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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grayson's Opponent Is A Member of the Hardcore Theocratic Right

by digby

TPM is featuring an interesting article today about Alan Grayson's kooky opponent Daniel Webster. Seems he's keeping company with the Christian Reconstructionists (aka American Taliban):

Listed in his official voter guide as a top supporter is a right wing activist named David Barton, who has already come under scrutiny for addressing two white supremacist organizations.

Barton claimed in both circumstances that he was unaware of the group's white supremacist ties. But that doesn't mean he's not possessed of extreme views of his own. From 1998 to 2006, he served as vice-chair of the Texas Republican party, which is notorious for having one of the most zealously conservative platforms in the country.

In 2004, for instance, the platform advocated the following:

1. The abolition of the IRS and the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment.
2. The elimination of the income tax, inheritance tax, gift tax, capital gains tax, corporate income tax, and payroll tax.
3. "an orderly transition to a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts, and gradually phasing out the Social Security tax."
4. The abolition of the Department of Education.
5. Eliminating the government's right to restrict public display of "the Decalogue" (a.k.a. the 10 Commandments).

The Texas GOP also "opposes the legalization of sodomy," and holds that "[h]omosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans."

Neither Barton nor Webster responded to requests for comment.

Barton is the founder of the evangelical organization WallBuilders and was instrumental in Texas' efforts to change its state's (and the nation's) textbook standards.

That's right. It's Beck's intellectual mentor, Mr Black Robed Regiment himself. But this shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone who's followed Webster's career. He's a Christian Reconstructionist from waaay back. He's a follower of one of those evangelical cultleaders, Bill Gothard, who's been training CRs for decades with his "seminars." And he isn't the only one. (How about GOP leaders Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee?)

Gothard has some very unusual views, not the least of which is this:

At his Advanced Seminars in 1983, Gothard introduced sex regulations based upon Old Testament commands. Under the session titled “Six Purposes, Principles, and Keys To Fulfillment In The Marriage Relationship,” he told married couples to abstain from physical relations: 1. During the wife’s menstrual cycle; 2. Seven days after the cycles; 3. 40 days after the birth of a son; 4. 80 days after the birth of a daughter; and 5. The evening prior to worship.

Some may even find the sexual guidelines found in his 1986 volume, Research in Principles of Life Advance Seminar Textbook, intrusive and offensive. What most would feel is personal and private between a couple and their physician, Gothard spells out.

On pages 170-171, Gothard suggests that a man keep track of his wife’s menstrual cycle and use it as a reminder of the sufferings and death of Jesus, then quotes Isaiah 53:4-5.

It's a good thing these people aren't primitive and backwards like those awful fundamentalist Muslims.

How do I know that Webster is one of his disciples?

Speaker Has Strong Ties to Institute

by Peter Wallsten, T. Christian Miller, St. Petersburg Times, February
16, 1997

Last summer, Daniel Webster journeyed to South Korea on a religious
mission, meeting with the country's president and other political and spiritual leaders.

He was joined by Bill Gothard, the head of a $30-million Christian evangelical group.

Four months after the trip, Webster ascended to one of the most powerful positions in Florida: speaker of the state House of Representatives.

He brings with him 14 years of experience with Gothard's Institute in Basic Life Principles, where Webster has not only attended seminars, but also taught classes and even made an instructional video that raised money for the institute.

The group preaches a literal interpretation of the Bible, including the belief that women should submit to their husbands' authority. With programs for lawmakers, judges, doctors, juvenile delinquents and home- schooling courses, the institute's reach is wide. It says that 2.5-million people around the world have participated in its programs.

Webster is an enthusiastic supporter. His six children learn at home, taught by his wife, Sandy, using the institute's curriculum. The family, which also is active in its Orlando Baptist church, has participated in numerous institute seminars over the years.

Webster said he does not want to force his beliefs on other people.

"I've never tried to say this is what's right for everybody,'' he said. ""All I've said is, "Here's what works for me.' ''

Webster said he will not let the institute's teachings dictate his legislative agenda in the House, where he is the first Republican speaker in 122 years.

Still, the institute is attracting increasing interest in Tallahassee. Webster has hired four House staffers whom he met through the institute, although Webster's press secretary, Kathy Mears, pointed out that hundreds of people work for Webster. Mears herself has participated in institute courses.

Over the years, Webster and state Rep. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, have recruited at least eight other Florida lawmakers to the program, including Sen. John Grant, R-Tampa, and Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey.

But Webster said there is no connection between Gothard's seven Bible-based principles and the five principles Webster is using to rank every measure the House will consider this year...

Granted, that was 13 years ago. But considering his proud meeting today with The Black Robed regiment pastor, I think it's fair to assume that his beliefs haven't changed.

Just how many of these people are going to be in the US government if the Tea Party becomes the dominant faction in the GOP?