Will the Real Institute on the Constitution Please Stand Up?

Last week, a representative of the Institute on the Constitution, John Lofton, touted a  new initiative to alert elected officials that they must administer God’s law rather than make their own laws. Called the God and Government project, Lofton wants followers to go to town council, school board and other local government meetings with 2-3 minutes speeches promoting the IOTC view of civil government.  You can read all of them at the link, but I will cite the first one.

Suggested Statement for Those Going Alone
(The greeting you are most comfortable with but one that is respectful)
My name is __________________. And I wanted to come here this evening to tell about what God says is the duty of those holding the public office you hold.
In the 13th chapter of the book of Romans in the New Testament, God’s says that those who govern us, such as this (yourselves, this Council, whatever) are ministers of God — that actual word “minister” is used. And that you are a minister of God to us for good, for good, as defined by God’s Word. And that you are, conversely, to bring wrath on those who are evil — evil as defined by God’s Word.
Thus, your job is ministerial and not legislative. Your job is to administer and apply God’s Law. And this means it is not the role of government to house or feed or clothe or give health care or education or welfare to anyone.  There is no Biblical authority for that kind of thing. The provision of those things is the job of Christ’s Church.
Romans 13 also tells us that a law is just or unjust depending on whether it is in accord with what God says or whether it is at odds with God’s Law. That is the teaching of the Bible, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, the British jurist William Blackstone and Martin Luther King in his “Letter From The Birmingham Jail.”
In that “Letter,” Dr. King said, and I quote: “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God….An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law,” unquote. King said, and again I quote him directly: “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’.” The word legal in this letter is in direct quotes, King’s point being that what Hitler did in Nazi Germany was not  legal because it was against the Laws of God.
Thank you very much. And may God bless us all as we obey Him.

There is a lot wrong here, but I want to focus on the surprising citation of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let’s review: The IOTC’s founder and director is Michael Peroutka who is a board member of the neo-Confederate, Southern secessionist League of the South. Peroutka pledged the resources of the IOTC to the League and even told a League audience that he acquired what he knows about government from the League. What does the League think of Martin Luther King, Jr.?
One could start with this review of a book on Martin Luther King, Jr., by John Lofton. After reviewing recitations of allegations about King’s character and morality, Lofton concludes:

In a nutshell,’ what Mr. Garrow’s book demonstrates is that King was one of the most grossly immoral hypocrites in American history.

and then

Well, indeed, Martin Luther King was not a saint, to put it charitably. And thanks to the scholarship of David Garrow, we now know that he was “perhaps worse” than even Buchanan imagined. But to think that this man is honored with a national holiday, and for as much as a week at a time he is honored as a saint in thousands of our public schools. What a disgrace! 

If he is such immoral person, then why quote him Mr. Lofton?
Then, in a press release in 2005 from the League of the South on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we learn the League’s view. Written by Peroutka’s fellow board member and League president Michael Hill, the release leaves no doubt about the League’s position on King:

In a day when every facet of traditional Anglo-Celtic Southern heritage is called evil—including the thoughts and actions of Lee and Jackson—I am in no mood to mince words. The “Reverend” “Dr.” Martin Luther King, Jr., far from being the saint of recent liberal myth, was nothing but a philandering, plagiarizing, left-wing agitator. Conversely, Lee and Jackson were paragons of Christian manhood, though not without fault. But this year, as always, King is the object of veneration by liberals of every color and stripe, while Lee and Jackson are held in utter disdain. Even some so-called “conservatives” sing MLK’s praises, choosing to keep silent about Lee and Jackson, in hopes that they will not be called “racists” by the left-wing media.

and…

Only a sick and reprobate society would elevate Martin Luther King, Jr., and demonize Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The former sought to manipulate white guilt and use the power of national government for the ends of black racial advancement; the latter risked their lives on the field of battle to preserve the true principles of Constitutional government and the integrity of their homeland. To King and his ilk (both then and now), the U.S. Constitution and the Bible are nothing more than words to be twisted in service of the liberal vision of the good life. To Lee and Jackson, and those who honor them, they are the wellsprings of Christian liberty and prosperity.

There can be no compromise between the worldviews of those who follow MLK and those who salute Lee and Jackson. Moreover, there is no way that a man can, in good conscience, pay homage to both sides at the same time. 

At present, the IOTC appears to pay homage to both sides. On one hand, Michael Peroutka writes for League publications, speaks at League meetings, gladly joined the League’s board of directors and pledged the resources of the IOTC to the League. On the other hand, his organization favorably cites Martin Luther King, Jr. What a hypocritical ploy this is.

King’s letter from the Birmingham jail was addressed to clergy who opposed his non-violent resistance approach to inequality. The League of the South has no sympathy for African-Americans who suffered under Jim Crow laws and worse. In fact, Michael Hill defended Jim Crow laws. In a League essay, Hill said:

Whereas whites and blacks in the antebellum South had lived and worked together in close proximity, once the situation changed at the end of the war (especially with the passage of the Reconstruction amendments) some new arrangement became necessary if whites were to preserve their society. Few Southerners of the late nineteenth century believed that whites and blacks could live together in a state of equality without serious social consequences for both races. Therefore, postbellum Southern blacks were disenfranchised and “Jim Crow” laws resulted in a segregated South (today “Jim Crow” has been replaced by what might be called “Jim Snow” policies that discriminate against whites). Through these measures white Southerners were able to exert some control over a still primitive black population. Nonetheless, the “black community” of the late nineteenth century began to experience problems largely absent prior to 1865: black-on-black crime, illegitimacy, abject poverty, disease, and family disintegration, among others. Despite trillions spent on welfare and other programs, these problems–and many others–still plague the “black community” in the present day. Clearly there is an ever-present problem here that emancipation and money did not solve. 

In another essay (see also this one), Hill decried the civil rights movement led by King:

Sadly, our true interests were compromised and sold for a mess of pottage by our so-called leaders a long time ago. For instance, if the South had had real leaders of the people there would have been no second reconstruction known as the civil rights movement. 

Either the IOTC has betrayed the League or there is an effort to obscure the sentiment of the League to which the IOTC has been pledged.  If the IOTC really wants to celebrate civil rights and the legacy of King, publicly and decisively step away from the League of the South.

League of the South President Says Immigration Reform Could Spark True Civil War

Michael Hill, president of the League of the South appeared on the American Nationalist Network on Saturday (8/3). The ANN is the radio arm of a new white nationalist organization, the American Nationalist Association. It appears that the ANA leaders are Holocaust deniers/revisionists.
On the program, among other things, Hill said if the Congress passes immigration reform, there will be a secession or a civil war. At 47:40 into the interview, Hill says:

Michael Hill: You talk about a transformation in 1965? That would be a slow and gradual transformation compared to what will happen if they pass this amnesty act in 2013 or 2014. The changes there will be immediate and drastic.
Rodney Martin: Absolutely.
Hill: The South will either leave the union, or there will be another civil, a true civil war.
Martin: You know, you mention civil war, I think if they do, if they ramrod this amnesty bill through, then I think where I talked about the United States being a Soviet Union, I think overnight, we become Yugoslavia, and it becomes not a pretty picture.
Hill: It’s going to be extremely ugly.
Martin: I’m not sure that this power elite in Washington really understand how people feel about when they look out their front doors and see that their government, obviously its not our government anymore, they don’t represent us. They’re looking to replace us. They’re looking to ethnically cleanse us from our own lands.
Hill: This is genocide.
Martin: That’s exactly what it is.
Hill: This is genocide; this is anti-white genocide.

The American Nationalist Association promotes the American National (radio) Network. One of the first guests was David Duke; other early guests were leaders in the American Nazi Party. On their website, the ANA lauds Hitler and Goebbels in a section of the website titled “fundamental truths.” The Hitler quote indicates their position on Jews:

“He who would live must fight. He who does not wish to fight in this world, where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.”
“Should the Jew, with the aid of his Marxist creed, triumph over the people of this world, his Crown will be the funeral wreath of mankind, and this planet will once again follow its orbit through ether, without any human life on its surface, as it did millions of years ago.
And so I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.”
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

Earlier in the broadcast, Hill advertised the League of the South’s rally against demographic displacement to be held in Uvalda, GA. According to the League, Mexicans are taking jobs that he says should belong to whites (“Anglo-celtic southerners” to use his term) and so they are protesting a mayor there who supports the immigrants.  Despite his warning over civil war, Hill acknowledged that he hopes immigration or the “gun issue” leads to people being willing to consider Southern secession.
Hill was asked to name the main concern for League of the South members. Hill responded (22:54):

I tell you what the unifying issue is for people in the League: It is that we must have our independence in order to assure our survival and well being as a people. That overshadows everything, our survival, our well-being hinges on our independence as a people.

What people is Hill talking about? Earlier in the program (7:25) he identified the group.

First of all, this is about our survival as a people, white Southerners of European descent.

Some commenters on this blog and in emails have asserted that the League is interested in preserving Southern culture and less interested in matters of race. While that might have been true at one time, it appears to me that the League in recent years has moved more toward white nationalist position. He was certainly clear on this program that the League’s concerns are “blood and soil,” i.e.,  race and region.
Given the fact that Institute on the Constitution founder, director and teacher, Michael Peroutka, just joined the League board of directors and pledged the IOTC’s resources to the League, it was surprising to hear Hill say at 26:38 that the members of the League are not “constitutionalists.”

The Constitution has been a bad deal for the South; we’re anti-Federalists. We believe they should have stopped with the Articles of Confederation.

Which state seems most ripe for secession? According to Hill, South Carolina. A problem is they have a large black population. Hill later said he believes there will be a non-binding resolution for secession in SC sometime in the next two or three years. Hill said the League is always looking for a good “Leipzig-like” moment to provoke such a resolution. For Hill, as noted above, immigration reform could be that hoped-for moment.
As I was listening to this, I reminded myself that the same person who has a show on the National Religious Broadcasting network and Liberty University Network is a board member of the League and has pledged his resources to achieving the ends Michael Hill described on the broadcast.

Institute on the Constitution: Bringing Puritan Back

Thursday nights at 8:00pm (eastern), the National Religious Broadcasting Network is showing the Constitution course developed by the Institute on the Constitution.  A version of the IOTC’s course was planned as a public offering by the Springboro (OH) School District from July through September but was canceled at the last minute due to complaints from community members.
Unlike the Ohio course, the NRB broadcast version does not include David Barton or John Eidsmoe. Rather, IOTC co-founder Michael Peroutka and pastor David Whitney teach this version of the course. In prior posts, I have pointed out that Peroutka is a board member of the League of the South and Whitney is the chaplain of the Maryland chapter of the League.
I watched session two of the course last Thursday. The session was about the influence of Puritan political theory on the founders and the religious views of the founders.  In this post, I want to make a few observations about Peroutka’s views of the Puritans.
In the first part of the session, Peroutka discusses what he believes are contributions of the Puritans to American law and government. Generally, he attempted to draw a straight line from the Puritans to the American Constitution. For instance early in the program, he said, “Civil government has jurisdiction over our actions but not our conscience. Conscience is between God and man.” Peroutka claims this principle comes from the Puritans. However, in my opinion, his effort to find liberty of conscience in the Puritan theory of government fails because he ignores what the Puritan government did.
While it may have been fashionable at one time to link the Puritans to liberty (and some Puritans did speak about “liberty of conscience” — e.g., British clergy William Perkins), a review of basic events will contradict that notion. It is well documented that non-Puritans were not well tolerated in Massachusetts. For instance, Roger Williams was exiled to Rhode Island and set up real religious freedom there.  Of course, there is problem of the witch trials. Furthermore, Quakers were often tortured and sometimes killed for their beliefs.
For instance in the Annals of Salem, this order was passed in 1661:

May 22d. General Court sat. Wm Hathorne and Edmund Batter were Deputies. The former was chosen first reserve Commissioner for the Colony. The Court order that Quakers when discovered shall be made bare from the middle upwards tied to a cart and whipped through the town towards the boundary of Massachusetts, and if returning, that they shall be similarly punished with the addition that some them shall be branded with an R on their left shoulder, and if coming back a third time that they be banished on pain of death.

Pain of death had already visited dissenters prior to the Salem edict. The Boston Martyrs were four Quakers who were executed for their beliefs beginning in 1659. Eventually the British King stopped the executions in 1661.
Nineteenth century historian, George Edward Ellis described the Puritan view of “liberty of conscience:”

The inane assertion, so often flippantly repeated that the Massachusetts colonists came here to seek and to provide a field for the enjoyment of liberty of conscience, and then proved faithless to their profession by securing the right for themselves and denying it to others is simply false to all the facts of the case. What is now really meant by the phrase liberty of conscience was something which those Puritans regarded with shuddering abhorrence. It might with much more truth be said that the leaders of the colony came here to be rid of the liberty of conscience, which was working and showing its fruits in England as will appear on our future pages. Nor is it an adequate interpretation of their errand here to say that they were seeking liberty even for their own consciences. That liberty was already pledged and fettered put under bonds and limitations it was held in subjection to a stern and exacting rule of life and duty found not in their own thinkings and willings but in the Word of God. This complete abnegation of the privilege and license which we associate with liberty of conscience must be kept in mind in all our reading about the beliefs and doings of these Puritans. Fallen and wrecked as in their belief the nature of man was, they would not entertain the thought that any one, however earnest he might be, could find his rule within his own resources of thinking and believing. They read the sentence repeated several times in the Book of Judges that in the lack of any supreme authority every man did that which was right in his own eyes as equivalent to saying that he did what was wrong in the eyes of everybody else.

During the session, Peroutka uses the topic of  liberty of conscience to condemn hate crimes legislation. He says several times, “There is no such thing as a hate crime.” He adds that you can’t punish thoughts and opinions. However, his Puritans did. The Puritans passed laws regulating life in minute and intrusive ways. Contrary to Peroutka’s claims that the Puritans gave us liberty of conscience, consider the Cambridge Platform of 1648. The following principles promote the state regulation of private religious belief and action:

It is the duty of the magistrate to take care of matters of religion and to improve his civil authority for the observing of the duties commanded in the first as well as for observing of the duties commanded in the second table [of the Ten Commandments]. They are called gods. The end of the magistrate’s office is not only the quiet and peaceable life of the subject in matters of righteousness and honesty, but also in matters of godliness, yea of all godliness. (p 84)
Idolatry, blasphemy, heresy, venting corrupt and pernicious opinions that destroy the foundation, open contempt of the Word preached, profanation of the Lord’s day, disturbing the peaceable administration and exercise of the worship and holy things of God, and the like are to be restrained and punished by civil authority. (p, 85)
If any church, one or more, shall grow schismatical, rending itself from the communion of other churches or shall walk incorrigibly or obstinately in any corrupt way of their own contrary to the rule of the Word, in such case the magistrate is to put forth his coercive power as the matter shall require.  (p 85)

Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts because he “broached & dyvulged dyvers newe & dangerous opinions against the authoritie of magistrates” Anne Hutchinson was banished due to her beliefs about worship. Clearly the Puritans in power punished thoughts and opinions.
Actually, a more interesting aspect of Puritan history is the transition from theocratic impulses to the American revolution. The people in the colonies went a long way from state religion and control to a Constitution which contained no meaningful religious reference and no religious test for office. Peroutka’s Constitution course completely misses this, apparently because he wants to teach American law and government as a Puritan invention.
In the next post, I will address Peroutka’s thoughts on the religious beliefs of the founders. They are quite Barton-like and so it is familiar ground.
 

Michael Peroutka Pledges Resources of Institute on the Constitution to League of the South

The recent cancellation of a Constitution course in the Springboro School District has placed new focus on the group behind the course, the Institute on the Constitution and another group, the League of the South.
The IOTC course brought complaints from parents about the religious nature of the course and the membership of IOTC founder, Michael Peroutka, in the League of the South. You can read more about the League here.
Last Thursday, a leader of the Springboro Tea Party and Council of Conservative Citizens, showed up at the Springboro School District and defended the course and the League of the South. He finished his talk by displaying a Confederate flag.
Another person linking the two organizations is IOTC founder Peroutka. Last month, Peroutka was appointed to be a board member of the League of the South during the annual conference. At the end of a speech, Peroutka pledges the resources of the IOTC to the aims of the League of the South. Here is the link which allows you to begin watching at the point where Peroutka makes his pledge. On the video (at 39:10) he says:

I am so pleased, and I thank you Dr. Hill and you Sara, and you Alex, and Mike Crane, and all the others on the board, and I am uh, I want to do my best, with God’s help, to be worthy of what you’re, what you do and what you are asking me to do. I’m gonna try my best. I pledge the resources of the Institute on the Constitution and the resources of the Peroutka family to that effort. God bless you.

For more on what the League of the South is about, see their FAQs. One the main objectives is the secession of the Southern states to form a white Christian nation.
Also, here is League president Michael Hill on what the League is about:

Just so there’s no chance that you’ll confuse The League with the GOP or any other “conservative” group, here’s what we stand for: The survival, well being, and independence of the Southern people. And by “the Southern people,” we mean White Southerners who are not afraid to stand for the people of their race and region.

According to the League’s Grey Bookthe League yearns for a return to America before the Civil War amendments to the Constitution and to the Confederate South.

The Grey Book is based on the following presuppositions: 1) that we who oppose on moral grounds the practises and polices of the US government have a duty to reform or remove ourselves from it; 2) that the government of the US is beyond reform, so that the only option available is removing ourselves; 3) that two or more Southern States will at some time in the future form a confederal union; and 4) that their representatives will ratify a Constitution more or less like the US Constitution of 1788 and the Confederate States Constitution of 1861.

 

Springboro School District Cancels Controversial Constitution Classes

Last evening, the Springboro School Board canceled two Constitution classes which had drawn protests from parents, teachers and students.  Notice of the board action was posted on a Facebook site called Springboro United for Responsible Education.
According to WHIO, school board member Jim Rigano issued a statement saying in part, “We felt that having the community participate with evaluating these courses would be an excellent opportunity for schools and community to work together. Instead, the courses have received some criticism from the community, which we take very seriously.”
Some Springboro citizens had sent an open letter to the school board and created a petition at Change.org.
Yesterday, I reported here on Institute on the Constitution’s ties to white supremacist group League of the South.
While the cancellation is a step in the right direction, I am confident that parents and community groups will continue to press for answers to questions about why the IOTC was considered a viable resource.
Below is the entire press release:

Springboro Community City Schools News Release 
For Immediate Release
July 3, 2013
CONSTITUTION COURSES CANCELLED
SPRINGBORO- Springboro Community Schools has cancelled two community education courses on the U.S. Constitution originally scheduled for this summer.
“We felt that having the community participate with evaluating these courses would be an excellent opportunity for schools and community to work together.  Instead, the courses have received some criticism from the
community, which we take very seriously,” said Jim Rigano, Board of Education Vice President.  “We wanted to allow time for additional review to fully investigate community concerns.”
The two courses were a 12-week course by the Institute on the Constitution scheduled to run from July 9 through September 24, and a one day seminar by the National Center for Constitutional Studies.
Anyone currently registered for the 12-week course by the Institute on the Constitution should contact instructor Ricki Pepin at 937-322-3149 for a refund or other information. Those who registered for the seminar with the National Center for Constitutional Studies through Springboro Schools will receive a refund.

This is now on the district website.

League of the South Members Behind the Constitution Course Allowed by Ohio School District

Yesterday, I wrote about a summer course on the Constitution offered by the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC) and advertised to the public by the Springboro School District. According to media reports, the school district plans to evaluate the course for possible inclusion in their schools. See yesterday’s post for a flyer describing the course.
The Institute on the Constitution was founded and is directed by Michael Peroutka. Peroutka was the 2004 presidential candidate for the Constitution Party. According to the website of the IOTC, their Constitution course is taught by Peroutka and Pastor David Whitney. In Springboro, the course is facilitated by Ricki Pepin but includes materials from the IOTC, David Barton and John Eidsmoe.
In 2012 and 2013, Michael Peroutka spoke at the League of the South’s annual convention (John Eidsmoe was there as well) and gave his enthusiastic support to the organization. Fellow Constitution course instructor David Whitney is the Chaplain of the Maryland chapter of the League of the South. The League of the South appears to believe in white supremacy and promotes the secession of the Southern states from the nation.  From their website:

Q: Where, when, and why was The League of the South (LS) formed? 
A: The LS was formed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in June 1994, to organise the Southern people so that they might effectively pursue independence and self-government.

Q: Does the LS favour political secession as a legitimate option for Southern (and other) states? 
A: 
Yes, but we realise that secession is not a practicable alternative at present. When enough people come to realise the futility of attempting to reform the present corrupt system, however, it will be practicable.

Q:  Whence the name: “The League of the South”? 
A: 
Our name comes from two different sources:

(1) Lega Nord (Northern League), a very successful populist movement in northern Italy, to which the LS has personal ties, and (2) the League of United Southerners, organised by Edmund Ruffin and William Lowndes Yancey in 1858 to shape Southern public opinion.

Q:  What is the LS position regarding blacks in the South? 
A: The LS disavows a spirit of malice and extends an offer of good will and cooperation to Southern blacks in areas where we can work together as Christians to make life better for all people in the South. We affirm that, while historically the interests of Southern blacks and whites have been in part antagonistic, true Constitutional government would provide protection to all law-abiding citizens — not just to government-sponsored victim groups.

Q:Why does the LS seek to protect the Anglo-Celtic core population and culture of the historic South? 
A: The Anglo-Celtic peoples settled the South and gave it its dominate culture and civilisation. We believe that the advancement of Anglo-Celtic culture and civilisation is vital in order to preserve our region as we know it. Should this core be destroyed or displaced the South would be made over in an alien image — unfamiliar and inhospitable to our children and grandchildren. We, as Anglo-Celtic Southerners, have a duty to protect that which our ancestors bequeathed to us. If we do not promote our interests then no one will do it for us.

Shockingly, the group ties itself to the League of United Southerners, “organised by Edmund Ruffin and William Lowndes Yancey in 1858 to shape Southern public opinion.”  Both Ruffin and Yancey were pro-slavery “fire-eaters” and the League of United Southerners was designed to promote secession. The alignment of the League of the South with a blatantly pro-slavery, white supremacist group makes a deeply troubling statement.

Michael Peroutka at the League of the South convention, 2012. Note which flags are flying and which are not.

peroutka

As it stands, the Springboro School District is offering to the public a course in the Constitution developed by members of an organization who desire to promote the dominance of the Anglo-Celtic people, the secession of Southern states from the nation, and align themselves with the pro-slavery fire-eaters of the Confederate South.
It is quite possible that the Springboro board members were unaware of these matters when the course was approved. Messages left for the board on these points have not yet been answered.
Additional information:
The relationship between the League of the South and the IOTC goes back a few years. A LS newsletter advertised the IOTC Constitution course as being compatible with the LS.

Former Presidential candidate Michael Peroutka co-founded the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC), the program that will run at the Middle Georgia Chapter’s Hedge School in April (see right). According to Chapter Chairman Ben Davis, it is an excellent resource which lends itself very easily to the League message. Davis encourages fellow chapter leaders to host IOTC in their localities. For more information, go to www.iotconline.com.

The LS President Michael Hill leaves no doubt where he stands on race in this essay: Our Survival as a People. From the essay:

Because Christian liberty has been the product of Western civilization, should the white stock of Europe and American disappear through racial amalgamation or outright genocide, then both liberty and civilization as we have come to know them will cease to exist. As whites have lost the will to defend their inheritance, there has been a corresponding increase in the willingness of the colored races to destroy Western Christian civilization and replace it with their own vision of the “good society.” That vision, or nightmare, as it were, will have no truck with the rule of law, equity, or fairness. It will be predicated on the “intimidation factor”–the employment of brute force by the strong against the weak. In short, it will be “payback time” for the alleged mistreatment that minorities-cum-majorities have suffered at the hands of the White Devils.

UPDATE: July 3, 2013, 11:35pm  – The Springboro School Board has canceled the classes mentioned in this post. Watch the blog for more information.