The Daily Beast examines Ron Paul’s Reconstructionist roots

Last week, I reported that Ron Paul hired Mike Heath (is he still AFTAH board chair?), and that Ron Paul touted an endorsement from an Omaha pastor who wants to implement Mosaic law, complete with executions for gays, adulterers and delinquent children.

Today, the Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg examines the topic and notes that many evangelicals who are coming Paul’s way today in Iowa lean toward the Reconstructionist side of the evangelical world.  The other interesting aspect of her article is the brief examination of the difference between dispensational and covenant theologies. The covenant folks believe that the Church is a replacement of sorts for Israel and that the Church will bring back the Kingdom of God on Earth. Dispensationalists believe that God will keep his promises to Israel and will remove the Church from the Earth during the “rapture” thus setting the stage for the coming Kingdom of God.

Often dispensationalists think political action is pointless since the world is coming to a bad end. Covenant adherents, among which are Reconstructionists, think that political takeover is necessary. One can see how the New Apostolic Reformation can work with the Christian Reconstructionists. However, as I pointed out last week, they part company over political ends. Reconstructionists favor a decentralized central government which would allow them to set up enclaves where Christian law dominates. New Apostolic Reformationists (e.g., Lou Engle, Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs) want the law at the Federal level to reflect Christian teaching in order to offset the judgment of God on the nation.

Does it seem odd and perhaps disconcerting that one must understand the nuances of Christian eschatology in order to understand what is happening in the GOP race for the nomination? Some reporters, like Goldberg, Pema Levy and Benjy Sarlin at TPM are getting it. I know Sarah Posner with Religion Dispatches is in Iowa today and she gets it. The gentlemen over at Right Wing Watch get it.

Do evangelical writers get it? Gentle reader, please enlighten me if I have missed it, but I cannot recall an evangelical writer or news source examining end times theology (and all it involves) as an influence on political theory.

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.

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!

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 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.

 

A Peter Waldron Sighting in Iowa: Spreading the Gospel of Michele Bachmann

Peter Waldron, the man who helped Michele Bachmann take the Iowa caucus vote in August, is back in Iowa organizing pastors. According to the New York Times yesterday, Waldron was deploying his faith based strategies:

One Bachmann aide, Peter Waldron, gathered 16 evangelical pastors in Des Moines last week to discuss strategy. “These are our caucus-builders,” Mr. Waldron said. “We have a very deliberate plan. It’s been thought-out, prayed over.”

The plan probably looks something like the one he implemented for Gary Bauer in 2000, and described here. Waldron might be informing pastors in Iowa that Bachmann is like King David and Rick Perry like King Saul as he said in August, just after the straw poll victory. Churches are prime source of campaign energy in the plan, turning them into political organizing stations, where they spread the gospel of their favorite candidate.

Donald Trump for President?

March Madness is here.

And I don’t mean NCAA basketball.

GOP suits are in Iowa testing the waters for a run at the nomination. The most entertaining aspect has to be the potential for Donald Trump to enter the fray. Although Trump was not there, he sent a water tester along to find out what Iowa is.

Michael Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel to Trump’s company, met with Iowa Republicans.

“We do understand that Iowa is the first stop if anyone is interested in the presidential election. Certainly … we are very anxious to learn about Iowa and be able to report back to Mr. Trump when he hopefully decides to run in June,” Cohen said.

Always good to do due diligence prior to a big purchase.

If Trump gets the nomination, I think he should choose his VP like he runs his reality show The Apprentice; call it Vice-President Apprentice. Put Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrinch on a team and Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and Mike Huckabee on another team. Trump could fire someone after each challenge and end up with his Veep. Watching the board room antics would be must see TV.

Iowa Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Same-sex marriage in the heart land.
Note the attorney quoted at the end of the article: Richard Socarides. Charles Socarides son. English majors, help me, is that irony?
It seems even clearer to me that this issue will eventually come before the Supreme Court. Can the nation long sustain a patchwork quilt of laws regulating marriage?
Here is the ruling summarized with a link to the full court documents.