Moore and Peroutka, Partners in Interposition and Theocracy

Right Wing Watch points out the rather obvious connections between Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and Michael Peroutka, the Christian Reconstructionist and former Constitution party presidential candidate who is now local Republican official in Maryland.

Moore’s call for statewide defiance of the federal judiciary’s “tyranny” stems from a belief that the Constitution was made to protect biblical commandments, so that anything that goes against his personal interpretation of the Bible is therefore in violation of the Constitution.

Moore shares that belief with a powerful ally: Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate activist who is also one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in the Religious Right’s reimagining of American law.

Peroutka, who once held a leadership position in the neo-Confederate League of the South and remained a member of the group until it hampered his run for a local office in Maryland last year, promotes this theocratic view of the law through his group the Institute on the Constitution. Speaking at an event at the Institute in 2011, Moore gushed that Peroutka would help lead America to a “glorious triumph” over the federal government’s “tyranny.”

But Peroutka is more than a friend and ideological ally to Moore: he has funded Moore’s activism for more than a decade, and in 2012 bankrolled Moore’s successful campaign for the top seat on the Alabama Supreme Court.

After Moore was removed from his original position on Alabama’s high court in 2003 for defying a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, Peroutka paid for the ousted judge to go on a national speaking tour to build support for his cause. He also funded a group that held rallies in support of Moore.

Over the nine years, Peroutka contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to two groups founded by Moore, the Foundation for Moral Law (which is now run by Moore’s wife Kayla) and the now-defunct Coalition to Restore America.

In 2004, the far-right Constitution Party tried to recruit Moore to run for president on its ticket. When he declined, Peroutka stepped in to run in his place.

This neo-Confederate leader helped to lay the ideological groundwork for Moore’s current standoff with the federal courts, a standoff which many commentators have compared to Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s decision to defy federal law on desegregation.

Peroutka thinks states should defy and ignore federal rulings on gay rights since federal judges have “no authority” to rule in marriage cases, because marriage was already defined by God and the Constitution was designed to enforce such divine arrangements.

This is hardly a surprise. Both Moore and Peroutka are genuine theocrats who think that their medieval interpretations of the Bible should be — and actually are — the civil and criminal law of the United States. They are Christian totalitarians.

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  • raven

    Both Moore and Peroutka are genuine theocrats who think that their medieval interpretations of the Bible should be — and actually are — the civil and criminal law of the United States. They are Christian totalitarians.

    They are also both…elected officials.

    To be sure, in weird out of the way places. Peroutka in Maryland and Moore is Chief Justice of Alabama.

    It’s not a good sign that people like these can get elected.

    OTOH, Peroutka got 0.1% of the vote when he ran for president.

  • Al Dente

    …anything that goes against his personal interpretation of the Bible is therefore in violation of the Constitution.

    Moore and Peroutka are not only mangling the Constitution to fit their theocratic beliefs, they’re insisting that their particular idiosyncratic Biblical beliefs are the only ones worth paying attention to.

  • raven

    The misnamed Constitution party is in real life, an explicitly anti-American and anti-government party. These are true America haters.

    Peroutka and Moore are neo conferates who are sure the wrong side won the Civil War and wouldn’t mind a rematch.

    There is a lot a despise about the fundie xian perversion. One is that a huge number of weird, old white males claim the right to rule over me. And you for that matter.

    They have no legal, moral, or ethical right to do so, not in a democracy. But you have to keep saying, No.

  • raven

    Almost On Topic:

    Alecia Pennington can’t prove she’s an American – or even exists. What would you do?

    To the government, Alecia Pennington doesn’t exist. And her parents refuse to help. She has been unable to get a driver’s license, get a job, go to college, get on a plane, get a bank account, or vote. What can she do?

    CSMonitor By Samantha LaineFebruary 13, 2015 8:44 AM

    Alecia’s father, James, is an accountant and a member of the Texas Constitution Party, a known anti-government association.

    According to a 2007 court document, he has not filed taxes since 1996, and has been contacted by the IRS for evasion. With nine children reportedly undocumented –

    This poor girl can’t prove she is an American. Alecia has no birth certificate (which is illegal), has never been to school or to a doctor. You need ID to…get ID.

    And you know why. Her parents are cultists, fundie xians in Texas.

    Her father hasn’t paid taxes for 19 years. And oh yeah, he is a member of the Constitution Party.

    This is child abuse. The Constitution Party are lunatic fringers in search of a New Dark Age dystopia. I almost wish there was a hell for them to go to since they want to create one on earth, for me and you.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Don’t worry. The superbly educated American public can easily see through the false logic used by theocrats.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Alecia Pennington: one suggestion is to sue them for wage theft. Back to the statute of limitations, they’ve held this young undocumented immigrant as a domestic slave (many potential felonies there, too) and not paid her a dime. She’s entitled to back wages, overtime, penalties, etc.

    Or, of course, they could prove that they’re her parents and document her citizenship plus schooling (don’t bet on that last — “homeschooled,” especially for girls, often doesn’t amount to more than very basic literacy.)

  • Pierce R. Butler

    How did Gordon Klingenschmitt get left out of this superhero roster of elected hyperchristians?

    It’s oppression! Persecution, I tell ya!

  • raven

    Alecia Pennington: one suggestion is to sue them for wage theft.

    These parents aren’t acting too smart. They are apparently bright enough to survive in the USA without interacting with it. The father is a CPA.

    OTOH, the number of crimes they’ve committed, not least of which is child abuse is quite high. It would be advisable for them not to attract the attention of the authorities in general and law enforcement in particular. Which is what they are doing by making life difficult for their escapee daughter.

    The article leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Apparently, after 18 years of brainwashing and abuse, they are disappointed that their kid is…escaping. All that work and they don’t even have some more breeding stock to show for it. This is really common in the fundie xian cults. You leave the cult, you leave all your friends and family behind forever.

    The claim is that being raised in a fundie xian cult isn’t child abuse. Maybe not all the time but way too often it ends up that way.

  • pixiedust

    Raven @1

    “To be sure, in weird out of the way places. Peroutka in Maryland and Moore is Chief Justice of Alabama.”

    How are those two states “weird out of the way places”?

  • howardhershey

    What I find interesting is the utter failure to understand the distinction between religious marriage (a marriage recognized by any specific religious institiution) and civil marriage (a marriage recognized by the state). Many, if not most, marriages are both. Including most gay marriages. But absolutely nothing in law requires a religious organization to recognize any specific civil marriage. In fact, many people recognized as married by civil authority are not considered married by specific faiths, including divorced and remarried Catholics (probably the largest such group) as well as individuals married outside their faith. Yet people have no problem recognizing that such marriages are valid according to the laws of the state, with all the rights and privileges such a civil state accords.