Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about ‘legitimate rape’ created a wildfire of controversy for the one-time underdog in the Missouri GOP Senate Primary. The follow-up explanation for how a woman’s body might defend itself against pregnancy defied both medical facts and good sense. It tells us much about Akin, and more importantly, those who stand in his defense.
Just before the August primary, Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the group Eagle Forum, threw her weight behind Akin. At the time her endorsement was given, it was becoming clear that the former dark horse candidate, who had long espoused the views of the lunatic fringe, might pull off an unlikely win. The reason for this was a simple one. Voter turnout was expected to be anemic, leaving the hardline, extremist minority in position to catapult Akin to victory.
It worked and Rep. Todd Akin stepped onto the national stage. It took him less than a month to fall off of it, bringing visions of Bob Dole to mind.
The aftermath has been as expected. His fledgling campaign for Senate has been marred by disgust and outrage from all demographics. Yet, despite heavy pressure from GOP mainstays, he has remained in the race.
This has much to do with Phyllis Schlafly, the most dangerous woman in America.
For the sake of context, I feel it’s important to share a little about my own personal background. I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church. My grandfather was a preacher his entire adult life. He entered the seminary after returning from the second World War. He taught me about Jesus and he taught me about His mercy. It is because of that education and foundation that, as a Christian, I feel it is my duty to speak out against those who would use religion as a tool to manipulate the hearts and minds of good people. Phyllis Schlafly is one who disguises the language of hate under the guise of religion.
There is historical prescident for Akin, Schlafly and the victories enjoyed by the far right in recent elections. In The Holy Reich, by Richard Steigmann-Gall and the Cambridge University Press, we gain an understanding for the sudden hard right the political process in this country has taken.
‘ The turbulence created by events unleashed a movement that, although having ideological roots in the prewar period, had been previously unable to enter the political mainstream. ‘
He was referring, of course, to the rise of the Nazi party in post World War I Germany, which was reeling from a set of successive shocks. The trauma of war, the guilt clause of the Versailles Treaty and domestic upheaval.
In America, we have seen the attacks of Sept. 11 and the hemmorage of ceaseless war. We have watched as our economy has been driven into ruin and to say we aren’t in the midst of domestic upheaval now would be disingenuous.
Schlafly and her Eagle Forum have been exerting influence over conservative politics for decades. She has left behind her a long trail of hateful rhetoric. Todd Akin has been her lap-dog during his time in the state legislature and in the House, pushing legislation steeped in Schlafly’s own distorted vision, particularly where women are concerned.
A look at Schlafly’s Eagle Forum web site offers an overview of the hatred she preaches. On it, she clearly outlines her own frightening vision for society. This organization of religious extremists touts itself as ‘leading the pro-family movement’, but one look at the doctrine of this organization reveals it to be the anything but family friendly.
In a few excerpts from the ‘Our Mission’ page, we see an example of her vision of ‘pro-family’. In it, she bastardizes thousands of working mothers trying to provide a future for their children, while working to make ends meet.
” We oppose the feminist goal of federally financed and regulated daycare. “
She clearly states her ‘pro-family’ doctrine does not extend to immigrants. In her view, they appear somewhat less than human. The language she uses is frighteningly similar to that Hitler used to describe the Jewish population.
” We support immediate border security to stop the entry of illegal aliens, illegal drugs, women seeking to give birth to “anchor babies,” Third World diseases, criminal gangs, and potential terrorists.We oppose all variations of amnesty and guest-worker visas. Our first task is to assimilate the millions of non-English-speaking foreignborn who are legal residents. ”
Education has been a target of Schlafly. She is a vocal proponent of ending the public education system and remaking it to suit her pseudo-religious curriculum.
” We support parents’ rights to guide the education of their own children, to protect their children against immoral instruction and materials, and to home-school without oppressive government regulations. ”
Schlafly and the extremism she promotes includes the elimination of the Judicial Branch of government, furthering the march toward dictatorship, already underway both in the Executive Branch and in the indifference of the Legislative:
” We support congressional action to curb the Imperial Judiciary by refusing to confirm activist judges and by withdrawing jurisdiction from the federal courts over areas where we don’t trust them, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments, the Boy Scouts, and the definition of marriage. ”
She would also undo Constitutional protections given the citizens of this country by the Founders, that allow the citizens at large the means to cease governance, should it be necessary. This is known as the Consitutional Convention:
” We oppose all efforts to call a new Constitutional Convention that could rewrite our U.S. Constitution. “
And, Schlafly states clearly:
” We support the sanctity of human life as a gift from our Creator, as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. ”
Schlafly has a long history of attacking women’s rights under the guise of her ‘pro-family’ organization. She has given us context for Akin’s remarks on rape, stating clearly, a married woman cannot be raped.
“By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.”
Her hatred toward women who dare work outside the home is reflected in this venomous spate:
“Men should stop treating feminists like ladies, and instead treat them like the men they say they want to be.” Also, “Sex-education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions.”
Her “pro-family” stance would include dismantling higher education, as she has said, ” U.S. colleges and universities are the enemies of the values of red-state Americans.” Regarding public education: “Our public school system is our country’s biggest and most inefficient monopoly, yet it keeps demanding more and more money.”
We are given insight into what Eagle Forum considers ‘immoral instruction and materials’ in the classroom as she has said: “It is long overdue for parents to realize they have the right and duty to protect our children against the intolerant evolutionists.”
Compared to Phyllis Schlafly, Akin sounds…dare I say, reasonable?
Unfortunately, Akin is a symptom of Schlafly’s disease. He parroted her views regarding marital rape, warning that such claims could be used as a “legal weapon to beat up on the husband” in a divorce proceeding.
Reported by the Washington Independent’s David Weigel and ThinkProgress’ Lee Fang, in a 2009 gathering of Eagle Forum supporters that included Gov. Mike Huckabee, Reps. Michelle Bachman (Minn), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Steve King (Iowa), Tom Price (Ga), Tom McClintock (Cali) and Akin, a specific doctrine of hatred was preached with the fervor of a tent revival. It should also be noted that, before winning their respective races, current MO Rep. Vicky Hartzler and 2012 candidate for Missouri Attorney General Ed Martin hosted workshops.
The focal point of the meeting centered around a speech given by Eagle Forum’s South Dakota president, Kitty Werthmann. In this address, we see the roots for the rise in right-wing extremism that has gripped our country and, contrary to popular belief, it is not perpetrated by veterans like Brandon Raub. Werthmann plied the receptive audience with fear and loathing, before delivering this edict to the group, using her childhood in Austria in the 1930’s to define the narrative:
” If we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition…Take back America. Don’t let them take this country into Socialism.”
The symposium was nothing short than a call to arms for “prayer warriors”. In it, the doctrine of religious extremism left nothing untouched. The conference promoted the idea of a ‘war on Christian values’. The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a pastor who advised Huckabee’s presidential campaign, pounded the podium as he spat anti-gay rhetoric to a willing crowd. The Bible, said Scarborough, called homosexuals “sodomites, which no one wants to talk about because it reminds them of their behavior.”
Frank Gaffney, president of the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, gave a tutorial on “picking fights” over seemingly obscure issues, to ultimately advance the position of the extreme right.
Rep. Franks showed a propaganda film presenting abortion as a plot hatched to commit genocide against African-Americans.
When the conference concluded, headliner Huckabee closed it by saying:
“God bless you and God bless Phyllis Schlafly most of all.”
In Ms. Werthmann’s speech, she noted that Hitler acted “like an American politician” and was “elected in a 100% Christian nation.” Cleverly, she left out Hitler’s anti-semitism and militarism. For context, it is important to note that, Hitler advocated ‘positive Christianity’.
Positive Christianity is a militant, non-denominational form of Christianity infused with nationalism and racial antisemitism. Christianity and nationalism being givens, the anti-Muslim fervor from the far right replaces anti-semitism, and echoes Schlafly’s views toward immigrants, as noted above.
To observe the marriage of religion and state, one can look at this speech, given by Adolf Hitler, on June 26, 1934:
“The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavour to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State today.”
If that seems familiar, it should. If it horrifies you, it should. It is the viewpoint, once held on the far right flank of the Republican party, that is now being preached from the pulpit of their National Convention. The infusion of nationalism with religious doctrine, to a population willing to accept it after enduring several sets of shocks is not a new plan. Hitler’s Germany and the America of today are a study in parallels.
In a final note of irony, the word ‘socialist’ has long been stigmatized as a result of its inclusion into the name of the Nazi party. There was nothing socialist about either his political party or system. As we all know, it was fascism, an unholy marriage of state, corporate power and religious or moral certainty. Right down to putting Jewish people into concentration camps and ovens. They were, after all, no better than Schlafly’s immigrants to America, who bring ‘ “anchor babies,” Third World diseases, criminal gangs, and potential terrorists ‘, into our country. Or perhaps I should call it our Fatherland.
You will not see Todd Akin at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week. Although he was in the city for a meeting with the Council on National Policy, of which Phyllis Schlafly is a long-standing member.
As Rachel Weiner of The Washington Post reported, the secretive CNP was: “Founded by prominent Christian conservatives in 1981…the CNP ‘brings together the country’s most influential conservative leaders in business, government, politics, religion and academia,’ according to its web site. Members are ‘united in their belief in limited government, a strong national defense, and support for traditional western values.”
The New York Times obtained a memo from the CNP to its membership, describing their desire to remain out of the spotlight while affecting policy.
“The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before or after a meeting.” The memo went on to state that membership is “strictly confidential”. It urges members not to refer to the organization by name when corresponding to each other to protect against leaks.
David D. Kirkpatrick went on to report that:
“The secrecy that surrounds the meeting and attendees like the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly and the head of the National Rifle Association, among others, makes it a subject of suspicion…”
The Rev. Tim LaHaye, author of the ‘Left Behind’ series was a founder. His partners included Paul Weyrich, another Christian conservative political organizer who also helped found the Heritage Foundation.
Kirkpatrick went on:
“Over the years, the council has become a staging ground for conservative efforts to make the Republican Party more socially conservative. Ms. Schlafly, who helped build a grass-roots network to help fight for socially conservative positions in the party, is a longstanding member.”
A major piece of the agenda at the time of his reporting, before the 2004 elections, was opposition to same-sex marriage. It was a valuable tool to bring out conservative voters.
The membership list, in 2004, was a who’s who of evangelical Protestant conservatives and their allies, including Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, My Weyrich, Holland H. Coors of the beer dynasty, Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
While it is unclear who makes up the membership before this election cycle, one can be certain that Phyllis Schlafly was in attendance as Akin met the true powers behind the GOP. He is, after all, her man for the season.
“God bless Phyllis Schlafly most of all.”
The most dangerous woman in America.