Written by Igor Volsky
Ron Paul has developed a “live and let live” approach to same-sex marriage and gay rights on the campaign trail, but his efforts to attract Evangelical voters ahead of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses have revealed, a darker social conservative side to the libertarian Republican from Texas. For instance, earlier this week, the Paul campaign touted the endorsement of Reverend Phillip Kayser, pastor of Dominion Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska, for the “enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.” Kayser has previously argued that the Bible justifies capital punishment against gay people — and still stands by this belief:
“Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just,” he argued. “But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative. Biblical law would recognize as a matter of justice that even if this law could be enforced today, homosexuals could not be prosecuted for something that was done before.”
Reached by phone, Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating Biblical punishments for homosexuals — including the death penalty — even if he didn’t see much hope for it happening anytime soon. While he said he and Paul disagree on gay rights, noting that Paul recently voted for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he supported the campaign because he believed Paul’s federalist take on the Constitution would allow states more latitude to implement fundamentalist law. Especially since under Kayser’s own interpretation of the Constitution there is no separation of Church and State.
Paul has since stripped the press release announcing Kayser’s endorsement from its site, but Kayser is not the only anti-gay supporter to join the campaign. Mike Heath, formerly of the Maine Family Policy Council and American Family Association, came on board earlier this month to run church outreach. Heath has suggested that gay marriage was to blame for Maine’s “endless rain and gloom,” writing, “Our leaders allowed a cloud of error to hide the light of reason, and then the rain began.” In 2004, he embarked on a witch hunt against gay members of the Maine legislature, asking supporters, to “e-mail us tips, rumors, speculation and facts” regarding the sexual orientation of the state’s political leaders.”
Paul’s old newsletters from the late 1980s and 1990s have described HIV/AIDS as a gay disease and Paul himself refused to use the bathroom in the the house of a gay supporter. As longtime Paul aide Eric Dondero has revealed, Paul is “personally uncomfortable around homosexuals, no different from a lot of older folks of his era.”
This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.
Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr creative commons