Civil liberties

Ron Paul’s Fundamentalist Outreach

Benjy Sarlin of TPM documents Ron Paul's outreach to the evangelical vote in Iowa and, in the process, exposes an aspect of Paul which his more liberal supporters seem to deliberately avoid when projecting him as a civil liberties hero.

Paul’s Iowa state director Mike Heath has led the church outreach effort, carefully chronicling his extensive efforts on the campaign’s website. As of this week, he claims to have visited about 300 Iowa-area churches on behalf of Paul.

Heath is best known for his anti-gay activism, which includes a stint as chair of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, a fringe group with a history of spreading wild disinformation about gays.

Paul's state director, who is in charge of outreach to area-churches, has a history of spreading wild disinformation about gays. That sounds awfully familiar.

But I digress...

“He is only for marriage of one man and one woman and would enforce the federal Defense of Marriage Act,” Rev. Glen E. Bandel, Pastor of the Nora Springs Christian Church, said in one such release. The Washington Examiner’s Phillip Klein also reports that the campaign is distributing flyers attacking President Obama’s “assault on marriage.” [...]

In an interview with TPM, Christopher J. Neuendorf, pastor of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa described this “liberty” as Paul’s chief selling point.

“We’ve typically approached abortion with the idea that we have to have a Republican in office, no matter how bad he is, so he can appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, so eventually 10 or 20 years from now we can overturn Roe v. Wade,”he said. “But Ron Paul has cosponsored legislation to restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts so they could not forbid states from criminalizing abortion. We could move much more quickly.”

A true civil liberties hero. Except on abortion. Except on minority civil rights. Except on gay rights.

Enabling a suppression of rights is just as bad as suppressing them is.

And this isn't simple pandering. Ron Paul's views on these subjects is well documented.

He believes states should have the right to outlaw abortion, should have the right to prohibit same-sex marriage, should have the right to segregate, and should have the right to deny equal pay for equal work. And despite his pro-states rights rhetoric, he also supports the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a federal law.

Given the views expressed in Ron Paul's newsletters, his book, and in his voting record, there is every reason to believe his cloak of libertarian ideology is simply a convenient cover for deep-seeded prejudice. And while I don't believe that is necessarily true for some of his younger supporters, Paul himself doesn't fool me.