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.

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  • Eric

    My organization endorsed Ohio’s “Founding Documents” bill, and, frankly, I’d like to see some constructive contributions to improving American history, government, and civics in our schools. Why should we consider the National Center for History in Schools more reliable than the National Center for Constitutional Studies? If Hillsdale College (or Grove City, for that matter) are recognized for citizenship education, why wouldn’t we seek their counsel? Here’s the ACLU’s letter to Springboro:

    “Hillsdale College is a Christian college that includes the ‘Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship.’ Their instructional materials the Constitution Reader, emphasize the role of religion …”

    Ohio’s schoolchildren deserve an education that avoids the over-reach of the ACLU as well as the excesses of IotC.

    Where can teachers find the training to fairly and thoroughly vet materials from either side? Should our teacher preparation programs look to Grove City for undergraduate education on the principles of democracy and ethics?

    • ken

      “Why should we consider the National Center for History in Schools more reliable than the National Center for Constitutional Studies?”

      Well for one thing, the National Center for History (NCH) (based at UCLA), is run by professional historians (i.e. people who study history for a living and actually have degrees in the study of history). The only info I could find about who is at National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS), is that it is run by an Earl Taylor, whose credentials I find highly suspect. NCCS also seems to be more of a religious organization rather than a historical one.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Eric – As ken says, there is a world of difference between NCH and NCCS. Regarding Grove City College, please contact me and we can discuss how GCC’s history and poly science dept can help.

  • Eric

    My organization endorsed Ohio’s “Founding Documents” bill, and, frankly, I’d like to see some constructive contributions to improving American history, government, and civics in our schools. Why should we consider the National Center for History in Schools more reliable than the National Center for Constitutional Studies? If Hillsdale College (or Grove City, for that matter) are recognized for citizenship education, why wouldn’t we seek their counsel? Here’s the ACLU’s letter to Springboro:

    “Hillsdale College is a Christian college that includes the ‘Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship.’ Their instructional materials the Constitution Reader, emphasize the role of religion …”

    Ohio’s schoolchildren deserve an education that avoids the over-reach of the ACLU as well as the excesses of IotC.

    Where can teachers find the training to fairly and thoroughly vet materials from either side? Should our teacher preparation programs look to Grove City for undergraduate education on the principles of democracy and ethics?

  • Eric

    That’s a fair observation, but it leads to a “provenance-based” rather than a “merit-based” vetting process. NCCS could well be distributing accurate materials (authored by others) while NCHS places its imprimatur on the work of first-year graduate students.

    The dilemma for Springboro (which has dropped both the NCCS and IotC community preview sessions) is restoring public confidence in public education. Conservatives in their community have been directly affected by the IRS scrutiny of “patriot” organizations, and remember the Hughes High School “votes for ice cream scandal,” “Joe the Plumber” database searches, NEA’s contempt for “right wing bastards,” and possibly the treatment of (former) librarian Scott Savage by OSU Mansfield.

    So the ACLU/AU/FFRF is likely a death wish for their public schools–there is no bright line between them and the “We hate you. Now give us your kids so that we can turn them against you” crowd (politicalarena.org/2011/09/17/do-academics-hate-your-religious-parents/). The church-state approach they take says, in effect, public school lessons can be false and instruction can be colossally bad as long as it’s irreligious.

    Ohio school board members are oath-sworn to uphold a higher standard, not from the US Constitution, but from Ohio’s Constitution. And the entire state could use some help to live up to that standard.

    But in Springboro, when board members attempt to uphold their oaths and make predictable mistakes, their opponents send press releases and appear for on-camera interviews. Conservatives in that community attribute those tactics to a Saul Alinsky inspired smear campaign to discredit board members during union negotiations: https://www.google.com/search?q=springboro+Villamagna+alinsky

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Eric – I don’t know enough about the local politics to comment. I do, however, believe there is a way through which respects all sides. When polarizing occurs, it usually pushes two sides to extreme positions they might not take otherwise. They probably need some moderating voices, perhaps from outside, to help them through it.

      From an outsider’s perspective, I focused on the inaccurate material presented by Barton and Eidsmoe first and then the white supremacist ties later. I think these issues need to be addressed in order to regain trust. The conservatives need to have their concerns addressed as well. In this forum, I can offer the advice of experts in the field who are also respecting of religious differences.

      • Eric

        Fair enough. When I advise those to my right not to over-reach on the founding documents agenda, I’ve said that Barton may best NCSS and IotC, but even with Barton you’ll run into the “liars for Jesus” critique. Now that these groups are getting such negative attention, perhaps “Getting Jefferson Right” can prevail. I see it’s on sale!

    • ken

      Eric says:

      July 4, 2013 at 10:03 am

      “NCCS could well be distributing accurate materials (authored by others) while NCHS places its imprimatur on the work of first-year graduate students.”

      And that e-mail you got might really have been from a Nigerian prince in desperate need of your help for which he will pay you handsomely. However, most people are probably going to hold off on giving him their social security and bank account numbers right away.

      Similarly, just looking at the NCCS web site sets off quite a few alarm bells as well. And if someone can’t see the difference in credibility between the NCCS and NCHS, I’m thinking they shouldn’t be on a school board.

      “The church-state approach they take says, in effect, public school lessons can be false and instruction can be colossally bad as long as it’s irreligious.”

      Can you provide some examples of the “false” and “colossally bad” public school lessons the ACLU has promoted?

      • Eric

        Hi, Ken.

        just looking at the NCCS web site sets off quite a few alarm bells as well.

        I’m not entirely sure the materials NCCS promotes for Constitution Day (a focus for Springboro) are even authored by NCCS. Did the ACLU reference the most alarming material on their site? I don’t care to defend NCCS. But in some sense they are “exceeding expectations” while the ACLU “fails to meet” expectations. Of course, expectations are higher for a group with a larger budget and many prosperous members.

        I did not suggest the ACLU promotes “false” and “colossally bad” material. My point was church-state jurisprudence can’t address that problem, but state constitutions theoretically can. Ohio’s constitution in particular compels stakeholders to bring forward their “A” games. But what we get is obfuscation, sandbagging, and sabotage.

        Our nation has failed repeatedly to meet educational goals–whether from Nation at Risk, the Bicentennial of the Constitution, or Goals 2000. There are important problems to address extending well beyond some guy in Idaho.

        • ken

          Eric says:

          July 5, 2013 at 1:33 am

          “Did the ACLU reference the most alarming material on their site?”

          I don’t really care what the ACLU referenced, I was responding to your question comparing NCCS and NCHS. I looked at the NCCS web site and would question the use of such an organization for teaching in public schools.

          “But in some sense they are “exceeding expectations” ”

          How is NCCS “exceeding expectations”?

          “Ohio’s constitution in particular compels stakeholders to bring forward their “A” games. ”

          Do you think the program the Springboro School board tried to introduce represents the boards “A game” ?

          “But what we get is obfuscation, sandbagging, and sabotage.”

          Again can you give me some exampes of this “obfuscation, sandbagging, and sabotage” you are referring too and who is doing it?

      • Eric

        Springboro School board tried to introduce represents the boards “A game” ?

        The program has been heavily marketed to a sympathetic audience, so the Springboro board needed an honest broker to explain that what they were proud to serve wasn’t fully cooked. (Board members are free to eat medium rare hamburgers and rave about their flavor, but not serve them to kids.) Instead, the board members came under attack–at teacher contract negotiation time.

        Here’s another group promoting NCCS materials:

        http://www.nationalexchangeclub.org/content/a-more-perfect-union

        The 12 elected regional representatives will be at their national conference next week. How could they be convinced that the NCCS materials referenced on their web site aren’t “A” game materials? The DVD isn’t an NCCS product; not sure about the study guide–it looks better than most NCCS stuff.

        ACLU’s argument is NCCS references “creator-endowed rights.” The Freedom From Religion Foundation faults NCCS’s anti-communist origins. Where is the critique of the actual materials likely used in classrooms? Addressing the need for high quality materials is the goal. Political theater–obfuscation, sandbagging, and sabotage–doesn’t help.

        • ken

          “how could they be convinced that the NCCS materials referenced on their web site aren’t “A” game materials? ”

          From their main website they promote the book NCCS published: “The 5000 year leap” Here some principles behind that book from:

          “http://www.nccsstore.com/The-5000-Year-Leap-A-Miracle-that-Changed-the-World/productinfo/5000YL/:

          Principle 1 – The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

          Natural law is God’s law. There are certain laws which govern the entire universe, and just as Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, there are laws which govern in the affairs of men which are “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

          Principle 5 – All things were created by God, therefore upon him all mankind are equally dependent, and to him they are equally responsible .

          The American Founding Fathers considered the existence of the Creator as the most fundamental premise underlying all self-evident truth. They felt a person who boasted he or she was an atheist had just simply failed to apply his or her divine capacity for reason and observation.

          Not hard to see the strong religious link in what they promote. That is a huge red flag.

          Another red flag is what is not on their site, who are the people who designed these courses of study? What are their backgrounds in the study/teaching of history?

          Now neither of these things mean that NCCS can’t produce a worthwhile constitutional course, but it does mean you should take a much closer look at this group and their materials before you start suggesting their guides should be used in public schools.

          “Where is the critique of the actual materials likely used in classrooms? ”

          From what I can tell most of NCCS’ educational materials are based off of “The 5000 year leap”, which I pointed out the problems with it above.

  • Zoe Brain

    One problem is that it’s now impossible to distinguish between far-right politics and far-right religion. The two are now inextricably interwoven.

    creation science

    white racism

    guns for all over the age of 18 months

    anti-birth-control

    Christian Nation

    Biblical literalism

    gay hatred

    financial corruption

    sheer meanness to the poor

    fundamental(ist) dishonesty

    Not all who subscribe to one subscribe to all the rest – financial corruption is widespread, just perhaps more in left-wing politics than in right-wing churches. But there’s a clear pattern here that goes well beyond “social conservatism” into reactionary bigotry. Whether religion has corrupted politics, or politics religion, I don;t know. But corrupted they both are. This right-wing “christianity” is almost the exact antithesis of Christ’s teachings, at least, from this atheist’s viewpoint.


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