No Minister of the Gospel Shall Be Eligible to the Office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor or a Seat in the General Assembly

Does this title represent a sinister new proposal by the godless left to keep Christian ministers from political office?

Hardly. Rather, this is a section from the 1817 Constitution of the State of Mississippi. Apparently, the framers of that Constitution believed that the care of souls could be distracted by the care of the government. After posting Jake MacAulay’s article on the issue of belief in God as a requirement to hold office, I checked out the original Mississippi Constitution. Section 6 contains the words quoted by MacAulay. However, the very next section forbids Christian ministers from seeking public office.

Section 6. No person who denies the being of God, or of a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.

Section 7. Ministers of the Gospel being by their profession, dedicated to God, and the care of souls, ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions. Therefore, no minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to the office of Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or to a seat in either branch of the General Assembly.

Jake MacAulay lauded Mississippi for including belief in God as a requirement for public service. Will he also laud Section 7 which disallowed ministers from public office? Which of these planks is the so-called “American view” of law and government?

The framers of the federal Constitution were wise to specifically prohibit religious tests. The American view is reflected in their work.  The Institute on the Constitution is an organization dedicated to misinforming the public and cannot be trusted.

Institute on the Constitution Rep Argues Against the Constitution on Religious Test Clause

Institute on the Constitution Director of Operations Jake MacAulay today argued against the Constitution on Matt Barber’s Barbwire website.
MacAulay noted that seven states still have requirements that office holders in those states believe in a god.

There are seven states including Maryland with language in their constitutions that prohibits people who do not believe in God from holding public office.

Besides Maryland, the other six states with language in their constitutions that prohibit people who do not believe in God from holding public office are Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Such bans were declared unconstitutional by Torcaso v. Watkins in 1961.

Torcaso v. Watkins
No. 373
Argued April 24, 1961
Decided June 19, 1961
367 U.S. 488
APPEAL FOM THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND
Syllabus
Appellant was appointed by the Governor of Maryland to the office of Notary Public, but he was denied a commission because he would not declare his belief in God, as required by the Maryland Constitution. Claiming that this requirement violated his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, he sued in a state court to compel issuance of his commission, but relief was denied. The State Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the state constitutional provision is self-executing, without need for implementing legislation, and requires declaration of a belief in God as a qualification for office. Held: This Maryland test for public office cannot be enforced against appellant, because it unconstitutionally invades his freedom of belief and religion guaranteed by the First Amendment and protected by the Fourteenth Amendment from infringement by the States. Pp. 367 U. S. 489-496.

A South Carolina case addressed that state’s religious test by specifically referring to Article VI of the Constitution:

Silverman v. Campbell, 326 S.C. 208, 486 S.E.2d 1 (1997):  In this case, the South Carolina Supreme Court held Article VI, section 2 (“No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution) and Article XVII, section 4 (“No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution) of the South Carolina Constitution violated the First Amendment and the Religious Test of the United States Constitution by barring persons who denied the existence of a “Supreme Being” from holding office.  At that time, only two states, North Carolina and South Carolina, required a religious test for public office. Full Case Materials

It is clear the framers did not intend for religion to be a test because the Constitution forbids such tests. From Article VI, paragraph three of the Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

In light of the Constitution’s clear statement here, consider this absurd statement from MacAulay:

So this constitutional requirement that an office holder must believe in God is a logical and consistent protection against those who might drive our constitutional republic in a bad direction.

This isn’t about discrimination or bigotry.  It’s about ensuring that those holding office in America are committed to the true, lawful, American philosophy of government.

Apparently, the Constitution got it wrong, according to the Institute on the Constitution’s Director of Operations. In his argument in favor of a religious test, he seems oblivious to the fact that the Constitution forbids such a test. In essence, MacAulay argues that the federal Constitution is wrong and does not represent the “true, lawful, American philosophy of government.”

This and other clear problems are why no school child should be confused and misled by the IOTC’s teaching on the Constitution via their inaccurately named American Clubs. That Matt Barber, who works at the Liberty University law school, posted this mess is another reason why no student should attend Liberty University’s School of Law.



 
 

Institute on the Constitution Uses Spurious George Washington Quote to Mislead Followers

The Institute on the Constitution, founded by former League of the South board member Michael Peroutka, bills itself as an educational outreach of Peroutka’s law firm. I have contended for over a year that the IOTC is a theocratic enterprise which does not educate but rather misleads followers about the Constitution.
Today I note an illustration of how the IOTC subtly misinforms followers. On their Facebook page, the IOTC attributes to George Washington the following spurious quote:

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible

According to the IOTC Facebook page, this post has been shared 66 times. That is a lot of ignorance going around.
According to Mt. Vernon website, there is no evidence that Washington ever said this.  The exact quote has never been located in Washington’s works. A similar quote was first included, without citation, in an book published long after Washington’s death. There is no evidence he ever said this.
This is not the first fake Washington quote used by the IOTC to advance their agenda.
The IOTC course on the Constitution is riddled with errors and cannot be trusted as a source on the subject. In addition, the IOTC has posted material on the organization’s website defending racial and religious discrimination. Peroutka believes the wrong side won the Civil War.
The IOTC is making a strong push to establish what they call “American Clubs” in public schools. In my view, these clubs are dangerous and should be resisted by parents. It is beyond disgusting that the Liberty Counsel, affiliated with Liberty University, defends the American Clubs in school districts who attempt to resist them.
 

League of the South President Lauds Michael Peroutka's County Council Victory

As noted earlier today, former League of the South board member and founder of the theocratic Institute on the Constitution, Michael Peroutka, won the District 5 County Council race in Anne Arundel County MD.
His friend Michael Hill, president of the League of the South, offered his congratulations to Peroutka on the League’s Facebook page.
LoSCongratsPeroutka
 
 

Michael Peroutka Wins Anne Arundel County Council Race

Michael Peroutka won the Anne Arundel County (MD) District 5 Council seat over Patrick Armstrong by around 1900 votes.
Peroutka, founder of the Institute on the Constitution and former League of the South board member, will on paper give the Republicans a majority on the Council. However, more accurately, the Council now consists of three Democrats, three Republicans and Peroutka, a Theocrat who believes the wrong side won the Civil War.
 
 
 

Decision Day for Michael Peroutka and Republicans in Maryland Tomorrow

A lot of important elections tomorrow. One I have been following is Michael Peroutka’s bid to gain a seat on Anne Arundel County’s county council. Peroutka is the subject of an election eve article in The American Prospect. The article asks if a neo-Confederate, theocrat can get elected in one of the richest U.S. counties. Good question; we’ll soon find out.
Peroutka, who doesn’t believe in civil rights or public schools but deceives the public about having one of his Constitution clubs in the public schools he dislikes, might win. Even though he was a defender of the white separatist League of the South until recently, and according to a source who does not want to be named, still supports the League financially, Peroutka might garner enough votes to defeat his Democrat challenger.
No matter how you look at it, a Peroutka win would be a disaster for the GOP.

Peroutka Should Not Be Surprised by White Separatism in the League of the South

Michael Peroutka told the Baltimore Sun that he quit the League of the South when he found online some views of interracial marriage held by League members that were “contrary to his beliefs.” I find this to be extremely doubtful. Peroutka has been going to League of the South meetings since at least 20o4 when he was endorsed by the League in his Constitution Party quest for president. While I realize he may not have attended this session, League of the South president Michael Hill presented his opposition to interracial marriage at the same 2o12 League of the South conference where Peroutka led the crowd in singing “I Wish I Was in Dixie” (at 50:34 into the video) and called it the “national anthem.”
At 45:30 minutes into this speech, Hill describes his hope that his children marry in his race.
[youtube]http://youtu.be/ovLGfoEo0Sc?t=44m[/youtube]
He proceeds to extol white pride and the superior accomplishments of Western Civilization.
Again, it is possible that Peroutka missed this session but it seems unlikely to me that he never heard these views spoken at a League meeting.
 
 
 

Michael Peroutka Should Elaborate on Reasons He Quit the League of the South

I heard early yesterday that former League of the South board member Michael Peroutka and leader of the theocratic Institute on the Constitution quit the organization. In an article dated today in the Baltimore Sun, Peroutka is quoted as saying he quit the League. He declined to give reasons.
Update: Somehow I missed this section from the Sun article (comments in italics added on 10/18)

Peroutka, a Millersville Republican, said he left the group prior to Labor Day because he discovered statements members made on the subject of being opposed to interracial marriage were “contrary to my beliefs.” He would not elaborate.

I saw the article as soon as it was posted the night before; perhaps this section was added. In any case, I apologize for the omission.
Peroutka’s “discovery” is suspicious. The League has made no secret about white separatist views and Peroutka has been going to and speaking at League of the South meetings since at least 2004 when the organization endorsed his candidacy for president. 
After defending the League of the South early in his campaign for Anne Arundel County Council, Peroutka now suddenly announces he is no longer a member and he doesn’t want to talk about it. To me, that is not sufficient. Peroutka needs to further explain his reasons for first defending and then quitting a group which defends white separatism, especially since that group does not hide those views. Although Peroutka says the move was not for political reasons, without a more plausible explanation there is no reason to believe him.
Peroutka also told the Sun that he was taken out of context when he led the audience in singing the song “I Wish I Was in Dixie” at a League of the South meeting. He called the song the “national anthem.” The entire video is on You Tube (see below). He wasn’t taken out of context. That he continues to spin the situation is an indicator that he is still not being straightforward.
Peroutka even wrote League of the South president Michael Hill when he won the GOP primary for county council and asked for League support. Perhaps the League didn’t come through.
Furthermore, I have heard from a source close to the situation that Peroutka continues to support candidates who have ties to the League of the South, most notably the GOP candidate for sheriff Joe Delimater.
David Whitney, the co-teacher at the Institute on the Constitution, is still listed as chaplain of the Maryland-Virginia chapter of the League of the South.
It is quite possible that Peroutka quit the League in order to preserve his connection to Ken Ham. Ham is supposed to present his creationist position on behalf of Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution this coming weekend. Ham’s organization denied Peroutka was a member of the League and refused to address clear evidence that Peroutka did belong to it. Perhaps, Ham threatened to back out if Peroutka remained a member.
If Peroutka wants this move to be taken seriously, he needs to do better than he has so far and explain his departure from the League.
Watch Peroutka lead the League of the South in Dixie, or in Peroutka’s words, the national anthem.
[youtube]http://youtu.be/mPhRtS0WdcU?t=50m36s[/youtube]
 
 

IOTC Brings Theocratic Lessons to the Public School

The Institute on the Constitution continues their quest to bring theocratic lessons to school children. Regularly requesting non-deductible donations for their efforts, IOTC is working to start inappropriately named, “American Clubs” to public schools. IOTC’s lead teacher David Whitney teaches that only born again Christians should be citizens, the federal government has no role in commerce, and that civil government should worship God according to their reconstructionist ideas.
Unfortunately, some teachers are buying in to these ideas. Take this unidentified public school teacher (I’m guessing from Maryland or Ohio):

If I knew the school where this club was established, warnings could be provided to parents in that district. Unfortunately, there is little a school district can do to prevent the distortion of the Constitution to be presented by the IOTC.
If anyone recognizes this teacher, let me know.

Ken Ham's Organization Denies Facts About Conference Sponsors

Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis is misinforming questioners about Michael Peroutka who is sponsoring of next month’s creationism speech at a church in Severn, MD. According to AiG representative Troy Lacey, Michael Peroutka never was a part of the League of the South. Acting on a tip from a reader who first wrote AiG earlier in the day, I wrote the organization and asked:

I understand that Ken Ham is speaking at an event in Severn, MD sponsored by Michael Peroutka. Mr. Peroutka is a member and former board member of the League of the South, a Southern nationalist secession group. 

Is Mr. Ham aware of Mr. Peroutka’s affiliation with the League of the South?

Mr. Lacey answered on behalf of AiG:

Hello Warren thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis. Ken Ham is speaking at Severn Christian Church in Severn, MD on October 18th; not to an organization. He was invited by the church leadership to speak there on Creation evangelism topics. The group that is sponsoring the conference appears to be a conservative constitutional reform party, but nothing more that I can see. As an organization we do not involve ourselves in politics.
To answer your question, to our knowledge Michael Peroutka was not a member of nor ever a former board member of the League of the South organization.
I hope this has been helpful,
Troy Lacey

The ad for the event lists the Institute on the Constitution as the sponsors, not the church. I wrote the church to ask for comment with no response.
kenhamdebate
 
The church may be doing more than providing the venue, but it is clear that Ham is being featured by the IOTC which is a DBA label for Michael Peroutka.
There can be no doubt that Michael Peroutka is a member and defender of the League of the South. He refused to distance himself from them at his news conference last month, he wrote the League’s president Michael Hill and asked for support from them, he proudly served as a board member for nearly a year, and he pledged the resources of the IOTC and his family to the aims of the League.
Clearly, AiG is misinformed or hoping to mislead questioners. Ham is speaking at an organization sponsored event and Michael Peroutka was and is a member of the League of the South.
The question now is what will Ham do about it? The denial of Peroutka’s membership seems to imply that the League of the South connection could be a problem for Ham and AiG (as it was for General Jerry Boykin).  We shall see.