­er of abor­tion,” she writes. “A gen­er­a­tion had to be indoc­tri­nat­ed in the ide­al of plan­ning chil­dren around per­son­al con­ve­nience before abor­tion could be pop­u­lar.” Instead, Pride and her peers argue, Chris­tians should leave fam­i­ly plan­ning in God’s hands, and become “mater­nal mis­sion­ar­ies”: birthing as many chil­dren as He gives them as both a demon­stra­tion of rad­i­cal faith and obe­di­ence, as well as a plan to effect Chris­t­ian revival in the cul­ture through demo­graph­ic means-that is, by hav­ing more chil­dren than their polit­i­cal oppo­nents.

    Quiv­er­full advo­cates see their lifestyle, and their abun­dant prog­e­ny, as a liv­ing denun­ci­a­tion of what they call “the con­tra­cep­tive men­tal­i­ty”: demon­strat­ing their com­mit­ment to end abor­tion by accept­ing all chil­dren as “unqual­i­fied bless­ings” from God. They often under­score the point by refer­ring to their chil­dren as “bless­ings,” as in their “eight”-or 10, or 12-“blessings at home”: lan­guage that has spilled over into the main­stream among fam­i­lies that do not fol­low the Quiv­er­full con­vic­tion, such as the Gos­selins (of TLC’s “Jon and Kate Plus Eight”), Sule­man and even for­mer vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sarah Palin. It’s this ide­o­log­i­cal ground­ing, tying the Quiv­er­full con­vic­tion to grow­ing anti­con­tra­cep­tion efforts among abor­tion oppo­nents world­wide, that makes Quiv­er­full argu­ments rel­e­vant far beyond the move­men­t’s small but grow­ing num­bers. (As a move­ment, it like­ly num­bers in the tens of thou­sands, though hard num­bers are not avail­able.)

    Often, chil­dren of the move­ment are also called “arrows.” Quiv­er­full takes its name from Psalm 127: “Like arrows in the hands of a war­rior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they con­tend with their ene­mies in the gate.“A wealth of mil­i­tary metaphors fol­lows from this name­sake, as Pride and her fel­low advo­cates urge women toward mil­i­tant fecun­di­ty in the ser­vice of reli­gious rebirth: cre­at­ing what they blunt­ly refer to as an army of devout chil­dren to wage spir­i­tu­al bat­tle against God’s ene­mies. As Quiv­er­full author Rachel Scott writes in her 2004 move­ment book, “Birthing God’s Mighty War­riors,” “Chil­dren are our ammu­ni­tion in the spir­i­tu­al realm to whip the ene­my! These spe­cial arrows were hand­craft­ed by the war­rior him­self and were care­ful­ly fash­ioned to achieve the pur­pose of anni­hi­lat­ing the ene­my.”

    Quiv­er­full advo­cates Rick and Jan Hess, authors of 1990’s “A Full Quiver: Fam­i­ly Plan­ning and the Lord­ship of Christ,” envi­sion the world­ly gains such a method could bring, if more Chris­tians began pro­duc­ing “full quiv­ers” of “arrows for the war”: con­trol of both hous­es of Con­gress, the “recla­ma­tion” of sin­ful cities like San Fran­cis­co and mas­sive boy­cotts of com­pa­nies that do not com­ply with con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian mores. “If the body of Christ had been repro­duc­ing as we were designed to do,” the Hess­es write, “we would not be in the mess we are today.” Nan­cy Camp­bell, author of anoth­er move­ment book from 2003 called “Be Fruit­ful and Mul­ti­ply,” exhorts Chris­t­ian women to do just that with promis­es of spir­i­tu­al glo­ry. “Oh what a vision,” she writes, “to invade the earth with mighty sons and daugh­ters who have been trained and pre­pared for God’s divine pur­pos­es.”

    Quiv­er­full does­n’t fol­low from any par­tic­u­lar church’s teach­ings but rather is a con­vic­tion shared by evan­gel­i­cal and fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­tians across denom­i­na­tion­al lines, often spread through the bur­geon­ing con­ser­v­a­tive home­school­ing com­mu­ni­ty, which the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion esti­mates has more than 1 mil­lion school-age chil­dren, and which home­school­ing groups say eas­i­ly has twice that num­ber.

    Quiv­er­ful­l’s prona­tal­ist empha­sis is linked to a com­pan­ion doc­trine of stri­dent antifem­i­nism among con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians who see the wom­en’s lib­er­a­tion move­ment as the ori­gin of a host of social ills, from abor­tion to divorce, women work­ing and teen sex. “Fem­i­nism is a total­ly self-con­sis­tent sys­tem aimed at reject­ing God’s role for women,” Pride wrote in 1985; since then, the move­ment she helped cre­ate has erect­ed an oppo­site and equal­ly self-con­sis­tent sys­tem of “bib­li­cal wom­an­hood.”

    At the fore­front of evan­gel­i­cal oppo­si­tion to fem­i­nism is a group of self-described “patri­archy” advo­cates, who have reclaimed the term from wom­en’s stud­ies cur­ric­u­la to advo­cate a strict “com­ple­men­tar­i­an” the­ol­o­gy of wives and daugh­ters being sub­mis­sive to their hus­bands and fathers. This resur­gent empha­sis on wom­en’s sub­mis­sive­ness takes many forms, from the state­ment by the 16 mil­lion mem­ber South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion that wives must “gra­cious­ly sub­mit” to their hus­band’s “lov­ing head­ship” and the the­o­log­i­cal works being writ­ten by the SBC-affil­i­at­ed Coun­cil on Bib­li­cal Man­hood and Wom­an­hood, to far more severe inter­pre­ta­tions that claim wom­en’s absolute obe­di­ence to their hus­bands is the first, nec­es­sary step toward Chris­tians reclaim­ing the cul­ture. Part of the Quiv­er­full mis­sion is rais­ing large fam­i­lies that embrace these tra­di­tion­al gen­der roles and teach their daugh­ters to do the same.


    So while pop­u­la­tion growth, envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, and the ongo­ing cap­ture of the state by far-right cor­po­rate inter­ests promis­es to ush­er in an age of pink slim and peak water across the world, it’s worth rec­og­niz­ing that the cor­po­rate inter­ests are going to be increas­ing­ly rely­ing on this rapid­ly grow­ing Domnin­ion­ist move­ment with a the­o­log­i­cal man­date to trash the envi­ron­ment and hyper-breed in order to main­tain that grip on pow­er. And, pre­sum­ably, to pro­vide the far-right with quiv­ers full of shock troops to fight for a theo­crat­ic future in the has­tened resource wars of tomor­row.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 31, 2012, 7:15 pm
  13. Eric Can­tor: Today’s turd in the Grand Old Par­ty punch bowl:

    Spe­cial Top­ic
    Can­tor Sug­gests Anti-Semi­tism Is A Prob­lem With­in The House GOP Cau­cus
    By Annie-Rose Strass­er and Scott Keyes on Apr 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

    A few weeks ago, the House GOP was up in arms over House Major­i­ty Leader Eric Cantor’s (R‑VA) $25,000 dona­tion to anti-incum­bent can­di­date Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R‑IL), who ulti­mate­ly defeat­ed his oppo­nent, incum­bent Rep. Don Manzul­lo (R‑IL). But the sto­ry got a lit­tle more fraught when it turned out that Manzul­lo once said Can­tor would not be “saved” because he is Jew­ish.

    Today, Can­tor, the only Jew­ish House Repub­li­can, near­ly affirmed that this was the rea­son he fought against Manzullo’s re-elec­tion, insin­u­at­ing that anti-Semi­tism — and racism — are lin­ger­ing prob­lems among the House GOP gen­er­al­ly. He speak­ing at a break­fast event orga­nized by Politi­co.

    Call­ing it the “dark­er side,” Can­tor respond­ed to Politico’s Mike Allen’s ques­tion of whether there is anti-semi­tism in Con­gress by try­ing to avoid com­ment­ing. But even­tu­al­ly he let up: “I think that all of us know that in this coun­try, we’ve not always got­ten it right in terms of racial mat­ters, reli­gious mat­ters, what­ev­er. We con­tin­ue to strive to pro­vide equal treat­ment to every­body.”

    “We’re talk­ing about the House Repub­li­can Cau­cus, not Amer­i­ca,” Allen pushed.

    Can­tor then sat in silence, grim­mac­ing for sev­er­al sec­onds before Allen changed the top­ic.


    There’s a video at the link that has to be watched to real­ly get the non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion of Can­tor at the end when he sat there “in silence, grim­mac­ing”. There’s a “I’m not going to say yes, but yes [I am talk­ing about the GOP House mem­ber­ship]” ele­ment to the ges­tur­ing.

    The one part of the arti­cle I actu­al­ly found sur­pris­ing was that Can­tor is the only Jew­ish GOP mem­ber of the House. I don’t know why...I just did­n’t expect that to be the case.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 19, 2012, 8:44 am
  14. Ok, it’s obvi­ous now. Paul Ryan is clear­ly God’s Cho­sen War­rior. Not only is he cor­rect­ing the US Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­op over the church’s moral objec­tions over the Ryan bud­get (like pro­tect­ing human dig­ni­ty and feed­ing the hun­gry and home­less) but he’s also cor­rect­ing the Joint Chiefs of Staff after they com­plained about the Ryan Bud­get giv­ing them TOO MUCH MONEY. Too much for the gen­er­als and too lit­tle for the poor? Sounds Jesus-approved to me!

    God’s War­rior? No. God’s Gen­er­al.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 19, 2012, 2:41 pm
  15. Just FYI, in case things seemed all top­sy-turvy yes­ter­day it was appar­ent­ly oppo­site-day:

    Think Progress
    After Pre­vi­ous­ly Prais­ing Her, Paul Ryan Now Diss­es Ayn Rand: ‘I Reject Her Phi­los­o­phy’

    By Scott Keyes on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:40 am

    In 2005, Rep. Paul Ryan (R‑WI) heaped praise on Ayn Rand, a 20th-cen­tu­ry lib­er­tar­i­an nov­el­ist best known for her phi­los­o­phy that cen­tered on the idea that self­ish­ness is “virtue”. The New Repub­lic wrote:

    “The rea­son I got involved in pub­lic ser­vice, by and large, if I had to cred­it one thinker, one per­son, it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said at a D.C. gath­er­ing four years ago hon­or­ing the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Foun­tain­head.”

    Ryan also not­ed in a 2003 inter­view with the Week­ly Stan­dard, “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christ­mas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well... I try to make my interns read it.”

    But today, Ryan is singing a far dif­fer­ent tune.

    From an inter­view with Nation­al Review’s Bob Cos­ta this week:

    “I reject her phi­los­o­phy,” Ryan says firm­ly. “It’s an athe­ist phi­los­o­phy. It reduces human inter­ac­tions down to mere con­tracts and it is anti­thet­i­cal to my world­view. If some­body is going to try to paste a person’s view on epis­te­mol­o­gy to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pur­suit of knowl­edge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.


    I hope that clears every­thing up.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 27, 2012, 6:47 am
  16. Our mod­ern Amer­i­ca:

    Fox News guest laments ‘mis­take’ of let­ting women vote
    By Stephen C. Web­ster
    Mon­day, May 7, 2012 15:20 EDT

    Rev. Jesse Lee Peter­son, a tea par­ty activist that’s appeared sev­er­al times on Fox News, and founder of an orga­ni­za­tion where Sean Han­ni­ty serves as an advi­so­ry board mem­ber, said in a ser­mon recent­ly pub­lished to YouTube that America’s great­est mis­take was allow­ing women the right to vote, adding that back in “the good old days, men knew that women are crazy and they knew how to deal with them.”

    In the video, pub­lished to YouTube in March, Peter­son explains that he believes women sim­ply can’t han­dle “any­thing,” and that in his expe­ri­ence, “You walk up to them with a issue, they freak out right away. They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love. They don’t have love.”

    Despite his state­ments being online for more than a month, Han­ni­ty wel­comed Peter­son on his show last Tues­day to cas­ti­gate the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion over “tak­ing cred­it” for the Osama bin Laden assas­si­na­tion — but the seg­ment didn’t exact­ly go as planned.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 8, 2012, 2:04 pm
  17. It’s worth not­ing that Opus Dei isn’t the only fas­cist ultra-right-wing Catholic group that Ricky has been a mem­ber of over the years:

    MARCH 15, 2012 8:25AM
    Rick San­to­rum and the Politi­ciza­tion of Reli­gion

    March is Rick Santorum’s moment to strut the stage like a minor Shake­speare­an buf­foon, who mor­ti­fies but enter­tains the crowd before he is yanked behind the cur­tain. Much of his mes­sage is old news, but he also rep­re­sents a move­ment to insert the most con­ser­v­a­tive brand of Catholic the­ol­o­gy into sec­u­lar polit­i­cal dis­course. But Catholic vot­ers reject this guy. Why? Despite the church’s right­ward drift under Pope Bene­dict, the church has had an at times uneasy rela­tion­ship with Opus Dei and Reg­num Christi, two branch­es of Catholic lay prac­tice that San­to­rum endors­es and that have been high­ly sus­pect to many with­in the church.

    Of the two groups, Reg­num Christi is the more vir­u­lent. It is the lay branch of the Legion of Christ order found­ed by child rapist and bigamist Father Mar­cial Maciel. Accord­ing to the New York Times, San­to­rum has long been a sup­port­er of the group and in 2003 was the keynote speak­er at a Reg­num Christi event in Chica­go. Though this occurred a decade ago, Maciel, who had been under inves­ti­ga­tion since the 70s, was already well on his way to repu­di­a­tion by the church.


    Any­one vague­ly famil­iar with the church’s ago­niz­ing­ly slow response to the pre­pon­der­ance of evi­dence con­cern­ing its decades-long priest­ly sex scan­dal has to find the straight­for­ward nature of this con­dem­na­tion rather strik­ing. And yet Maciel’s lega­cy, Reg­num Christi, is a pet project of San­to­rum.

    “The Cul­ture Did It”

    Rick San­to­rum has fol­lowed the lead of many apol­o­gists for the Catholic sex scan­dal, which cost the U.S. church $2.6 bil­lion in set­tle­ments from 1950 to 2009; he blamed the cul­ture. He said:

    It is star­tling that those in the media and acad­e­mia appear most dis­turbed by this aber­rant behav­ior, since they have zeal­ous­ly pro­mot­ed moral rel­a­tivism by sanc­tion­ing “pri­vate” moral mat­ters such as alter­na­tive lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affect­ed by cul­ture. When the cul­ture is sick, every ele­ment in it becomes infect­ed. While it is no excuse for this scan­dal, it is no sur­prise that Boston, a seat of aca­d­e­m­ic, polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al lib­er­al­ism in Amer­i­ca, lies at the cen­ter of the storm.


    I have to agree with Ricky on one point...there does appear to be a cul­tur­al sick­ness at work in con­tem­po­rary pol­i­tics. For instance, Ricky is the guy that almost got the GOP nom­i­na­tion. That’s pret­ty sick.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 16, 2012, 2:55 pm
  18. Lol. I think David Bar­ton just hit the his­to­ri­an’s ver­sion of rock bot­tom:

    Glenn Beck set to pub­lish con­tro­ver­sial book on US pres­i­dent Thomas Jef­fer­son

    Rightwing US radio host Glenn Beck could take over The Jef­fer­son Lies, dropped by Chris­t­ian pub­lish­er over accu­ra­cy con­cerns

    Ali­son Flood
    guardian.co.uk, Mon­day 20 August 2012 09.38 EDT

    Evan­gel­i­cal author David Bar­ton’s con­tro­ver­sial Thomas Jef­fer­son book, which was dropped by its pub­lish­er for inac­cu­ra­cies last week, may have found a new home with Glenn Beck.

    Bar­ton’s book, The Jef­fer­son Lies, pur­ports to “cor­rect the dis­tort­ed image of a once-beloved found­ing father”, argu­ing that Jef­fer­son was an ortho­dox Chris­t­ian who did not believe that church and state should be sep­a­rat­ed. It was named the least cred­i­ble his­to­ry book in print last month by the His­to­ry News Net­work, and two con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian pro­fes­sors, War­ren Throck­mor­ton and Michael Coul­ter, even wrote a book crit­i­cis­ing its claims, say­ing that “as Jef­fer­son did with the Gospels, Bar­ton choos­es what he likes about Jef­fer­son and leaves out the rest to cre­ate a result more in line with his ide­ol­o­gy”.

    The Jef­fer­son Lies was dropped by its pub­lish­er, Chris­t­ian press Thomas Nel­son, last week, but now Bar­ton has said that Beck­’s pub­lish­ing arm Mer­cury Ink is nego­ti­at­ing to pub­lish a new edi­tion. The new ver­sion “will not include any sub­stan­tive changes, but I will rephrase some things to remove any poten­tial con­fu­sion,” he told Pub­lish­ers Week­ly. The evan­gel­i­cal writer will also include con­tent cut by Thomas Nel­son, he said, adding: “I have actu­al­ly run across more sup­port­ing doc­u­ments that strength­en my case, not weak­en it.”

    Beck, the rightwing US radio host who has writ­ten numer­ous best­selling titles him­self, launched his own pub­lish­ing imprint Mer­cury Ink last year, in con­junc­tion with Simon & Schus­ter. He wrote the intro­duc­tion to Bar­ton’s book, say­ing that the title “takes on this long-held false­hood about the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state and proves once and for all that our Found­ing Father was no sec­u­lar­ist”, and that “the Left” know that “if they are able to dis­cred­it and dis­miss Jef­fer­son and our oth­er Founders, then we are that much clos­er to sur­ren­der­ing our birthright and our nat­ur­al free­doms”.


    Well, ok, to be fair, Bar­ton has been wal­low­ing around in the Beck-bot­tom for a while.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 23, 2012, 8:25 am
  19. At a min­i­mum, Con­gress­man Broun has to be in strong con­tention for the title of “God’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the House Sci­ence Com­mit­tee”:

    Rep. Paul Broun (R‑GA): Evo­lu­tion, Big Bang ‘Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell’

    Ben­jy Sar­lin Octo­ber 5, 2012, 12:21 PM

    Rep. Paul Broun (R‑GA) tore into sci­en­tists as tools of the dev­il in a speech at the Lib­er­ty Bap­tist Church Sportsman’s Ban­quet last month.

    “All that stuff I was taught about evo­lu­tion and embry­ol­o­gy and the Big Bang The­o­ry, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,” Broun said. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from under­stand­ing that they need a sav­ior.”

    Accord­ing to Broun, the sci­en­tif­ic plot was pri­mar­i­ly con­cerned with hid­ing the true age of the Earth. Broun serves on the House Sci­ence Com­mit­tee, which came under scruti­ny recent­ly after anoth­er one of its Repub­li­can mem­bers, Rep. Todd Akin (R‑MO), sug­gest­ed that vic­tims of “legit­i­mate rape” have unnamed bio­log­i­cal defens­es against preg­nan­cy.

    “You see, there are a lot of sci­en­tif­ic data that I’ve found out as a sci­en­tist that actu­al­ly show that this is real­ly a young Earth,” he said. “I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was cre­at­ed in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”


    “What I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s hand­book, is what I call it,” he said. “It teach­es us how to run our lives indi­vid­u­al­ly, how to run our fam­i­lies, how to run our church­es. But it teach­es us how to run all of pub­lic pol­i­cy and every­thing in soci­ety. And that’s the rea­son as your con­gress­man I hold the holy Bible as being the major direc­tions to me of how I vote in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and I’ll con­tin­ue to do that.”

    May the angels pro­tect Paul against the ruth­less ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion deter­mined to rule the world: CobraSci­ence. But don’t fret. He has pow­er­ful allies. Yo Joe!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 6, 2012, 5:57 pm
  20. John Adams — “The gov­ern­ment of the Unit­ed States is not in any sense found­ed upon the Chris­t­ian reli­gion.”

    There is anoth­er rel­e­vant and con­trast­ing quote by Ronald Rea­gan which I searched for unsuc­cess­ful­ly, in which he defends the pure idea and prac­tice of sen­ti­men­tal­ism. His mean­ing was clear — that when rea­son or sci­ence or empir­i­cal data threat­en one’s pre­con­ceived notions of one’s own moral supe­ri­or­i­ty, that per­son is per­fect­ly jus­ti­fied in clos­ing his mind and retreat­ing to a fun­da­men­tal­ist posi­tion. This amaz­ing and angry defense of irra­tional­i­ty was spo­ken in either a major speech to the nation or a debate.

    Can any­one famil­iar with this quote please assist my spot­ty mem­o­ry?

    Posted by Dwight | October 10, 2012, 3:57 am
  21. I can’t find the quote still although I know it’s out there. I was try­ing to draw a par­al­lel between Rea­gan’s tac­tics and the Romney/Ryan strat­e­gy of avoid­ing real­i­ty and appeal­ing to the elec­torate’s baser emo­tion­al impuls­es, ala Mein Kampf and the Big Lie. This excerpt from http://www.shmoop.com/reagan-era/race.html makes my point.

    From Anti-Black to Anti-Gov­ern­ment

    The pol­i­tics of racism were cer­tain­ly noth­ing new in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, and Rea­gan was no more guilty than any num­ber of oth­er major polit­i­cal fig­ures in our past for appeal­ing to the least noble sen­ti­ments of the Amer­i­can char­ac­ter. What made Rea­gan’s brand of racial pol­i­tics unique­ly pow­er­ful, how­ev­er, was Rea­gan’s suc­cess in chan­nel­ing prej­u­dice against black peo­ple into scorn for the gov­ern­ment. Implic­it in Rea­gan’s mul­ti­tude of “Chica­go wel­fare queen”-style anec­dotes was the notion that fed­er­al gov­ern­ment spend­ing on social pro­grams was most­ly wast­ed on point­less hand­outs to black recip­i­ents. In fact, dur­ing the 1980s more than 85% of the fed­er­al bud­get was allo­cat­ed to defense spend­ing, Social Secu­ri­ty, Medicare, and pay­ments on the nation­al debt—all utter­ly col­or­blind expen­di­tures. Even wel­fare, which Rea­gan often implied was a pro­gram for black peo­ple, ben­e­fit­ed far more whites than African-Amer­i­cans. But Rea­gan care­ful­ly cul­ti­vat­ed the impres­sion that “gov­ern­ment spend­ing” meant “free mon­ey for black peo­ple,” and hap­pi­ly watched as some whites’ resent­ment of blacks mor­phed into loathing of the gov­ern­ment that sup­pos­ed­ly cod­dled them.

    Sound­ing famil­iar?

    Posted by Dwight | October 12, 2012, 7:49 am
  22. It might seem like a dan­ger­ous move for a first term Sen­a­tor to call for vot­ers to hold his own par­ty mem­bers “account­able” because they trash-talked your bril­liant vic­to­ry plan but let’s just say it’s good to be the king:


    Cruz’ Father Sug­gests Ted Cruz Is “Anoint­ed” to Bring About The “End Time Trans­fer of Wealth”

    Post­ed by Bruce Wil­son at 10:36 am
    Octo­ber 17, 2013

    “The pas­tor [Huch] referred to Proverbs 13:22, a lit­tle while ago, which says that the wealth of the wicked is stored for the right­eous. And it is through the kings, anoint­ed to take domin­ion, that that trans­fer of wealth is going to occur.” — Rafael Cruz, August 26, 2012

    In a ser­mon [2] last year at an Irv­ing, Texas, megachurch that helped elect Ted Cruz to the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, Cruz’ father Rafael Cruz indi­cat­ed that his son was among the evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians who are anoint­ed as “kings” to take con­trol of all sec­tors of soci­ety, an agen­da com­mon­ly referred to as the “Sev­en Moun­tains” man­date, and “bring the spoils of war to the priests”, thus help­ing to bring about a proph­e­sied “great trans­fer of wealth”, from the “wicked” to right­eous gen­tile believ­ers. link to video [3] of Rafael Cruz describ­ing the “great trans­fer of wealth” and the role of anoint­ed “kings” in var­i­ous sec­tors of soci­ety, includ­ing gov­ern­ment, who are to “bring the spoils of war to the priests”.

    Rafael Cruz’ domin­ion­ist [4] ser­mon giv­en August 26, 2012, at the New Begin­nings Church of pas­tor Lar­ry Huch, in Irv­ing, Texas has already received con­sid­er­able scruti­ny due to an excel­lent Huff­in­g­ton Post com­men­tary [5] by Methodist Asso­ciate Pas­tor Mor­gan Guy­ton, who not­ed the explic­it­ly domin­ion­ist nature of pas­tor Cruz’ ser­mon, which con­cerned the divine man­date for believ­ers, with anoint­ing of “kings” in their respec­tive spheres, to take con­trol over all sec­tors of soci­ety.

    Cruz spoke of “Kings who are anoint­ed to go to war, win the war, and bring the spoils of war to the priests.”

    Dis­cus­sion of the now-noto­ri­ous speech by Rafael Cruz has missed the fact that Ted Cruz was sub­se­quent­ly blessed and anoint­ed [6] by promi­nent domin­ion­ist pas­tors, in effect as a “king” in the political/governmental sphere, at a spe­cial bless­ing cer­e­mo­ny at the Mar­riott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, at a July 19th-20th 2013 ral­ly designed to draw pas­tors into pol­i­tics.

    But in a very real, mun­dane sense Ted Cruz has already helped deliv­er hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, or more, to the evan­gel­i­cal right. Cruz’ past ser­vice — as a “king” who brought “spoils to the priests” — is a mat­ter of estab­lished record; as I revealed in a pri­or sto­ry, no less than a top advis­er to Pres­i­dent George W. Bush has stat­ed that in 1999 Ted Cruz played a major role in help­ing the Bush for Pres­i­dent cam­paign lock down the con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal vote in the 2000 elec­tion.

    One can inter­pret the “great trans­fer of wealth” — pre­dict­ed by Ted Cruz’ father Rafael Cruz, and by Pas­tor Lar­ry Huch, who threw his Texas megachurch’s con­sid­er­able heft behind the 2012 Cruz for Sen­ate cam­paign — in mag­i­cal terms, sure.

    But Ted Cruz’ appar­ent­ly notable role in get­ting George W. Bush into the pres­i­den­cy led in turn to Bush’s “Faith Based Ini­tia­tive” — that con­tin­ues to this day under two suc­ces­sive Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tions and which, dur­ing the Bush years, fun­neled bil­lions of dol­lars to church­es and insti­tu­tions asso­ci­at­ed with the reli­gious right.

    In oth­er words, the “great trans­fer of wealth” is about more than wish­ful think­ing. It’s about an ongo­ing effort, by lead­ers and insti­tu­tions of the evan­gel­i­cal right, to grad­u­al­ly gob­ble up the sec­u­lar sphere of gov­ern­ment.

    Thus, for exam­ple, fast grow­ing Chris­t­ian schools such as the late Moral Major­i­ty co-founder Jer­ry Fal­well’s Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty, which now vac­u­ums up hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in fed­er­al stu­dent aid mon­ey each year. Or the hun­dreds of mil­lions of divert­ed tax dol­lars now flow­ing, in a least 12 U.S. states, under so-called “neo-vouch­er” schemes, to pri­vate schools — many of which, as explored in a new [7] Rolling Stone sto­ry, have vir­u­lent­ly anti-LGBT poli­cies. Under Bush, too, sev­er­al bil­lion dol­lars per year in USAID fund­ing were shift­ed from sec­u­lar aid non­prof­its to reli­gious ones, some them hold­ing anti-gay and reac­tionary, even theo­crat­ic, under­ly­ing ide­ol­o­gy.

    I could go on at length about this drea­ry sub­ject, which involves major shifts in gov­ern­ment social ser­vice fund­ing streams. But instead, let’s turn now to the “kings for domin­ion”:

    In his August 26th, 2012 guest ser­mon at Lar­ry Huch’s Irv­ing, TX megachurch, U.S. Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz’ father Rafael Cruz, in what was not the first of his guest appear­ances at the church, explained,

    “The pas­tor [Huch] referred to Proverbs 13:22, a lit­tle while ago, which says that the wealth of the wicked is stored for the right­eous. And it is through the kings, anoint­ed to take domin­ion, that that trans­fer of wealth is going to occur. God, even though he’s sov­er­eign, even though he’s omnipo­tent, he does­n’t let it rain out of the sky — he’s going to use peo­ple to do it.”

    Intro­duc­ing pas­tor Cruz, in the con­text that it would soon be Rosh Hashanah, which would ring in the Jew­ish New Year of 2012, Lar­ry Huch had stat­ed, invok­ing domin­ion­ist numerol­o­gy,

    “The num­ber 12 means ‘divine gov­ern­ment’, that God begins to rule and reign. Not Wall Street, not Wash­ing­ton — God’s peo­ple and his king­dom will begin to rule and reign”

    As Huch spoke, Rafael Cruz could be seen in the audi­ence, stand­ing next to Huch’s wife Tiz, hand upraised to receive and mag­ni­fy Huch’s prophet­ic bless­ing. Huch con­tin­ued,

    “I know that’s why God got Rafael’s son elect­ed — Ted Cruz, the next Sen­a­tor. But here’s the excit­ing thing — and that’s why I know it’s time­ly for him to teach this, and bring this anoint­ing. The rab­bini­cal teach­ing is, espe­cial­ly amongst gen­tiles, who God opens their eyes, that in a few weeks begins that year 2012, and that this will begin what we call the “End Time Trans­fer of Wealth.

    And that when these gen­tiles begin to receive this bless­ing, they will nev­er go back finan­cial­ly through the val­ley again. They will grown and grow and grow. It’s said this way — that God is look­ing at the church, and every­one in it, and decid­ing, in the next 3 and 1/2 years, who will be his bankers. And the ones that say, “Here am I, Lord, you can trust me”, we will become so blessed that we will ush­er in the com­ing of the Mes­si­ah. This mes­sage if for you. Would you wel­come our good friend Rafael Cruz ? What a tremen­dous man of God.”

    Pas­tor Cruz could not have made him­self more clear:

    “There are some of you, as a mat­ter of fact I will dare to say the major­i­ty of you, that your anoint­ing is not an anoint­ing as priest. It’s an anoint­ing as king. And God has giv­en you an anoint­ing to go to the bat­tle­field. And what’s the bat­tle­field ? The bat­tle­field is the mar­ket­place. To go to the mar­ket­place and occu­py the land. To go to the mar­ket­place and take domin­ion. If you remem­ber the last time I was in this pul­pit, I talked to you about Gen­e­sis chap­ter 1, verse 28, where God says unto Adam and Eve, “Go forth, mul­ti­ply, TAKE DOMINION over all cre­ation.” And if you recall, we talked about the fact that that domin­ion is not just in the church. That domin­ion is over every area — soci­ety, edu­ca­tion, gov­ern­ment, eco­nom­ics...


    “The bat­tle­field is the mar­ket­place. To go to the mar­ket­place and occu­py the land. To go to the mar­ket­place and take domin­ion”. What’s not to love?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 19, 2013, 10:57 pm
  23. Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 3, 2013, 6:51 pm
  24. God’s Senator/Governor just per­formed anoth­er mir­a­cle:

    The Kansas City Star
    Brown­back signs bill that allows per­mit-free con­cealed car­ry of guns in Kansas


    The Kansas City Star

    04/02/2015 3:28 PM

    04/02/2015 6:48 PM


    Kansans soon can car­ry con­cealed weapons with­out per­mits or train­ing under a bill signed by Gov. Sam Brown­back on Thurs­day.

    The new law, which kicks in July 1, makes Kansas the sixth state to allow “con­sti­tu­tion­al car­ry.” It will allow Kansans 21 and old­er to car­ry con­cealed firearms regard­less of whether they have obtained a per­mit.

    Train­ing still will be required for any­one who wants to car­ry a con­cealed gun in the 36 states that accept Kansas per­mits.

    Brown­back tout­ed the impor­tance of train­ing, explain­ing that his youngest son took a hunter safe­ty course this past week.

    “It was an excel­lent course. He got a lot out of it. I got a lot out of it. And I want to urge peo­ple to take advan­tage of that,” said Brown­back, who was flanked by Repub­li­can law­mak­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion and Kansas State Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion.

    Asked why he did not think train­ing should be required if it is valu­able, Brown­back said car­ry­ing a gun is a con­sti­tu­tion­al right.

    “We’re say­ing that if you want to do that in this state, then you don’t have to get the per­mis­sion slip from the gov­ern­ment,” Brown­back said. “It is a con­sti­tu­tion­al right, and we’re remov­ing a bar­ri­er to that right.”


    “Train­ing is an ongo­ing, per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty. It’s not some­thing the gov­ern­ment can man­date,” he said. “… It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ when you talk about the lifestyle of car­ry­ing a gun.”

    About 87,000 peo­ple hold con­cealed-car­ry per­mits in Kansas, accord­ing to the attor­ney general’s office. More than 17,000 of them are in Sedg­wick Coun­ty.

    One of the most vocal crit­ics of the leg­is­la­tion, Bill War­ren, holds a con­cealed-car­ry per­mit. He has expressed con­cern about the safe­ty impact on his Wichi­ta movie the­aters if peo­ple who have not gone through train­ing bring in guns.

    He prob­a­bly will pro­hib­it guns in his the­aters.

    “My No. 1 pri­or­i­ty is the safe­ty of our cus­tomers, and after we talk to our secu­ri­ty we will make a deci­sion before it’s enact­ed,” War­ren, who donat­ed and host­ed events for Brownback’s guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign, said Thurs­day. “It makes things for the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion less safe.”

    Patri­cia Stonek­ing, pres­i­dent of the Kansas State Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion, praised the gov­er­nor as a strong sup­port­er of the Sec­ond Amend­ment.

    Stonek­ing said the sign­ing of the bill was the cul­mi­na­tion of a 10-year plan by the group. She said the inclu­sion of the train­ing require­ment in the 2006 con­cealed-car­ry bill was “polit­i­cal horse trad­ing” and said it was a com­pro­mise nec­es­sary to pass the leg­is­la­tion at that time.

    Look­ing ahead, she said she wants to see one more major change: low­er­ing the age to car­ry a con­cealed weapon to 18.

    “Eigh­teen-year-olds are allowed to open car­ry, and they go to war and put their lives on the line to pro­tect this coun­try,” Stonek­ing said. “I believe we can low­er the age to 18 at some point in the future. I think after every­body sees that there are not going to be any of the dire pre­dic­tions com­ing true, and they relax a lit­tle bit, then we can talk about that.”

    To reit­er­ate the pres­i­dent of the Kansas State Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion:

    Stonek­ing said the sign­ing of the bill was the cul­mi­na­tion of a 10-year plan by the group. She said the inclu­sion of the train­ing require­ment in the 2006 con­cealed-car­ry bill was “polit­i­cal horse trad­ing” and said it was a com­pro­mise nec­es­sary to pass the leg­is­la­tion at that time.

    Look­ing ahead, she said she wants to see one more major change: low­er­ing the age to car­ry a con­cealed weapon to 18.

    “Eigh­teen-year-olds are allowed to open car­ry, and they go to war and put their lives on the line to pro­tect this coun­try,” Stonek­ing said. “I believe we can low­er the age to 18 at some point in the future. I think after every­body sees that there are not going to be any of the dire pre­dic­tions com­ing true, and they relax a lit­tle bit, then we can talk about that.”

    So is this the next phase of the GOP/NRA nation­al gun fetish? Legal con­cealed car­ry laws for with­out any train­ing at all for every­one over 18? It’s look­ing like it:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post
    Joe Manchin Oppos­es NRA-Backed Bill On Con­cealed Guns
    Post­ed: 03/12/2015 6:28 pm EDT Updat­ed: 03/13/2015 1:59 am EDT

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin (D‑W.Va.) is a self-described “law-abid­ing gun own­er, hunter, card-car­ry­ing life mem­ber of the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion and Sec­ond Amend­ment advo­cate.”

    But on Thurs­day, he said he “strong­ly” oppos­es an NRA-backed bill in West Vir­ginia that would nix per­mit and train­ing require­ments for peo­ple car­ry­ing con­cealed guns.

    “I have always sup­port­ed a West Vir­gini­an’s right to bear arms,” Manchin said in a state­ment. “Sen­ate Bill 347 would allow a per­son to car­ry a con­cealed gun with­out a per­mit or require­ment of safe­ty train­ing and that is irre­spon­si­ble and dan­ger­ous to the peo­ple of West Vir­ginia.”

    The bill passed the state House ear­li­er Thurs­day, and the state Sen­ate on Wednes­day. Still, Manchin said it was a bad idea.

    “There is not one West Vir­gin­ian whose Sec­ond Amend­ment rights will be infringed with­out this bill,” Manchin said. “In West Vir­ginia, we believe in gun sense, which is com­mon sense, and it only makes com­mon sense for con­cealed car­ry appli­cants to receive prop­er train­ing. I com­mend the brave leg­is­la­tors who vot­ed no and rep­re­sent­ed their con­stituents who know that this is irre­spon­si­ble.

    An NRA spokesman did not respond to a request for com­ment.


    Note that the West Vir­gina bill also lim­it­ed the law to peo­ple over 21, with an exctp­tion for peo­ple over 18 that have served in the military(where they pre­sum­ably got quite a bit of train­ing in weapons safe­ty).

    So the NRA and its state affi­lates clear­ly have more work to do on the con­cealed car­ry front because some­one needs to think of the rights of high­school seniors to car­ry con­cealed firearms with­out any safe­ty train­ing and the NRA and god­ly lead­ers like Sam Brown­back are clear­ly up to the task.

    And don’t think they’ve for­got­ten about the chil­dren because the NRA clear­ly has­n’t and if you’re a kid in Kansas’s pub­lic schools (that hap­pens to hate school) the ‘Brown­back mir­a­clejust keeps get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 3, 2015, 3:28 pm

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