On Michael Peroutka's Incorrect Charge that a Video of His Speech to the League of the South Was Changed

Video of Anne Arundel County Council candidate Michael Peroutka’s press conference yesterday is now available. The entire conference follows the excerpt I want to present first. In the presser, Peroutka was asked if his endorsement of Southern secession and singing of Dixie as the national anthem was a mistake. He responded by saying that I altered the video to suit my political objectives. Au contraire, Mr. Peroutka, you do not speak truly.
First here is Peroutka’s claim:
You can go to the posts where those clips are embedded (on secession and on Dixie) and see that I did not alter his words. And in the second post (on Dixie as the national anthem), I included the entire video as recorded at the conference by League of the South leader Michael Cushman. Jonathan Hutson points this out as well in his Huffington Post article:

Peroutka asserted that Professor Warren Throckmorton had “altered” the revealing 2012 video of his controversial comments and “Dixie” chorus at the League convention before posting it online. In fact, Throckmorton had reposted the entire, unaltered, 51-minute video on the conservative Evangelical Christian blog Patheos. The video was shot by Michael Cushman, a former member of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group, who now leads the League’s South Carolina chapter. Cushman had posted it at RedShirtArmy, a League-affiliated YouTube channel.
Cushman, in an irate comment posted under Throckmorton’s piece, demonstrates that the video is authentic, because he insists that he made it, and he demands credit. He complains that “neither this hit-piece nor the Leftist bloggers who are linking to it give me any credit for shooting this video.” He adds, “Nor did they ask my permission to post it on their websites.” The unedited video on Patheos is identical to the one on RedShirtArmy. Several outlets, including RightWing Watch, Raw Story, and Gawker, have posted clips of the video, crediting Throckmorton with the find.

Watch the entire press conference here:
Peroutka didn’t help himself with this performance. He refused to back away from the League of the South, he defended secession, and said calling Dixie the national anthem was just fine. If anything, he simply validated my reporting and that of others.

Steve Deace on the Mark Driscoll Controversies: Ingroup Bias Illustrated

Steve Deace is a right wing, religiously conservative radio show host in Iowa. He appears to have a sizable tea party following and weekly gives League of the South member and Anne Arundel County Council candidate Michael Peroutka a platform on his broadcast. Yesterday on his Facebook page, he discussed recent controversies surrounding Mark Driscoll, but ranted more about Rachel Held Evans (calling her “Rob Bell in drag”) and me than he did about Driscoll. He seems upset that Evans and I have been bringing facts to the public while people he likes more are being silent.
About Evans and me, Deace writes:

If Driscoll’s sins are so great, then surely we can find those within Christendom who actually have solid theological credentials as the means by which to hold him accountable for them. But I consistently see two names quoted regarding Driscoll’s misdeeds and malfeasance. And these are people that shouldn’t be taken seriously as a source on anything regarding the integrity of the faith until they publicly repent themselves.

One of them is Warren Throckmorton. Throckmorton is a moral heretic. A proponent of homosexuality. He also once claimed Michael Anthony Peroutka, a man I have known for years who has even been a guest in my home, is a racist all because he actually believes what the Founders believed. The other is a flat-out heretic/pretend evangelical named Rachel Held Evans. She’s basically Rob Bell in drag.

Deace says he doesn’t mind holding Driscoll accountable but then pines away for someone who thinks like him to do it for him. He illustrates his position in the comments section of his article by saying:

Many of the devil’s accusations against us are true, but that doesn’t make him a source worth citing.

In an earlier comment he chastises a reader who defends getting truth from “known heretics” because “we are legitimizing heretics in front of the sheep.”

Deace appears to be worried that those who get accurate information from me on Mars Hill Church might read other things I write and then be persuaded to believe ideas he opposes. I don’t know Mr. Deace but he seems to have a low view of his audience. I suppose it is possible that some Mars Hill readers will consider other materials on my blog and in my other writings. In fact, I hope they do. However, I hope they will consider them with the same critical thinking skills they use with the material on Driscoll. Deace seems to be afraid that our ideas (whatever he thinks they are) will be so compelling that they will be swept away into heresy via the truth presented about Mars Hill. It is a lame argument as many of the commenters on his post declare.

In his Facebook attack, Deace displays classic ingroup bias defined by social psychologist David Myers as “the tendency to favor one’s own group.” The ingroup is good and the outgroup is bad. Most, if not all people, have engaged in this kind of bias at one time or another. However, along with a frequent fellow traveler, confirmation bias, ingroup bias can have negative consequences. Often ingroup bias fosters stereotyping and prejudice against outgroups. In his social psychology text*, Myers explains:

We also ascribe uniquely human emotions (love, hope contempt, resentment) to ingroup members, and are more reluctant to see such human emotions in outgroup members…There is a long history of denying human attributes to outgroups — a process called “infrahumanization.” European explorers  pictured many of the peoples they encountered as savages ruled by animal instinct. (p. 328-9)*

To a lesser degree, Deace exhibits this negative side-effect. He repeatedly labels Held and me as “heretics” and calls Evans “Rob Bell in drag.” He calls into question the facts we present because we are not part of the ingroup as he has drawn the boundaries. As a matter of intellectual hygiene, I think it is desirable to become aware of and avoid ingroup bias. Such bias can lead to an avoidance of truth (as in this case) and harmful stereotyping.
I can’t speak for Evans, but in my case, his biases have led him to call me a heretic for two basic reasons: he says I am a proponent of homosexuality and he says I oppose Michael Peroutka. That’s it. For Deace, I am not credible for these reasons. Let’s examine them.
I don’t know what he means by “proponent of homosexuality.” Indeed, I am a proponent of equal treatment under the law for every citizen. I oppose stereotyping and prejudice against GLBT people. I believe Christians should be honest about research relating to sexual orientation. For instance, it is clear that sexual reorientation therapy doesn’t work and should be avoided. However, I also support the right of anyone to abstain from any sexual activity if their religion forbids it. Deace uses the phrase “proponent of homosexuality” as if one can create more of it by being in favor of it. This, of course, is inconsistent with any research on the subject and as a Christian I feel it is my duty to tell the truth about that. However, I learned years ago that being an ingroup member meant shading the truth or lying about it in order to preserve the prevailing beliefs of ingroup leaders.
On Peroutka, Deace says I oppose Peroutka because Peroutka believes what the founders believed. That is a bizarre and selective reading of my writing about Peroutka, the Institute on the Constitution and the League of the South. In fact, Peroutka believes some of what the founders believed but he distorts the founders to make them into Christian reconstructionists.
I have pointed out that Institute on the Constitution founder and Anne Arundel County Council candidate Michael Peroutka was once a board member of the League of the South, has been a frequent speaker at their conferences, pledged his resources to the League, and refused to distance himself from the League in response to criticism from current Republican leaders in MD. I have pointed out that the League of the South is working to generate support for Southern secession, and wants to establish a white homeland in the South apart from the rest of the nation. League president Michael Hill denigrates Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Lincoln, while lauding Nathan Bedford Forrest (first grand wizard of the KKK). On Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution website, articles justify slavery and racial discrimination. Peroutka thinks the South was fighting for freedom and the right cause. He laments the fact that the South lost at Gettysburg. To the League of the South conference in 2012, he favored secession and led them in singing “I Wish I Was in Dixie” as their national anthem.  Peroutka says he is not a racist, but then he says he doesn’t know racists in the League of the South. The League of the South wants a white Southern homeland. What should we call that?
It is beyond me how Steve Deace can embrace Michael Peroutka and call me a heretic. I do not understand that way of thinking. However, if Steve Deace said the sky is blue or that Jesus rose from the dead, I would believe him.
On the other hand, I won’t believe him when he tells me that Michael Peroutka is promoting an honorable cause. I don’t reject Deace’s views about Peroutka and the League because Deace is not in my ingroup, but rather because I have evaluated the evidence with my own mind. And that is what Deace should do about Mark Driscoll, and Rachel Held Evans, and me. If he did, he might find truth in surprising places.
*Myers, D. (2010). Social psychology, (10th Ed.). New York:McGraw-Hill.

Michael Peroutka Calls League of the South "A Christian Free Market Group"; African-American Group Invites Peroutka to Speak

This morning former League of the South board member and candidate for Anne Arundel County Council Michael Peroutka held his news conference in Maryland. I was unable to go but I talked to one person in the meeting and am seeing some news reports filed after the event.
According to a source at the event, Peroutka accused me of unfairly editing the video of his 2012 speech at the League of the South annual conference. In that video, he supported secession and led the crowd in “Dixie”, calling it the “national anthem.” That post is here and as you will see, I included the entire video uncut, along with a separate video of his tribute to Dixie. In other words, if my source is accurate and Peroutka accused me of editing the video, Peroutka was wrong.
According to my source and the Capital Gazette, Peroutka called the League of the South “a Christian, free-market group.” According to this report, he sees no racism in the League of the South. The League of the South is pretty clear that they want a Southern homeland for white Europeans.
Peroutka’s designation for the League is not one that the League uses. They claim to be a Southern Nationalist organization that seeks secession and you don’t have to be a Christian to be in the League.
If his approach to the League is any indication, I doubt Peroutka helped himself with this press conference.
Meanwhile, a local caucus of African-American leaders has invited Peroutka to speak to their organization.


Annapolis, Maryland- July 30, 2014– Carl O. Snowden, convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders have invited Michael Anthony Peroutka, the Republican candidate for Anne Arundel County District Five to address the Caucus of African American Leaders at its September meeting.
Mr. Peroutka who is holding a 10:30 a.m. press conference today at Hampton Inn in Glen Burnie, Maryland  to respond to allegations that he is affiliated with a hate group and that he is an extremist. 

He is expected to respond to both the Caucus and other Republican candidates that have indicated that they will not support his candidacy. 
Mr. Snowden applauded District 30  Republican State Senate  candidate Don Quinn, who has publicly disavowed the candidacy of Mr. Peroutka. 

The Caucus of African American Leaders is a consortium of black elected officials, clergy, and civil rights organizations in Anne Arundel County, which includes the NAACP, Black Chamber of Commerce, sororities and activists.   The Caucus has invited both Republicans and Democrats to address them in the past. 

Previous candidates who have spoken before the Caucus include County Executive Laura Neuman, Speaker Michael E. Busch, Delegate Steve Schuh, former Anne Arundel County Sheriff George F. Johnson and Mr. Quinn to name a few.

“We believe that Don Quinn and the Republican candidate for Governor Larry Hogan is correct in their assertion that the extremist right-wing views of Mr. Peroutka should not be represented on the Anne Arundel County Council and we have called on Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides to join his fellow Republicans in denouncing his candidacy”, said Mr. Snowden.
He further stated, “Because we anticipate that Mr. Peroutka will deny that he is an extremist with racial animus, we are extending this public invitation for him to join us at our September meeting at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center in Annapolis, Maryland to speak directly to African American leaders’, said Mr. Snowden.
Mr. Snowden who knows Peroutka spokesman John Lofton, the two served together as panelist on WJZ-TV’s Square Off program, said, “All one has to do is review the public statements of John Lofton and Michael Anthony Peroutka and if their views are not extremist, than water is not wet”.  

For more information, please call 410-269-1524.


Paul Tripp Has Resigned from the Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability

Paul Tripp has resigned from the Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability.

Tripp, one of the newest board members and popular conference speaker, was unavailable this morning, but in response to my question about Tripp’s membership on the Mars Hill Church BOAA, Steve Sarkisian, Vice President of Paul Tripp Ministries, told me, “Paul resigned from the board.”

No reason was given for the departure.

Paul Tripp was appointed to the Board in November, 2013.

I will add more information as it becomes available.