Jonathan Turley says Ron Paul’s response to Kayser endorsement is inadequate

Prominent attorney Jonathan Turley has called on Ron Paul to do more than remove the endorsement of Christian reconstructionist pastor Phil Kayser.

Turley thinks highly of Paul but is critical of his handling of the endorsement and the removal of the endorsement from the website.

Turley calls Kayser, Paul’s preacher problem, writing

Now Ron Paul has his own embarrassing association. The preacher is Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska, who has a following in Iowa. The Paul campaign issued a press release (that it later removed from its site) heralding the endorsement of Kayser. The problem is that Kayser believes that gays should be executed according to biblical law. It was a a highly destructive endorsement for Paul who is attracting civil libertarians to his campaign. No one can stop someone from endorsing you, but the campaign clearly sought this endorsement from an extremist with reprehensible views. Unlike Wright, Kayser is not Paul’s personal minister, but the press release made him Paul’s problem in reaching out to civil libertarians.

While the campaign was right to pull the press release, it now should take responsibility and disassociate from Kayser. This is, in my view, another example of the dangers of faith-based politics, something that I have long condemned as inimical to separation principles.

Turley is right. Paul appears to be ignoring this and hoping no one will ask or hold him accountable. He may get out of Iowa without dealing with it, but this is only the first contest. I think GOP voters in other states will want answers.

Related:

Kayser endorsement flap not having much impact on Iowa campaign

Several national news outlets covered the Phil Kayser endorsement story this week, but it may not be having much impact in Iowa.

I spoke earlier today with another pastor who has endorsed Ron Paul, Brian Nolder, who said that the big stories there are the Kent Sorenson defection and to a lesser degree Ron Paul’s newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s.

Rev. Nolder, who does not hold the same theonomic views as Phil Kayser, had heard of the matter but did not think it was having much impact on the campaign at present.

According to Nolder, evangelicals in Iowa are divided between those who want top down solutions to moral issues and those who want a smaller Federal government. He has opted to support Dr. Paul because he believes Paul has better solutions to our dept crisis. Many Christians are gravitating to Santorum because those Christians want the Federal government to reflect Christian morality, something they perceive Santorum to favor.

Earlier this week, I noted that Paul himself may not hold theonomic views himself but is attractive to Christian reconstructionists because they want to see the dismantling of a strong Federal government.

One group that might experience difficulty because of Kayser’s endorsement is his own church. A group called Progressive Oasis is calling on the University of Nebraska at Omaha to stop the Dominion Covenant Church from meeting on University grounds.

Phil Kayser’s endorsement of Ron Paul is the tip of the iceberg

Yesterday, I reported that Omaha pastor and Christian reconstructionist, Phil Kayser, endorsed Ron Paul for President. I pointed out that Kayser advocates the death penalty as viable for gays, juvenile delinquents and those committing other biblical offenses. Paul enthusiastically accepted the endorsement and, in turn, endorsed Kayser’s assessment of Paul politics. Kayser claimed that Paul’s views were the closest to biblical teaching of any of the other candidates. After Talking Points Memo posted an article about the endorsement, the Paul campaign removed the press release touting the “eminent” pastor’s endorsement.

Although the Paul campaign has not commented on the removal of the endorsement, it seems clearly connected to the adverse press generated by publication of the minister’s views on the death penalty. One might argue that Paul did not know of the minister’s views. He has claimed that he did not know about the racist and bigoted material that went out in newsletters bearing his name in the 1980s and 90s. He would probably claim he did not know Kayser’s views.

This seems implausible to me for two reasons. One, my impression as an evangelical is that Kayser is not well known outside of Christian reconstructionist circles. The Paul campaign’s description of Kayser as “eminent” is curious given that he teaches at a very small theonomist college and he does not pastor a well known mega-church. Someone with the campaign clearly researched his background and decided to glowingly tout the endorsement.

Second, Ron Paul ties to Christian reconstructionism go back a long way. Prominent Christian reconstructionist, Gary North, worked for Paul in the 1970s and periodically writes in glowing terms about Paul. North also favors the death penalty for homosexuality, adultery and other offenses listed as warranting death in Mosaic law.

In a 2007 article, North compared Paul to Mahatma Gandhi, writing on the same website where Paul also prolifically posts, North claimed:

What has this to do with Ron Paul, who is running for President? At least this much: he also opposes violence, he also opposes empire, and he also believes in the long run that justice will prevail. So, he does what Gandhi did. He keeps telling the story of how a better society can be built, must be built, and will eventually be built when men reduce their commitment to violence as a way of shaping the world. This includes violence committed by the civil government.

They called Gandhi the mahatma: the great self. Ron Paul is the mahatma of self-government.

Earlier this month, North a suggested speech for Ron Paul’s inauguration in 2013. It is clear that North, a consistent reconstructionist, believes Ron Paul is promoting a message which resonates with reconstructionism. The message now is essentially the same message now as when North worked for Paul in the 1970s. North wrote on December 21:

In June of 1976, I was Ron Paul’s speechwriter. Shortly after I joined his staff as his newsletter writer and economic analyst, I recommended that he do what I had been doing for a year: buy a Code-A-Phone telephone answering machine and make a weekly 3-minute recording for people in his districts to call. He could send the tape to his office in the district, where the machine would be set up at a local phone number. Residents could call it for free. He thought this was a good idea. So began his weekly speeches.

I wrote his first talk. He later told me that he didn’t like reading a script written by anyone else, so he had decided to record his own. As far as I know, that was the last speech anyone ever wrote for him.

He used that machine for the next two-and-a-half years. After his defeat in November 1976, he posted a weekly phone message. The weekly report became a tool for a comeback. In 1978, he defeated the man who had barely defeated him (268 votes) in 1976.

North was briefly a staffer for Paul when Paul was first elected to Congress and wrote his newsletter (I wonder if Gary North knows anything about those Ron Paul reports). Given this background, Kayser’s endorsement is really not at all out of the ordinary for Paul. I could be wrong, but I think Paul’s views are shaped and driven by a belief that central government is the enemy of freedom and prosperity. As I understand him, Paul wants all politics that matter to be local, allowing states and local governments to decide how to handle matters of private conduct, such as sexuality, drug use, marriage.

I think this rejection of a strong central government is what brings Paul and reconstructionists together, and has for a long time. Paul apparently believes laws criminalizing homosexuality are faulty but he defends the rights of local jurisdictions (e.g., Texas in the Lawrence v. Texas case) to determine via legislation how to handle such things. Reconstructionists, such as Kayser in Omaha, want freedom from the central government to apply biblical law to willing local jurisdictions. Apparently, that is ok with Dr. Paul, unless of course, saying it out loud hurts him politically. In that case, the endorsement just goes away.

Ron Paul quietly removes Phil Kayser endorsement from website; Kayser removes link to his death penalty book

UPDATE (12/29): As commenter Jessica Naomi points out, now Kayser has removed a link to his death penalty booklet. It is still hosted on his website read it here. Even though I think Paul should have to answer for the glowing words about Rev. Kayser, I can understand Paul’s action to remove the endorsement from his website. However, I am puzzled that Kayser would make his book harder to find.

After Talking Points Memo and Huffington Post covered Christian reconstructionist Phil Kayser’s endorsement of Ron Paul (first reported here), the Paul campaign has quietly taken the controversial press release from their website.

The Google cache is here, a screen capture is here and a pdf of the page is here.

The TPM reporters called Kayser and he acknowledged the beliefs he posted in his book defending the death penalty.

Related:

Bachmann’s campaign manager defects to Ron Paul, needs to change Twitter motto

Earlier today Kent Sorenson appeared with Michele Bachmann at an Iowa campaign event and then a bit later Bachmann’s campaign manager announced that he joined up with Ron Paul. He became an ex-Bachmann.

Given this defection, Sorenson’s motto on his Twitter account is interesting:

His new motto should be:

Screw standing for something, I just want to win!

Why Ron Paul appeals to Christian Reconstructionists

I think I may have this figured out.

I have been thinking about why New Apostolic Reformation dominionists like Rick Perry, and Michelle Bachmann but Christian reconstruction dominionists like Ron Paul. We know why they don’t like Mitt Romney (hint – in Christian dominionism of any sort, Mormons can’t implement biblical law).

But back to NAR 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:

Can you imagine John Hagee as Secretary of State?

This is exactly the threat—top-down threat, totalitarian threat, eschatological holocaust threat—that 7MD presents to us.

American Vision is not that; they are not us; we are not them.

Perhaps more should be written on these guys and the threats they pose to society. They may have a few better political ideas, but they are just as dangerous in degree as the most radical of the left.

McDurmon distinguishes his view of government from the NAR (7Mountains) approach:

The First and most concerning point is that the 7MD version does what critics of traditional dominion theology have falsely accused us of doing the whole time: planning to grab the reins of influence through whatever means necessary, usurp the seats of political power, and impose some tyrannical “theocracy” upon society from the top down with a “whether you like it or not, it’s for your own good” mentality.

We have responded, consistently, that our blueprint is about the rollback of tyranny, not the replacement of it—the removal of unjust taxation, welfare, warfare, government programs, etc. We favor privatization, local control of civil and criminal law, hard and sound money, and private charity for cases of poverty, all led by families, businesses, and churches—not large, centralized, top-down solutions. Yes, we would properly recriminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion, but in a decentralized world like we want, you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.

So at least some of the ends are the same, but the Christian reconstructionists want to rollback the central government and allow states and local governments to make and enforce law with the Bible as a guide. Those who didn’t agree could go somewhere else. The reconstructionist desire to locate power away from the central government is what, I believe, brings in endorsements from reconstructionist pastors, like Phillip Kayser.

A very explicit reconstructionist case for Ron Paul was made recently on the Theonomy resources website by Bojidar Marinov. As a reconstructionist, his support for Paul was based not on his personal views but on his overall philosophy of governance. Marinov wrote:

It is not Ron Paul that we are looking at when we vote for him; we are looking at God’s purpose for our generation; at what enemies He wants us to rout in our generation; and at what must be done in our generation to advance the Kingdom of God.

The great Battle of Our Time is the battle against the socialist welfare-warfare state. While the issues of abortion and sodomy – the two issues that Stephen criticizes Ron Paul for – are important, they are to a very great extent subservient to the issue of the socialist state. Sodomites and abortionists are protected by the centralized government in Washington, DC. The theonomic solution to the problems of sodomy and abortion can not be achieved at the Federal level because at that level liberals outnumber conservatives 20 to 1. And theonomic Christians are almost non-existent at that level. It is only when the socialist state is dismantled and power returned back to the states and the counties that we will be able to successfully deal with the other social and moral issues. As long as sin is protected at the Federal level, our political job as Christians is to dismantle the Federal bureaucracy and return all power to the local communities. Therefore, the great battle is against the socialist state.
Given that, Ron Paul is the man with the best position to work for that goal on the national level. We must join him not because of him but because we recognize the great battle, and recognize where our place is. Once we win that battle, we can move to the next one. But refusing support to an ally for the most important issue we are facing today only because we find deal-breakers in smaller issues is not wise.

The job of theonomists (those who believe the Bible should be the civil law) is to dismantle the Federal government. When issues of morality (sodomites and abortionists) are taken from the central government and put into to the localities can the real Christian reconstruction begin (see this post if you want to know what that means).

Does Paul fit the reconstructionist vision? Given the current political alternatives, I can see why reconstructionists would think so. Consider Paul’s criticism of the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned laws against sodomy.

Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights — rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.

Viewed from the lens of state’s rights, Paul’s praise of the voter recall of Iowa Supreme Court judges over gay marriage and his support for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, incomprehensible to the NAR dominionist who wants ideological purity, make sense and is actually a plus for the Christian reconstructionist. In Paul’s vision, the people in the states do what they want with various sinners, the Feds will just protect their right to do so. Your civil rights in this kind of world would depend on the state in which you live. If you live in California, then the sky is the limit; if you live in Mississippi then, as recontrustionist McDurmon advises, you better either move, or, as Paul supporter Phillip Kayser hopes, get back in whatever closet you came out of.

Update: Talking Points Memo spoke to Phillip Kayser today and he confirmed my thoughts above. Paul is appealing because reconstruction would be easier in a decentralized America. Now, what will Paul do with that information?

Related:

What Does Ron Paul Really Believe About Gays?

What do Dan Savage and AFTAH’s Mike Heath have in common?

Ron Paul touts endorsement of pastor who defends death penalty for gays, delinquent children & adultery

Ron Paul touts endorsement of pastor who defends death penalty for gays, delinquent children & adultery

Phillip Kayser is pastor of the Dominion Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska, just across the border from Iowa. Yesterday, Rev. Kayser endorsed Ron Paul for President.  The Paul campaign clearly welcomed the endorsement calling Kayser an “eminent pastor.” Ron Paul’s Iowa Chairman, Drew Ivers, commended Kayser’s view of Paul’s approach to government, saying

“We welcome Rev. Kayser’s endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.  We’re thankful for the thoughtfulness with which he makes his endorsement and hope his endorsement and others like it make a strong top-three showing in the caucus more likely,” said Ron Paul 2012 Iowa Chairman Drew Ivers.

Dr. Kayser has degrees in education, theology and philosophy/ethics.  He is the author of over 40 books and booklets.  The name of one organization that he founded describes well his ministry: Biblical Blueprints.  His passion is to see the comprehensive blueprints of the Scriptures applied to science, civil government, education, art, history, economics, business, and every area of life.

For his part, Kayser said he had some disagreements with Paul but endorsed Paul due to Paul’s views on limited government, non-intervention abroad and civics. Kayser said Paul’s view of civics is “far closer to Biblical civics than any of the other candidate’s…”

Kayser’s endorsement and the Paul campaign’s response (“…how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs”) is of note because what Kayser believes about government. It appears that Kayser is a Christian reconstructionist (see this post about their views) who believes that the penalties associated with Mosaic law should be implemented today. Also, known as theonomy, the adherents generally believe biblical rules should be promoted by Christians in politics and implemented by legislation.

Kayser’s work is promoted on the website Theonomy Resources which is run by Stephen Halbrook. I wrote about Halbrook’s book on biblical law here and noted that he promoted the idea that homosexuality, adultery, idolatry and rebellion in children should be considered capital offenses today (see What would dominionists do with gays? Part 3).

In his own writing, Kayser has similar views. In defense of the death penalty, he writes:

Whereas Hebrews 2:2 gives a blanket endorsement of all Old Testament penology as justice, the rest of the New Testament gives specifics. It teaches that homosexuals who come out of the closet are “worthy of death” (Rom. 1:32). It teaches that juvenile delinquents who abuse their parents can in certain circumstances “be put to death” (Mt. 15:3-9) and that rejection of this provision was to “transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition” (v. 3).

Kayser nuances his teaching somewhat by saying the death penalty is not required by the Old Testament, but instead may be implemented by the state if parents press charges.

Would the church of today receive the same scathing denunciation because we do not want the state to enforce this law? In America we have juvenile delinquents who threaten their parents, abuse their parents and keep their parents in constant fear. There should be some provision where this could be stopped. Keep in mind that in the Old Testament the parents couldn’t put their children to death, only the state could. On the other hand, the state couldn’t put them to death unless the parents testified against them. And there are many other checks and balances in Biblical jurisprudence that are outlined in Appendix A. But Christ gives no indication that this commandment has been annulled. Instead, he reproves those who would seek to annul it.

Regarding gays, Kayser’s vision for a nation being restored to biblical law allows for a variety of responses:

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. (p. 24)

I don’t know if Ron Paul believes this way or not, but Rev. Kayser and the Paul campaign certainly seem to endorse each other on their views of government. I think Rep. Paul should be asked if he would support the right of a state to implement such a system. If he is consistent with his past writings and current endorsers, I don’t know on what basis he would believe that a federal court could overturn laws recriminalizing homosexuality.

Adultery is also listed by Kayser as a potential capital crime. Um, Newt…

UPDATE: Phillip Kayser’s endorsement has been scrubbed from Ron Paul’s website.

Related:

What Does Ron Paul Really Believe About Gays?

What do Dan Savage and AFTAH’s Mike Heath have in common?

What do Dan Savage and AFTAH’s Mike Heath have in common?

They both support Ron Paul.

In a Slate article out yesterday, gay activist Dan Savage (the inspiration behind the It Gets Better campaign), defended Ron Paul in comparison with social conservatives like Rick Santorum, saying:

“…Ron [Paul] may not like gay people, and may not want to hang out with us or use our toilets, but he’s content to leave us the fuck alone and recognizes that gay citizens are entitled to the same rights as all other citizens. Santorum, on the other hand, believes that his bigotry must be given the force of law. That’s an important difference.”

And then there is the chair of the board of the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Mike Heath. He is currently the Iowa State Director for Ron Paul’s campaign. Obviously, he too is a Ron Paul supporter but in his former positions, he has a record more in alignment with Rick Santorum than Ron Paul. Heath was lauded in an AFTAH article as being the only person in history to successfully turn back two state gay rights laws (in Maine in 1998 and 2001).

Maybe Heath has changed his views. Heath has not yet replied to my email asking what he thought of Savage’s characterization of Ron Paul’s views.

Having examined a sampling of Paul’s writings and looking at who is endorsing him in Iowa, I think Savage is only partly correct about Paul. I agree that Paul wants the federal government to leave gays alone. State government, however, is another matter. Paul criticized the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision because he believes the state has the right to make laws concerning sexuality.

In Ron Paul’s version of the world, gays would be free from interference from Washington, DC, but if Iowa, or Texas, or South Carolina wanted to recriminalize homosexual behavior, then Paul would support their right to do so.

As it turns out, the strange bedfellows are not limited to those on the opposite ends of the culture war. If there is a candidate favored by Christian reconstructionists in the GOP field, it would have to be Ron Paul. Recently, Paul was endorsed by a prominent Christian Reconstructionist pastor in Iowa, an endorsement touted by Paul on his website.

More on why Paul is attractive to Christian reconstructionists will come in a post later today.

Related:

What Does Ron Paul Really Believe About Gays?

What does Ron Paul really believe about gays?

Currently, with one week remaining until Iowa’s Presidential Caucus, Ron Paul is in the hot seat. The Texas GOP hopeful denies writing racist columns for a newsletter bearing his name during the 1990s. Examining Paul’s denials, the Washington Post’s Josh Hicks gave Paul three Pinocchios which according to the Post means that Paul’s statements are misleading and use “legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.”

Paul’s views on gays are also open to question. One newsletter citation, frequently noted in the press, relates to his views on gays and HIV. Reportedly Paul said that gays “enjoy the attention” of that illness. In another 1989 newsletter, he criticizes the Massachusetts legislature for passing a gay rights laws, and implies that gays wanted to promote pedophilia:

Given the fact that Paul recently reversed himself and voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, one might wonder if his views on gays have changed. However, the Paul campaign’s current State Director is Mike Heath. Heath is also the chairman of the board of the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality and once worked to oppose state initiatives such as the one condemned by Paul in the 1989 newsletter. A 2010 article on the AFTAH website describes Heath as

…the former executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine and the new executive director of American Family Association of New England. (Heath will also retain the title of AFA of Maine.) He is also the only pro-family leader in American history to direct (as part of a pro-family coalition in Maine) the defeat of two statewide homosexual “special rights” laws, 1998 and 2001. In this interview, Heath, the Board Chairman of AFTAH, touches on the new evangelical politics surrounding anti-”gay marriage” initiatives — in which principled advocates against homosexuality like Heath are ostracized in the name of building coalitions more palatable to “moderate” voters.

AFTAH describes itself as “a group dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda.” Last year, the organization was listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to frequent misrepresentations and vilification of gays in public statements and literature. Just recently, AFTAH used the Penn State child abuse scandal as a platform to link sex crimes of pedophiles with homosexuality.

Apparently, Heath’s work is having some effect in Iowa with at least one endorsement touted on Paul’s website. According to the news release announcing the endorsement, Heath has been to “295 houses of worship” in Iowa. On the matter of gays and gay rights, I wonder what position is being articulated in those houses of worship.

Given his prior newsletters and his current staff, it is fair to ask what Ron Paul really believes. Despite Paul’s denials, his views in 2012 may be about what they were in 1989.

UPDATE: Here is more on Ron Paul’s views from a former staffer. According to Eric Dondero, Paul is uncomfortable around gays but believes they should be free to do whatever they please in their private lives. The Paul campaign is taking this seriously, responding to CBS News over the matter.

If Paul had any chances to catch on with the mainstream, they are pretty much gone now. He claims he didn’t write the racist and bigoted newsletters but he has yet to name who did. He says he does not know but he has not, as far as I can read, given even a theory about who did or how he could recommend the newsletter without knowing what was in it.

 

David Barton adds to history and the Bible at the same time

Today Right Wing Watch has a clip of David Barton claiming that the Founders based our republican form of government on Exodus 18:21. He added that some Founders actually referred to the Exodus passage as the basis for electing people to various office at the local, state and federal levels. Here is the clip:

Barton claims that “God set out elections at the very beginning.” He added that Israel was a monarchy later but before that “God established elections.”

However, that is not what happened according to Exodus 18. To get the context, I cite here Exodus 18:13-26. In this passage, Moses is lamenting to his father-in-law, Jethro, that he has to judge disputes of the people all day long. His father-in-law responded to Moses’ complaint with some good advice.

 13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.

Moses did not put the matter to the people in an election. He simply chose able people who could serve as judges over the people. It is remarkable to me that Barton would claim that this passage is the basis for popular elections when the Bible is clear that Moses did the choosing and appointing.

Barton then insists that the Founders referred to Exodus 18:21 as the basis for Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution. That section states:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

In the short clip, Barton does not give any names; he just says “the Founding Fathers who wrote that cited Exodus 18:31 as the basis.” I will have to study this a bit more but an initial search for confirmation of this has come up empty.

On Barton’s Wallbuilder’s website, Barton links the verse to early writers but he actually adds the reference to their writing. For instance, consider this reference to Noah Webster. Barton quotes Noah Webster and adds the reference to Exodus 18:21.

Founding Father Noah Webster delivered a similar admonition:

Let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God [Exodus 18:21]. . . . [I]f the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted . . . If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.

However, in Webster’s book, the reference is not there:

Webster did not cite Exodus 18:21 as a basis for favoring elections as Barton implies on his website. Barton leaves a false impression that James Otis referred to the Exodus passage when, in fact, he did not. Elsewhere on the Wallbuilder’s site, he claims that Exo. 18:21 supports the Republican form of government but does not cite anyone who wrote the Constitution.

Even if a Framer did refer to the Exodus passage, that would not mean that Framer was correct in asserting that God established elections via the advice from Jethro. Many Framers believed that leaders should fear God and be honest. However, this does not mean they took the concept of representative government from Exodus.

Clearly Jethro’s advice was enlightened. Moses needed help and delegating authority was a wise approach. However, Jethro did not advise Moses to nominate some good people and then let the people vote.