If Trump is Responsible for His Rallies, Then Shouldn't Cruz Be Responsible for His Advisors?

Donald Trump has taken righteous heat for the violence at his rallies. Telling his violent supporters that he will pay their legal bills is outrageous. Predicting riots if he isn’t nominated is likely to be taken as a coded message by his supporters. Trump tells his crowds that protesters are bad people and get what they deserve. He does bear some responsibility for his rallies and the general decline in discourse during the 2016 campaign. Some evangelical leaders are pretty upset about it (see the video of Al Mohler and John MacArthur below).
Earlier today a reader sent a link to Steve Deace’s public Facebook page where he carries on the low level of discourse. Given Ted Cruz’s embrace and praise of Deace and Deace’s representation of Cruz, does Cruz have any responsibility to disavow comments like this? Just one will illustrate:
Deace Buttermilk
It was Cruz’s surrogate Glenn Beck who called John Kasich “delusional” and a “son of a bitch” recently because Kasich wouldn’t bow out of the race with not a peep from Cruz.*
My point is not that name calling and crude humor doesn’t happen in politics or any other domain as far as that goes (cue Mark Driscoll’s William Wallace III). However, if blame is going to be assigned for the crude rhetoric in the campaign, then let’s cast a wider net. Furthermore, I can understand the passions which give rise to these outbursts. For myself, I am beyond angry at the choices in front of me and specifically worried that my party might actually nominate someone who wants to commit the nation to mass deportation of 12 million illegal immigrants. However, if I ever resort to sexual innuendo and crass name calling, please readers call me out on it.
Mohler and MacArthur on the campaign.
I want to hasten to add that my objection to Trump and Cruz isn’t primarily a moralistic one. I do object to the gutter politics and rhetoric but the larger problem is their approach to the presidency and policies. They promise things that are never going to happen and act as if we don’t have a legislative branch. I am not sure their followers understand how a bill becomes law. Trump seems like he can wave a wand and it will happen and Cruz has not displayed the skills for compromise, and in fact seems to hold such skills in disdain.
*Although not the subject of this post, I also think Cruz has responsibility to correct the errors of those who speak on his behalf at his rallies such as Glenn Beck. Beck’s misrepresentation of history in his stories about George Washington should have resulted in a public acknowledgement and apology from Beck and Cruz.  Beck stopped telling that particular false story only after Huffington Post called him out.

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.

David Barton Says 4 Professors Criticized The Jefferson Lies; He Forgot Some

Facts are pesky.
On July 19, Steve Deace interviewed David Barton (at 24:12 in hour 3) in Iowa after the big political confab there with Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Deace asked Barton to describe the controversy over The Jefferson Lies (now approaching a year ago). He also asked if there was any substance to the criticism.
Barton said a bunch of stuff he usually says about it (e.g., publisher Thomas Nelson got scared of the scary professors, etc.). Then he said:

You’ve got about 6,000 universities in America and they found four professors who criticized what I did. Well, 6,000 universities, you probably have 60,000 professors and they found four who didn’t like it.

Well, we all know who two of them are. But just four? I think he forgot some. Last August, World Magazine reported that Jay Richards assembled 10 Christian professors who expressed a negative response to the book.  Then there was Clay Jenkinson, and Martin Marty, and John Fea, and Paul Harvey, and Regent University’s Chuck Dunn, and Greg Forster, and Gregg Frazer and Steven Green. And then there were the 650 voters in the History News Network poll who helped Barton squeak out the Least Credible History Book in Print designation, just beating out Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” Then more recently, 34 Christian history and social science professors approached Family Research Council about the Capitol Tour video (which FRC removed from view due to the errors).
Please note that most of the people referred to in this post are evangelical Christians.
Christian publisher Thomas Nelson’s reasons for pulling the book were expressed in World’s report:

The publisher “was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies].” The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, and “in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution.”

Need to refresh your memory? See the World coverage here and here
UPDATE: Readers have reminded me of some additional historian/professors who have had negative things to say about The Jefferson Lies. Let’s add Daniel Dreisbach, Kevin Gutzman, and James Stoner, and Miles Mullin and John David Wilsey and Randall J. Stephens and Karl W. Giberson

P.S. He still is completely botching the Jefferson Bible…
P.P.S. Are you a professor? Email or tweet to add your name, or leave your name in the comments.
English prof Jeff Sharlet and Religious Studies prof Julie Ingersoll have added their names to the “four.”
Add History professors Jared Burkholder, Jay Case, Brenda Schoolfield, Keith Beutler, Joseph Moore, Scott Culpepper, Bobby Griffith, Paul Fessler, Jason Dikes, Chris Gehrz, Chris Cantwell, Jonathan Wilson, Alan Snyder, Glenn Sunshine, Philip Perdue, and Rachel Larson, and also Religious Studies profs Michael J. Altman and P.C. Kemeny to the list of profs. Independent historian Michael Miles concurs.
Glad to add Yoni Appelbaum, GCC colleague Dan Brown (the entire GCC history dept is included in the 34 profs who wrote to FRC), math prof Sharon McCathern, Environmental Ethics prof Bron Taylor and English prof Steve Roberts.
UPDATE: Steve Deace posted my rebuttal to Barton.

The Holy Ghost told Peter Waldron that Michele Bachmann is the one for President

Peter Waldron is a faith based adviser to Michele Bachmann. Bachmann’s campaign credited Waldron for helping Bachmann win the Iowa straw poll in August. Waldron made some news of his own in August when The Atlantic   disclosed that Waldron had been arrested in Uganda on terrorism charges. Those charges were never proven and later dropped. I reported here shortly after that story broke that Waldron supported Bachmann because he considered her to anointed by God for office like King David in comparison to Rick Perry who was more like King Saul. Events since then have made him half right. Perry has fallen on his own sword several times, while Bachmann has imploded, falling to single digits in the polls.

Hoping for a King David like victory in the Iowa caucus against whatever Goliath might happen to be standing at the time, Waldron is still active, working for Bachmann in Iowa. Last Thursday, Waldron appeared on the Steve Deace radio show to explain his support for Bachmann. When Deace asked Waldron at 49:33, “Why Michele Bachmann?” Waldron replied:

Waldron: I’m compelled by Scripture. If I may tell you the story of Michele Bachmann, how I came

Deace: Can you do it in 60 seconds?

Waldron: I can do it in less than 60 seconds.

Deace: Go ahead.

Waldron: I was interviewed by several candidates. I came to Iowa to be interviewed by Hermann Cain. I met with him at the Holiday Inn in downtown Des Moines. He was scheduled to speak at a home schooling event over at the capital. I went over to hear him speak and this woman came out and she spoke and the Holy Ghost said to me as I was standing there, uh, this is the one. And I left Des Moines, returned to my offices in Tennessee, I prayed and God said volunteer. So literally I volunteered for Michele Bachmann and a funny thing happened on the way to Des Moines.

Deace: Peter Waldron is here and he is working for the Michele Bachmann campaign and he makes the case that if you are an uncommitted values voters, she is your candidate.

After a break, Waldron made the case that Bachmann was the only candidate to look at every sector of society (law, politics, arts, etc) through a “biblical worldview” and thus the only candidate that God would bless to heal the nation. Waldron invoked I Chronicles 7:14 (“if my people pray and turn from their wicked ways, then…I will heal their land”) and said Bachmann was the only candidate who would bring prayer to the White House. Waldron compared Bachmann’s religious views to William Jennings Bryan and that this election is the most important election since the Civil War. Bachmann, says Waldron, is a Proverbs 31 woman who lives out her faith. Without such a President, the country is headed for a catastrophic end.

Host Deace asked Waldron what Bachmann would do about the Supreme Court rulings with which she disagreed. Specifically, Deace asked what Bachmann would do if the Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act. Deace believes that any law that “does not square” with God’s law is no law at all. Although he said he wasn’t speaking for Bachmann, Waldron’s answer was to defund the judges and/or impeach them. He did promise this on behalf of Bachmann:

I make three promises for her in the last 20 seconds – First, she will protect the people, she will promote righteousness and she will punish wickedness, all defined by the Bible.

Politically, Waldron says that Bachmann is poised for a January surprise. He says that Bachmann has a strong and large organization on the ground working to get her people out for the caucus meetings. He predicts a victory in Iowa which will propel her to victories in South Carolina (another state Waldron has worked in for her) and Florida (where he claims to have worked from McCain in 2008).

Some may believe Bachmann has already had her day in the sun. However, many thought that about Newt Gingrich and he is now surging. I don’t think people should underestimate Bachmann in Iowa and what a strong showing there could do for her chances in SC and FL.

Additional note: Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch posted last week that Peter Waldron’s co-author, George Grant, endorsed Michele Bachmann. Here is the video:

Grant once wrote this about the role of Christians in society:

Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ-to have dominion in the civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.

But it is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice.

It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.

It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.

It is dominion we are after.

World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power ofthe Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less.

If Jesus Christ is indeed Lord, as the Bible says, and if our commission is to bring the land into subjection to His Lordship, as the Bible says, then all our activities, all our witnessing, all our preaching, all our craftsmanship, all our stewardship, and all our political action will aim at nothing short of that sacred purpose.

Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land – of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ. It is to reinstitute the authority of God’s Word as supreme over all judgments, over all legislation, over all declarations, constitutions, and confederations.

Seems clear enough to me. The folks who are getting on the Bachmann band wagon want dominion and Peter Waldron told Steve Deace that she is the only candidate who can deliver.

Despite Waldron and Bachmann’s assurances that dominionist evangelicals don’t have to settle for a compromise candidate, there might be some political angling left in the campaign. At one point, Grant’s endorsement was up on the Bachmann website but now it is gone.