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Posts for December, 2011

Ron Paul’s Easy Appeal Among Reconstructionists

Jim Burroway

December 28th, 2011

Warren Throckmorton seems to have found what may be the key to Ron Paul’s support among Christian Reconstructionists while also being spurned by Dominionists:

But back to (New Apostolic Reformation dominionists) vs. Christian reconstructionists; the focus of control is different. The NAR folks want to rule America as a Christian nation from the seat of centralized power in Washington DC. The Christian reconstructionists want to deconstruct central government in favor of state or local control of law. Bachmann and Perry promise to govern biblically and impose their view of Christian America on the nation. Paul promises to dismantle the federal government in favor of the states.

In fact, the Christian reconstructionists are afraid of the NAR dominionists. Recontructionist Joel McDurmon wants biblical law in place but he thinks the NAR approach is a dangerous power grab.

It’s notable that the most prominent pastor in Iowa to endorse Ron Paul (an endorsement featured on Paul’s web site) is Rev. Phil Kayser, who has deep reconstructionist (also known as theonomist) ties. At Biblical Blueprints, a reconstrucitonist web site, Kaiser posted a book (PDF: 4.1MB/60 pages) in which he justifies the death penalty for homosexuality:

(page 24): I should think that theonomists would be happy with this understanding of Biblical capital crimes since it is the Bible and the Bible alone that determines ethics.  But I would think that those who are concerned about how Biblical penology would apply in a pagan society and how it would dovetail with evangelism would be happy because Biblical penology beautifully dovetails with God’s program of the  Great Commission. There is no tension between Biblical law and the Great Commission. For example, in a society that was being converted, homosexuals could continue to be converted as they were in the church of Corinth. Even after a society implemented Biblical law and made homosexuality a crime, there are many checks and balances that would be in place. (See Appendix A page  40 for specifics.) The civil government could not round them up. Only those who were prosecuted by citizens could be punished, and the punishment could take a number of forms, including death. This would have a tendency of driving homosexuals back into their closets.

I think I have demonstrated how even capital punishment can be restorative.  Other aspects of penology such as restitution, indentured servitude, etc. are certainly restorative.

I should think that those who accuse Biblicists of a theology that would cause a holocaust should be happy since we advocate standing law, not the Herem principle, and since standing law could be implemented even in a society like ours without the need for massive bloodshed. After a few speedy executions of non-repentant criminals, others would think twice before despising God’s law.

Paul opposes Lawrence v. Texas because he thinks it infringes on states rights. Kayser likes the idea of states having the right to kill homosexuals, which neatly completes the circle to his support for Paul.

Later in the book, Kayser defends his support for capital punishment for gay people against the objection that his theonomist proposals would “lead to a bloodbath”:

(page 38): Objection 13 – “This would lead to a blood bath if we were to implement that law today because almost our entire nation is implicated in capital crimes.”

This objection is a mixture of pragmatism (we can’t do it) and emotional appeal (it would lead to a blood bath). But neither argument changes God’s definition of justice. Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just. But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative.

What’s a few dead homosexuals in the greater scheme of things? And this is the man of whose endorsement Paul’s web site now brags. Along with Paul’s praise of the voter recall effort against state Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality, his opposition to Lawrence v. Texas, and the man who Paul selected to lead his Iowa campaign, suddenly those newsletters appear neither anachronistic nor anomalous. Ron Paul supporters have to ask themselves a really hard question: With his active courting of extremists like these, what kind of people do they think Paul will select for his administration?

Ron Paul touts endorsement by pastor who wants you dead. Literally.

Timothy Kincaid

December 28th, 2011

Ron Paul is touting the endorsement of “Eminent Pastor Rev. Phil Kayser, Ph.D.”. Kayser is the pastor of Dominion Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska and, as might be deduced from the church’s name, Kayser is a dominionist. But as Dr. Warren Throckmorton reports, Kayser is extremist even for dominionists. The eminent pastor reverend doctor Phil Kayser wants to rule the world.

Our church will not rest or be satisfied (Is. 62:6-7) until all human authority submits to Christ (Matt. 28:18), all nations are discipled (Matt. 28:19), all Scripture is followed (Matt. 28:20a) and all of Christ’s presence and resources are claimed (Matt. 28:20b). Anything less than an expectation of total victory for King Jesus in history (1 Cor. 15:24-28) does not do justice to the all encompassing mandate of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).

Oh, and by “all Scripture is followed”, the eminent pastor reverend doctor veers from the usual and customary Christian teaching. The eminent pastor reverend doctor means the following:

But notice how Paul ties this in with his overarching theme of natural knowledge. It is not just the sinfulness of homosexuality that is known, but also the justice of the death penalty for homosexuality. In verse 32 Paul says, “Who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” The reason men have an innate sense of justice is because God’s law reflects not only His holiness but also His justice and goodness (Romans 7:12). Romans 13 says that magistrates are subject to all three. They must know what is sin and what is good, and they must apply justice in condemning the one and protecting the other. All of that, Romans 1-2 says is in man’s heart.

Now, I personally don’t believe that executing gays is intuitive or natural or written right there in man’s heart. So I personally don’t find this to be an endorsement that compels me to support Ron Paul. But if you are a big supporter or the eminent pastor reverend doctor Phil Kayser, then you will probably also find that supporting Ron Paul is written in your heart. With a sharpie.

UPDATE: It seems that someone in Ron Paul’s campaign finally noticed what it was that Phil Kayser actually believes and teaches. The campaign website no longer proudly announced Kayser’s endorsement.

Ron Paul’s Iowa State Director Is Also A Leading Anti-Gay Extremist

Jim Burroway

December 27th, 2011

Michael Heath, State Director of the Ron Paul for President Campaign in Iowa.

This guy: Michael Heath. He’s the former director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, who resigned in 2009 because he was too much of a “lightning rod” when anti-gay activists began gearing up to repeal the recently-passed marriage equality bill. In 2008, Heath had blamed the economic crisis on “America’s sinful sexual culture, including the acceptance of gay unions.” In 2010, Peter LaBarbera announced that Heath would serve as board chairman for LaBarbera’s Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, just one of a small handful of groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-gay hate group. Last September, he joined the Ron Paul campaign in Iowa as that state’s director. (The announcement is dated November 16, although the news was picked up two month earlier.)

[via Warren Throckmorton]

Paul Unendorsed

Jim Burroway

December 27th, 2011

Image of one of the Ron Paul's newsletters equating "Sodomy = Death." Note the following paragraph talking about Ron Paul's former membership in the Episcopal Church, written in the first person. (Click to see the entire page as a PDF from The New Republic.)

Not all Paulistas are putting their hands to their ears and shouting lalalalalalalala as loudly as possible over the incendiary racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic newsletters that went out under his name and with his active promotion for most of a decade. Andrew Sullivan endorsed Rep. Ron Paul for the GOP presidential nomination because of his economic libertarianism and his refusal to support unnecessary foreign wars. Sullivan knew about those newsletters at the time, having read about them when they first came to light in 2008. But now Sullivan said that he sat down and re-read those newsletters again and decided that their existence makes Paul ineligible for the Presidency:

It seems to me that even though I don’t believe these old screeds reflect Paul’s own beliefs, his new level of prominence demands a new level of accountability, even on issues this old. If Paul did not write these newsletters, then he has an obligation to say if he knew who did, or conduct an investigation. He has had years to do this, and hasn’t. And here’s what you’ve persuaded me of in the last few days: a person who has that kind of bigotry directly printed under his name without a clear empirical explanation of why he is innocent cannot be an honorable president of the United States. The hatred of groups of people in those letters – however gussied up by shards of legitimate arguments – is too deep and vile to be attached to a leader of the entire country. It is far too divisive. The appearance of things matters; and until Paul explains why this appears so horrible, he cannot shrug off the burden of proof.

…the words and sentiments in those newsletters cannot attach themselves – even by mere appearance – to a potential president of this country. I see that now. Maybe my admiration for Paul’s courage and his extraordinary resistance to the authoritarianism and intolerance in his own party blinded me to this. But you can’t be both the solution and the problem. And so, until Paul fully explains this incident, in the kind of way Michael Tomasky recommends, I have to say there is an alternative, as I described at length in the endorsement: Jon Huntsman. He’s what my super-ego tells me is the right choice. My id remains with Ron. But I write with the rational part of my brain, or at least I try to.

Ron Paul’s Name

Jim Burroway

December 26th, 2011

Americans have an incredibly short attention span. One would imagine the public’s latest outrage was over a recent discovery of a tranche of Ron Paul’s racist and homophobic newsletters written from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The problem, though, is that while the renewed outrage may be recent, the discovery wasn’t. Many of those newsletters came to light the last time he ran for president, just short of four years ago. The New Republic, which broke the story in 2008, has an updated rundown on just what some of those reprehensible ideas were:

Gays

The December 1989 Ron Paul Political Report contains entries on a “new form of racial terrorism,” cites former Congressman Bill Dannemeyer’s claim that “the average homosexual has 1,000 or more partners in a lifetime,” and quotes Lew Rockwell, president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in the third person.

In January 1990, the Ron Paul Political Report cites “a well-known libertarian editor” who “told me: ‘The ACT-UP slogan on stickers plastered all over Manhattan is ‘Silence=Death.’ But shouldn’t it be Sodomy = Death’?”

The September 1994 issue of the Ron Paul Survival Report states that “those who don’t commit sodomy, who don’t get blood a transfusion, and who don’t swap needles, are virtually assured of not getting AIDS unless they are deliberately infected by a malicious gay.”

The June 1990 issue of the Political Report says: “I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

A January 1994 edition of the Survival Report states that “gays in San Francisco do not obey the dictates of good sense,” adding: “[T]hese men don’t really see a reason to live past their fifties. They are not married, they have no children, and their lives are centered on new sexual partners.” Also, “they enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick.”

Those links go directly to the PDF’s of the newsletters in question. And those quote are just a selection of some of the anti-gay rants found in his newsletters. They don’t even touch on the racist and anti-Semitic ramblings and the strange conspiracy theories which were the heart of his newsletters. The 2008 outrage lasted, I think, a week or two, and then Ron Paul’s supporters found a way to shrug it off, pretty much as Ron Paul himself did:

Ron Paul released a very brief statement claiming that he was acting something like an absentee landlord with regard to those now-infamous newsletters:

When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.

And that was that. Except that I really haven’t seen him take “moral responsibility,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. He didn’t explain how it came to be that those newsletters with his name emblazoned across the top — some of which raised money for his political campaigns when he decided to re-enter politics — came attached to such reprehensible ideas, other than to just say he didn’t write them. Which is a different story from the one he offered in 1995, when those newsletters, still fresh from the press, became a campaign issue in his run for Congress:

Paul, a Republican obstetrician from Surfside, said Wednesday he opposes racism and that his written commentaries about blacks came in the context of “current events and statistical reports of the time.” … A campaign spokesman for Paul said statements about the fear of black males mirror pronouncements by black leaders such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has decried the spread of urban crime. Paul continues to write the newsletter for an undisclosed number of subscribers, the spokesman said.

In this 1995 video, Ron Paul talks about his newsletters with a certain pride in ownership:

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Here, we see a politician who was not particularly worried about how the themes of his newsletter would play out with his constituents. And he apparently knew his constituents well; he won his seat for Congress.

But now that he’s running for President with a new constituency he needs to convince, the 1995 explanation won’t wash. So today, this is what he’s saying:

“Why don’t you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20-something years, 22 years ago?” Paul said on CNN Wednesday. “I didn’t write them. I disavow them. That’s it.”

Unfortunately, he didn’t CC his Iowa campaign chairman with his new line:

However, Ivers said, Paul does not deny or retract material that Paul has written under his own signature, such as the letter promoting Paul’s newsletters.

When asked whether that meant Paul believed there was a government conspiracy to cover up the impact of AIDS, Ivers said, “I don’t think he embraces that.”

Paul’s newsletters “showed good factual information and investment information,” Ivers said. “It was a public service, helping people understand and equip them to avoid an unsound monetary policy.”

All of this leaves us with just a few possibilities, with only one of them potentially positive from Paul’s point of view. The first possibility to consider is that he is saying today: that he really didn’t write them, and that his role was that of an absent landlord. The problem with that, however, is that those racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic conspiracies found a home in his newsletters for more than a decade. They weren’t just a rare escape of  an editor’s notice. And that presents a significant problem. Paul is running as a different kind of politician, and he asks us to accept him as a man of his word. But which word is he a man of? Do we trust his word today where he claims not to have any connection with those newsletters which provided such a financial benefit to him? Do we trust his word in 1995 when he promoted those newsletters? Or do we trust what was presented as his word in those newsletters — with his good name across the top and, in some cases, a likeness of his signature below? If you’re running as a man of his word, the last thing you want is for your audience to constantly ask themselves, “Which word?”

The second possibility is even worse. Some have suggested that Paul was aware of the content of those newsletters, but that he didn’t necessarily agree with the content. According to this theory, he stuck with it because it was both a good campaign strategy and a good money raiser.  Michael Brendan Dougherty considers that possibility:

At that time a libertarian theorist, Murray Rothbard argued that libertarians ought to engage in “Outreach to the Rednecks” in order to insert their libertarian theories into the middle of the nation’s political passions. …As crazy as it sounds, Ron Paul’s newsletter writers may not have been sincerely racist at all. They actually thought appearing to be racist was a good political strategy in the 1990s. After that strategy yielded almost nothing — it was abandoned by Paul’s admirers. You can attribute their “redneck strategy” to the most malignant kind of cynicism or to a political desperation that made them insane.

If that’s true, then it betrays exactly the kind of cynicism that Paul claims to be running against, and turns the entire mess into an indictment of his character. A cynical politician is hardly shocking, sure, but it certainly says something when a man, who claims to stand on principle regardless of that principle’s popularity, decides to adopt a different set of principles solely for political and financial advantage. This is a worse problem than the first possibility. As much as you don’t want to have to ask, “Which word?”, you definitely don’t want to have to ask, “Which principle?”

And this leaves us with the third possibility: that he was aware of those newsletters and let them go out under his name because they did reflect his views at the time. This possibility at least has the benefit of restoring his integrity. First, it would mean that he was a man of his word then, and it would mean that he’s a man of his word now. And his word now would demonstrate that he is someone who is capable of changing and adapting his views over time. After all, Rep. Paul did vote to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and told one GOP debate audience that “heterosexuals are causing more trouble than gays” in the military. But that’s a far cry from what we see in those newsletters, and it would show an evolution which his supporters could take comfort in.

The problem with that possibility though is that it’s not the one Paul is running on. He’s running on the first one. And yet, he still wants us to believe that he is a man of principle and a man of his word, while also expecting us to swallow the corollary  that he was extremely reckless with what was associated with his good name.

I can’t accept that, and no one else should either. Every time I write something with my name on it, you can be sure that it reflects my opinion and understanding at the time that I write it, however flawed and poorly spelled it may be. You can count on it because my name is firmly attached. I can always change my mind later about an opinion I’ve held, I can always retract when I’m convinced that I’m wrong, and I can always apologize when I offend.

But one thing I can never do as a blogger (which is the 2011 equivalent of writing a newsletter, after all) is run away from my name. And when it comes to voting for president, I would expect that the candidate I support has at least as much integrity as a blogger.

Paul describes Santorum in one sentence

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

Speaking to Jay Leno, republican presidential candidate Ron Paul tagged Rick Santorum in one accurate sentence. And no it didn’t include the phrase “frothy mix”.

CNN reports that when Paul was asked on Friday about former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, he said Santorum does not like “gay people and Muslims.”

Yep, that pretty much covers it.

The Daily Agenda for Saturday, November 19

Jim Burroway

November 19th, 2011

TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
Transgender Day of Remembrance: Several locations. While tomorrow is officially the day set aside to remember those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, some TDoR events are taking place today. TDoR began in reaction to the brutal murder of Rita Hester, who was killed on November 28, 1998. Her murder resulted in the creation of the Remembering Our Dead web site and a candlelight vigil in 1999. In the first nine months of 2011, 116 transgender people have been killed around the world, according to Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM). They also say that there have been at least 681 murders in 50 countries since 2008. Observances for the Transgender Day of Rememberance typically consist of the reading of the names of those who have died because of their gender identity, expression, presentation or perception of gender variance. Observances are being held in cities all around the world. Click here to find an observance near you.

TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Thanksgiving Family Forum: Des Moines, IA. The anti-gay Family Leader will host a Thanksgiving Family Forum with GOP presidential candidates Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Ron Paul, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, pizza magnate Herman Cain, and Rep. Michele Bachmann “sitting shoulder to shoulder around a ‘Thanksgiving table’.” That hokey piece of stagecraft is the brainchild of organizer Bob Vander Plaats, who has this as a dress code: “the audience attire will be ‘business casual,’ but the candidates were asked ‘to dress like they’re going to Thanksgiving dinner’.” Which means that one of them will be wearing a loud green sweater with a giant white snowflake.

Noticably absent from the banquet is Gov. Mitt Romney, which has Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats steamed at the snub. “Mitt Romney has dissed this base in Iowa and this diss will not stay in Iowa,” he told Fox News. “This has national tentacles. … This might prove that he is not smart enough to be president. …I think what will happen is what happened in 2008. He’s been in this position before. He’s been on top of polls only to find his campaign tanking and sucking air.” Tell us how you really feel, Bob.

Family Leader promises that “ALL the questions will be centered around issues relating to the family and are designed to gauge the constitutional and biblical worldviews of the candidates.” And to make sure none of the candidates move too far from an anti-gay agenda, two ten-minute segments of the two-hour forum will be headed by Focus On the Family’s Tom Minnery, and the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown. The remainder of the one hour and forty minutes will be moderated by Fox News’ Frank Lutz. It begins at 4:00 p.m. at the First Federated Church in Des Moines. While the event is open to the press, the latest word has it that no major network will be televising it. Thank God for small favors.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
American Council of Christian Churches Calls AIDS “God’s Wrath”: 1989. Peter Steinfels wrote in the New York Times about a gathering earlier in November of U.S. Catholic Bishops in Baltimore that had met to hammer out a document responding to the AIDS crisis. The bishops decided overwhelmingly to reject the theological proposition that AIDS was in any way a punishment from God, a position held by one in four Americans, according to a recent poll. J. Gordon Melton, director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, had published 68 statements on AIDS from 45 different religious groups in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, and found “a remarkable” across both liberal and conservative religious groups recognizing that AIDS was not just a gay problem, and “that special ministries should be established to serve AIDS victims, their families and friends, and that the civil rights of homosexuals or of those with the AIDS virus should be protected.” But, The Times learned, that consensus wasn’t unanimous:

The Bible repeatedly describes God as employing all kinds of terrors, natural and human, to punish those who disobey his commands. These biblical accounts naturally governed the reaction of the American Council of Christian Churches, a fundamentalist group that recently expressed dismay at the consensus discovered by Mr. Melton. The council, which claims to represent about two million ”Bible Christians,” promptly went on record upholding the idea that AIDS is God’s wrath visited on homosexuals and drug addicts, although for their ultimate benefit if they turn to Jesus.

If you know of something that belongs on the Agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

As always, please consider this your open thread for the day.

The Daily Agenda for Saturday, October 8

Jim Burroway

October 8th, 2011

TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
First Openly Gay Ordination for the Presbyterian Church, USA: Madison, WI. Last May, the Presbyterian Church USA became the fourth mainline Protestant Church to allow the ordination of openly gay clergy. Today, that promise becomes a reality as Scott Anderson is ordained at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin. The Princeton Theological Seminary graduate had served as Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians before moving to Madison to become the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches.

Anderson’s ordination will mark his return to a ministry he was forced to abandon twenty-one years ago. In 1990, while working as a parish minister in Sacramento, he was threatened with exposure by a couple who wanted him to help raise money for a cause they were advancing that he disagreed with. Rather than submit to the couple’s threats, he outed himself instead, and in keeping with the church’s rules he stepped down as minister and embarked on the long process of working to change the church’s stance toward ordination of openly gay people. Anderson will be supported by his partner of twenty-one years at today’s ordination. Anderson is being ordained by the John Knox Presbytery, which consists of 60 congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN and Kent/Sussex, DE.

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA; Orlando, FL; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Tucson, AZ.

Also This Weekend: Iris Prize Film Festival, Cardiff, UK.

TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Values Voter Summit: Washington, D.C. Whenever the Family “Research” Council and the American Family Association team up to put on their annual Values Voter Summit, you can pretty much guarantee that they will more than live up to their reputation for being on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groups. Yesterday, we saw GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum give his most bizarre qualification yet for the presidency, when he told the conference that voters should “look at who they lay down with at night and what they believe.” That will be hard to top, although Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver gave it his best shot by saying that gay equality will lead to the destruction of Western Civilization.

Today’s lineup will be about as crazy as yesterday’s. The AFA’s Bryan Fischer, whose sheer lunacy knows no bounds, will be a featured speaker, along with FRC’s Tom McClusky and Tony Perkins, National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, American Values’ Gary Bauer, AFA’s Ed Vitagliano, Alliance Defense Fund’s Alan Sears, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, Glenn Beck and Bishop Harry Jackson, among many others. GOP Presidential candidates speaking today will be Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

Johnson “Embarrased” By Booing of American Soldier, Other Candidates Refuse To Comment

Jim Burroway

September 24th, 2011

ABC News’ Emily Friedman rounds up the reactions of GOP presidential candidates to the booing by audience members of Stephen Hill, a gay American Soldier stationed in Iraq, who asked about the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during Thursday night’s debate. On the night of the debate, Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. said he heard the booing and thought it was “unfortunate.” He later added, “We all wear the same uniform in America. We all salute the same flag I have two boys starting their journey in the U.S military. We should take more time to thank them for their services as opposed to finding differences based on background or orientation.”

After one news cycle passed, Sen. Rick Santorum claimed that he didn’t hear the booing (which was loud enough to actually create an echo in the vast hall in Orlando), and said he should have thanked the soldier for his service. At least that’s what he told Fox News. When speaking to ABC News, Santorum walked it backed a little.

“I didn’t hear it. I didn’t hear the boos,” Santorum told ABC News. “I heard the question and answered the question, so I’ve heard subsequently that happened. I’ve heard varied reports about whether they were booing the soldier or the policy.”

“I don’t know what they were booing,” he said. “If you can go out and find the people who were booing and find out if they were booing because a man was gay or because of a policy they don’t agree with.”

“You find out why they booed, and I’ll respond to your question,” he added.

Today, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said he was embarrassed by the episode:

“That’s not the Republican Party that I belong to,” said Johnson. “I’m embarrassed by someone who serves in the military and can’t express their sexuality. I am representing the Republican Party that is tolerant. And to me that shows an intolerance that I’m not a part of in any way whatsoever. ”

Johnson added that he could hear the boos from the stage and believes that the other candidates – despite Santorum’s denial – could as well.

That’s a second candidate who admitted he could hear the boos from the stage. Yet none of the nine candidates spoke up against the demonstrated disrepsect of an active-duty soldier stationed in Iraq, and none of them engaged in the time-honored Republican tradition of shoving each other out of the way in the race to thank that soldier for his service to the country.

And for six of those candidates, that silence continues through day three. Pizzaman Herman Cain refused to comment saying he didn’t want his comments “taken out of context.” Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s spokesperson refused to comment, as did the campaigns for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

GOP Candidates On Same-Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

August 12th, 2011

Think Progress has a handy compilation clip from Thursday night’s GOP debate in Iowa of candidates discussing same-sex marriage. One of my favorite reactions comes from across the Pond, with The Guardian’s Richard Adams responding to Romney’s argument that “marriage is a status“:

Looking back through some clips, there’s Romney saying: “Marriage is a status, it’s not an activity.” Who says romance is dead, eh? Calling marriage a “status” makes it sound like a Facebook update.

The emerging consensus, albeit a snarky one,  is that the debate’s real winner was Rick Perry, who doesn’t officially declare his candidacy until tomorrow.

Here’s the clip and transcript.

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Mitt Romney: Marriage should be decided at the federal level. … Marriage is a status. It’s not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state and as a result, our marriage status relationship should be constant across the country. I believe we should have a federal amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman because I believe the ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad.

Jon Huntsman: I also believe in civil unions, because I think this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality. And I think this nation can do a better job when it comes to reciprocal beneficiary rights rights. And I believe that this is something that ought to be discussed among the various states. I don’t have any problem with the states having this discussion. But as for me, I support civil unions.

Ron Paul: (About whether polygamy would “be okay too”) It’s sort of like asking the question if the states wanted to legalize slavery or something like that, that is so past reality that no state is going to do that. But on the issue of marriage, I think marriage should be between a single man and a single woman and that the federal government shouldn’t be involved. I want less government involvement. I don’t want the federal government having a marriage police.

Rick Santorum: It sounds to me like Rep. Paul would actually say polygamous marriages are okay. If the state has the right to do it, they have the right to do it.

Michele Bachmann: I support the Federal Marriage Amendment because I believe that we will see this issue at the Supreme Court someday, and as president I would not nominate activist judges who legislate from the bench. I also want to say that when I was in Minnesota, I was the chief author of the Constitutional amendment to define marriage as one-man, one-woman. I have an absolutely unblemished record when it comes to this issue of man-woman marriage.

GOP Presidential Candidates Debate Marriage, DADT

Jim Burroway

June 14th, 2011

Last night, seven candidates for the GOP presidential nomination appeared in a debate in New Hampshire, home to the nation’s first primay. Participating were Godfather Pizza magnate Herman Cain, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. And of course, LGBT issues came up in the debate.

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Only Herman Cain and Ron Paul opposed a Federal Marriage Amendment to ban marriage equality in the states.

Herman Cain said that he didn’t support repealing DADT, but he didn’t want the distractions that it would take to put it back into effect. Pawlenty says that he would seek the advice of “combatant commanders.” This wiggle room leaves open the likelihood that he would re-instate DADT. Ron Paul appeared to say the would keep it in place. He talked about punishing behavior, without specifying whether a consensual relationship between two people of the same gender would be punishable. Romney dodged the question altogether, saying that DADT should not have been repealed “until this conflict is over.” Gingrich answered by building a case for its reinstatement, an indication that he would work to restore the discriminatory policy. Bachmann said she “would keep the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.” When asked to clarify, she indicated that she would reinstate the policy after sufficiently cloaking it with “advice” from the military. Santorum took a lot of words to more or less repeat what Ron Paul said, but given the context of Santorum’s overall policies and attitudes toward gay people, I don’t think his eagerness to reimpose the policy would be much in doubt.

Not one candidate spoke about gay people as though they were taxpayers, patriots, or fellow citizens.

House Approves DADT Repeal

Jim Burroway

May 27th, 2010

Following an earlier vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to the House’s version of the Defense Authorization Bill that paves the way toward the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The vote was 234-194. Five Republicans broke ranks to vote for the measure. They were Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Charles Djou (HI), Judy Biggert (IL), Joseph Cao (LA), and Ron Paul (TX).

Update: Twenty-six Democrats voted against the amendment. They were Bobby Bright (AL), Marion Berry (AR), Mike Ross (AR), Sanford Bishop (GA), Daniel Lipinski (IL), Joe Donnelly (IN), Travis Childers (MS), Gene Taylor (MS), Ike Skelton (MO), Bob Etheridge (NC), Mike McIntyre (NC), Heath Shuler (NC), Earl Pomeroy (ND), Mark Critz (PA), John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC), Lincoln Davis (TN), John Tanner (TN), Chet Edwards (TX), Gene Green (TX), Solomon Ortiz (TX), Rick Boucher (VA), Nick Rahall (WV).

GayWired.com Endorsed Ron Paul!?!

Jim Burroway

January 31st, 2008

I can’t believe it! Have they completely lost their minds?

Author? Author?

Jim Burroway

January 10th, 2008

Re. Ron PaulSo, who really wrote Ron Paul’s newsletters?

Ron Paul released a very brief statement claiming that he was acting something like an absentee landlord with regard to those now-infamous newsletters:

When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.

Former Paul staffer Eric Dondero doesn’t agree:

Let me revise my remarks. I want to be very precise on this.

Lew Rockwell was 80% the Ghost writer for Ron Paul’s Newsletters. Again, key word “Ghost writer.”

I’d say Ron himself authored about half the Newsletter.

He’d have a yellow pad, and every time we traveled by car, he’d break it out while I was driving and scribble on it for hours.

When we got back from Houston, he’d either giver it to his daughter Lori in Clute, or Jean McCiver in Houston. They were the only two who could interpret his hand-writing. If it was Lori, she’d fax the draft to Marc Elam at his office on Fuqua in south Houston.

Jean McCiver worked out of that office directly for Elam.

She was the one who edited and put the Newsletter together. She would gather all the various items faxed from Rockwell, and faxed from Ron to input into the word processing program.

Let me also say, that there were many times Ron and I had to drive directly to the Fuqua office to meet the deadline, to get his “yellow-pad scribblings” to Jean.

Again, while Rockwell had a very heavy hand in the writing of the Newsletter, keep in mind Ron himself wrote a great deal of it as well.

Some caution may be in order. Last May, Eric Dondero announced that he would run against Ron Paul for his Texas Congressional seat, saying “I am the guy that got Ron Paul elected to Congress in 1996. I can and will defeat him in 2008.” Of Dondero, Rep. Paul said, “He’s a disgruntled former employee who was fired.” (Emphasis in the original)

None of this, of course, addresses how such newsletters could go out for at least seventeen years without Ron Paul’s notice or apology. Seventeen years is a hell of a run. And none of Ron Paul’s taking “moral responsibility” happened until long after those newsletters were published.

Whether Dondero is telling the truth or not, Paul’s explanation so far just doesn’t rise to the level of “moral responsibility.” Even if Paul’s explanation were entirely correct, then that means that we would have to believe that he allowed someone to use his name for seventeen years. And yes, I do keep emphasizing that point: Seventeen years! When someone “lends their name” to a cause, it ought to mean something. If it turns out it didn’t really mean anything then, then why should it mean anything now?

A man who doesn’t protect his good name is as bad as whoever who wrote these newsletters. Three short sentences doesn’t even begin to address what went on for nearly two decades. Paul has way more explaining to do.

Hat Tip: Ed Brayton

Update: In my post above, I did not mean to imply that I thought Eric Dondero wasn’t telling the truth. I was pre-emptively pointing out issues which may cause others to suggest that we shouldn’t believe him. I tend to believe him, but my point is that we don’t really have to accept his word. All we have to do is ask why Ron Paul allowed these repugnant opinions to go out under his name for such an incredibly long time. I can’t imagine my name being lent to something without my knowing what was said in my name. Not in a million years. And since I can’t imagine that, I have to assume that Paul knew exactly what was being written — whether he did the writing or someone else.

What’s In Ron Paul’s Closet?

Jim Burroway

January 8th, 2008

Re. Ron PaulJames Kirchik at the New Republic has been digging around some of Texas congressman Ron Paul’s old newsletters from the 1990’s. It’s not a pretty sight. The wacky conspiracy theories were entertaining, but comparatively speaking that’s nothing. The true horror is with the atrocious racial bigotry (including full-throated defenses of the old Confederacy and kind words for David Duke), anti-Semitism, and hysterical homophobic rants:

In 1990, one newsletter mentioned a reporter from a gay magazine “who certainly had an axe to grind, and that’s not easy with a limp wrist.” In an item titled, “The Pink House?” the author of a newsletter–again, presumably Paul–complained about President George H.W. Bush’s decision to sign a hate crimes bill and invite “the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony,” adding, “I miss the closet.” “Homosexuals,” it said, “not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

…(in 1990), citing a Christian-right fringe publication, an item suggested that “the AIDS patient” should not be allowed to eat in restaurants and that “AIDS can be transmitted by saliva,” which is false. Paul’s newsletters advertised a book, Surviving the AIDS Plague–also based upon the casual-transmission thesis–and defended “parents who worry about sending their healthy kids to school with AIDS victims.” Commenting on a rise in AIDS infections, one newsletter said that “gays in San Francisco do not obey the dictates of good sense,” adding: “[T]hese men don’t really see a reason to live past their fifties. They are not married, they have no children, and their lives are centered on new sexual partners.” Also, “they enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick.”

Southrn Baptist minister and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has been questioned extensively about his anti-gay comments, statements which are positively genteel compared to Paul’s. Rev. Huckabee refused to back down. Does Rep. Paul stand by his statements as well?

Update: The New Republic has posted a PDF of one of Ron Paul’s newsetters.

Update: The New Republic has now posted eighteen newsletters, all PDF’s. This isn’t us just taking Jamie’s word for it. True, almost none of these newsletters are actually bylined by Ron Paul. But they all have his name emblazoned across the top.

And this, I think, brings up a very important point. This blog doesn’t carry my name across the top, but as far as I am concerned it might as well. I am responsible for every post that appears in it, even for those few posts that I don’t necessarily agree with. While I don’t always agree with every post, I at least believe they are well reasoned and well written, and I will stand by them.

Ron Paul has tried to escape responsibility for these newsletters by claiming someone else wrote them. That doesn’t wash with me. These eighteen newsletters span from 1978 to 1995! This was not a one time thing.

But more importantly, Ron Paul’s name is emblazoned across the top of these newsletters. If you had a newsletter named after you, would you allow these articles to appear on your behalf? The answer couldn’t be easier: I wouldn’t. I’d have stuff like this killed in a New York minute. And if through some strange machinations the newsletter with my name on it were somehow wrested away from my control and stuff like this were printed under my name, I’d find the biggest, loudest bullhorn I could find to denounce it and everyone associated with it. That’s what responsibility looks like in the real world.

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