By Jon Winsor
One recent discussion on this blog has been whether the tea party is libertarian or authoritarian. Rick Perry, the tea party’s candidate of choice, has been billing himself as a states rights-inflected libertarian, as his recent book Fed Up! attests. (See the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus for some highlights here.)
But columnists have been pointing out that the ostensibly libertarian Fed Up is of fairly recent vintage. The older Perry had quite a different political brand: that of a crusading culture warrior. Dana Milbank writes,
Yes, Perry is passionately anti-government, or at least anti-this-government. But the man who suddenly tops the Republican presidential polls is no libertarian.
For an eyeful of the full Perry, crack his 2008 book, On My Honor… [One quote:] “The radical homosexual movement seeks societal normalization of their sexual activity. . . . They must respect the right of millions in society to refuse to normalize their behavior…”
In a series of hoary bromides, the supposedly libertarian Perry condemns the “litigious advocates of licentious behavior” (that’s the ACLU) and informs us that “Sometimes the rules must protect society at large at the expense of individual expression when that expression is deemed harmful to others and society at large…”
Among the things Perry “deems” harmful: universities (students “have been taught that corporations are evil, religion is the opiate of the masses, and morality is relative”); human rights commissions (“often nothing more than a front for attacking institutions that teach traditional values”); and evolution (he says “the weight of evidence” supports intelligent design)… Read More
By Jon Winsor
Questions about Dominionism and national politics are now moving out of the muckraking exposés and the religion pages and into elite journalism. Yesterday, NPR’s Fresh Air devoted most of its air time to journalist Rachel Tabachnick on the topic of Dominionism. Now, NY Times Chief Editor Bill Keller is going there as well:
This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life — and to get over them. We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons, a faith that many conservative Christians have been taught is a “cult” and that many others think is just weird. (Huntsman says he is not “overly religious.”) Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity, which has raised concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction.
I honestly don’t care if Mitt Romney wears Mormon undergarments beneath his Gap skinny jeans, or if he believes that the stories of ancient American prophets were engraved on gold tablets and buried in upstate New York… Every faith has its baggage, and every faith holds beliefs that will seem bizarre to outsiders. I grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ…
In the last presidential campaign, Candidate Obama was pressed to distance himself from his pastor, who carried racial bitterness to extremes… I don’t see why Perry and Bachmann should be exempt from similar questioning…
To get things rolling, I sent the aforementioned candidates a little questionnaire.
By Jon Winsor
Rick Perry joins Bachmann in advocating for intelligent design, recently commenting:
“There are clear indications from our people who have amazing intellectual capability that this didn’t happen by accident and a creator put this in place,” Perry said.
“Now, what was his time frame and how did he create the earth that we know? I’m not going to tell you that I’ve got the answers to that,” Perry said. “I believe that we were created by this all-powerful supreme being and how we got to today versus what we look like thousands of years ago, I think there’s enough holes in the theory of evolution to, you know, say there are some holes in that theory.”
“Teaching the controversy“– the Discovery Institute would love that. Perry is also solidly in the climate change denialist camp, saying back in 2007 (when many of his fellow GOP governors were acknowledging the scientific consensus):
“Virtually every day another scientist leaves the global warming bandwagon. … But you won’t read about that in the press because they have already invested in one side of the story. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be good stewards of our environment. We should. I am just saying when politics hijack science, it quells true scientific debate and can have dire consequences for our future.”
…Asked for elaboration on the scientists who Perry said are abandoning the “global warming bandwagon,” his office listed two dozen recent articles, almost none about scientists. They range from calls for Gore to lose his Academy Award to a posting from the Tehran Times (“Iran’s leading international daily”) stating that Gore doesn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize because as a senator he voted to authorize the first Gulf War.
TalkingPointsMemo DC did an informal poll at the recent Heartland Institute International Convention on Climate Change and found Perry to be a strong presidential favorite among conference goers (with Michele Bachmann running second).
Like Bachmann, Perry bills himself as a libertarian. Read More