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.