The Religious Right, Guns and White Supremacists

We have pointed out numerous times that the religious right is, fundamentally, a political movement that uses faith as a weapon to divide and conquer. That’s why you see religious-right groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association line up behind Republican politicians on issues ranging from taxes to business and environmental regulation. Another example: guns.

On Wednesday, David Barton will host Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America on his WallBuilders Live radio program. According to its website, the goals of Barton’s Texas-based WallBuilders organization are:

“(1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena.”

What in the world would the debate over gun control have to do with any of that?

Pratt is a former Virginia lawmaker who has founded a number of right-wing organizations. His views on guns are so extreme that, as the Southern Poverty Law Center points out, Pratt has been described as “eight lanes to the right” of the National Rifle Association and “may well be the person who brought the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”

Earlier this month Pratt expressed his disapproval with conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s contention that Second Amendment rights are not unlimited. He even argues against requiring background checks for people purchasing firearms. And he says gun safety laws are “the most pagan of paganism”:

“Frankly, it almost would seem that animism won’t go away. The left, which is largely made up of people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ’s blood as being necessary for our salvation, view inanimate objects as possessing their own will. That’s animism, that’s a return to the most pagan of paganism and look at what nutty political views it ends up supporting.”

Such extreme views seem to be standard on Barton’s WallBuilders program. But here’s another interesting tidbit: the SPLC explains that Pratt was removed as national c0-chair of Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign after his past associations with white supremacists were revealed. In 1992, for example, Pratt spoke at a meeting of 160 extremists, including many infamous white supremacists. From the SPLC:

“It was at that meeting, hosted in Colorado by white supremacist minister Pete Peters, that the contours of the militia movement were laid out.”

Pete Peters? Well, then Barton and Pratt should have something to talk about other than just gun control on the WallBuilders program. Barton spoke at a Pete Peters event in Colorado in 1991, a year before Pratt’s speaking engagement. Barton has sued two former Democratic candidates for the Texas State Board of Education because their 2010 campaigns sponsored an Internet video pointing out Barton’s connection to the 1991 Peters event and another event for white supremacists in Oregon the same year. In fact, the two events have been reported on extensively, as the links at the end of this TFN press release note. And now Barton has invited another speaker at white supremacist events on to his radio show. They’re supposed to talk about guns, but they should have plenty of time to reminisce about good ol’ Pete Peters. (Check out a couple of SPLC articles on Peters, who died in 2011, here and here.)

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5 Comments

  1. Derek in Iowa
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I keep puzzling over this “gun control = paganism” meme that the right has been floating the last few weeks. It seems to me that the gun freaks are the ones acting like pagans: threaten their totem object, their fetish (in the original, anthropological sense of that word), and they start calling on their God to rain curses down on your head. Ascribing holy properties or origins to weapons or the things people do with them is classic, old-school paganism. I think these people are laying up treasure on earth, where it will only turn to rust. They should study the teachings of this Jesus fellow more closely instead of just moaning his name all the time.

  2. Marsisi
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    It’s actually fortunate for Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau (the two Democratic candidates for SBOE) that Barton sued them for defamation. The ultimate defense for libel and slander (the two sides of defamation) is truth. It seems to be well documented that he had extensive dealings with white supremacists. I think he’ll be laughed out of court. I hope the court orders Barton to pay all the court costs and reimburse Jennings and Bell-Metereau for their attorneys’ fees and any other money they’ve had to expend defending themselves.

  3. Charles
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I think they should call them “white supremacysts.”

  4. doodlebugger
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Dano,
    The Revisionaries is on TONIGHT on PBS.
    You guys should have that out here so people see it eh?
    Will

    • Dan
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      doodlebugger,
      yeah, we put something up last week, but you’re right — we’ll put up something now.

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