I’ve been mulling this over lately and doing some research on it. I know that Ron Paul calls himself a libertarian, but that doesn’t mean much; the Christian reconstructionists call themselves that too and far too many of them are supporting Paul’s candidacy to make me comfortable. I haven’t found any direct evidence that Paul is among them, but here’s some indirect evidence.
Michael Peroutka, the former Constitution Party candidate for president and a genuine theocrat, has endorsed Paul. In doing so, he uses exactly the kind of language that the fake “Christian libertarians” often use:
Rep. Paul believes, correctly, that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant word of God and thus it is not the role of God-ordained civil government, at any level, to feed, house, clothe or educate anybody.
Now that, by itself, is not evidence of anything. There are genuine Christian libertarians, like my friend Jim Babka, who would make similar statements. It’s a statement that real Christian libertarians and theocrats posing as libertarians would make so it doesn’t really help us understand which of those things Paul would be.
More telling, possibly, are his close ties to the latter group. Gary North, one of the most dogmatic and barbaric of the Christian reconstructionists, was on Paul’s Congressional staff at one point and North is supporting his candidacy as well. This is quite disturbing to me. It’s not as though North’s views could possibly have been a mystery to Paul. This is the man who has declared:
So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.
And yes, I have the original of the article and the quote is absolutely accurate and in context. North is an enthusiastic advocate of public stoning for everything from homosexuality to blasphemy. He has no place anywhere near political power and to put him on one’s staff sends up a huge red flag to me.
It’s also a bit disturbing to see Paul make statements like this:
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.
Exactly the sort of rhetoric we hear constantly from the religious right (though, ironically, it completely disagrees with Gary North, who argues the opposite of most reconstructionists and says that the Constitution was a satanic plot to destroy Christian government). The fact that he completely ignores the 14th amendment isn’t exactly comforting either. He is also stridently anti-abortion and opposes gay marriage.
But again, not necessarily conclusive. The statement, in context, is also consistent with a moderate, reasonable accommodationist position of the Washington/Adams variety. So my conclusion at this point is maybe. I’d be curious to hear other’s opinions on that and any other evidence anyone has seen either way.