Boykin Sees Religious Right Advocacy as Continuation of the War on Terror
The conservative Christian magazine WORLD profiled Jerry Boykin, the former general turned conservative activist. Boykin left the military shortly after he was reprimanded by President Bush for making speeches, while in uniform, that depicted the “war on terrorism” as a holy war against Islam. In the article, Boykin describes his new post at the Family Research Council as a continuation of his old job at the Pentagon in fighting terrorism, telling WORLD, “Staying in the battle is the right thing to do.”
Even before becoming executive vice president of the FRC last July, Boykin was touting all sorts of bizarre, anti-Muslim and right-wing conspiracy theories and working with groups like the Oak Initiative, a project of televangelist Rick Joyner.
Boykin said that after turning down multiple offers from Tony Perkins to join the FRC, he finally decided to accept Perkins’s proposal because he “learned not to tell God you wouldn’t so something because before long that is the very thing He will have you do.”
“Boykin hopes to apply the strategies he learned in the Special Forces,” WORLD’s Edward Lee Pitts reports, and Boykin warned that there is an attempt to “remove God from society” and replace God with “evil.”
Last year, Boykin, 64, became the new executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), the D.C.-based group that has been promoting a Christian worldview in the public policy arena since 1983. It’s a task made more warlike as the nation’s capital becomes enemy territory for social conservatives.
Boykin handles day-to-day operations as the organization’s second-in-command, interacting with lawmakers, managing interviews with the press, and serving as a public face. Going into an environment where his group is considered an outcast is not a new task for Boykin, an original member who became commander of the Army’s elite counterterrorism group Delta Force.
It also isn’t Boykin’s first time patrolling Washington politics. As a deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Boykin endured a year under the political microscope. Memories of what turned into an ordeal a decade ago led Boykin to turn down the job offer from FRC President Tony Perkins initially. But God had other plans.
Retiring from the Army in June 2007, the New Bern, N.C., native vowed to reembrace rural life and never to return to Washington. When Perkins first offered Boykin the chance to join the FRC, Boykin refused, saying he felt emotionally unprepared for a return to the city. For a year and a half Perkins kept asking and Boykin kept saying no.
But family and friends unanimously told him he should reconsider. “I’ve learned not to tell God you wouldn’t do something because before long that is the very thing He will have you do,” said Boykin. “Staying in the battle is the right thing to do.”
Now, Boykin says he believes the controversy over his talks to churches is being used to prepare him to be able to fight the country’s culture battles: “The movement needs some grizzled old people not easily frightened by what the opposition does. Once you’ve been kicked around a bit it doesn’t hurt so much.”
Boykin hopes to apply the strategies he learned in the Special Forces, starting with having an appreciation and understanding of the opposition: “I give a great deal of credit to liberal progressive organizations in this country for message unity.” Too many social conservatives, he said, have become apathetic, expecting that someone else will defend their beliefs.
“Not enough of us are out there fighting,” said Boykin, who attributed that to the stream of media ridicule often faced by outspoken social conservatives.
Boykin, who on a recent mid-January day was preparing to visit House Speaker John Boehner’s office on Capitol Hill, described the country he’s fought for as “almost rudderless,” where a whole generation has failed to learn about the nation’s religious roots. He plans to focus this year on the nation’s debt, its growing addiction to entitlements, the integrity of the family, and the sanctity of life.
“When you remove God from society,” he said, “that void is filled with something else, and in most cases that something else is evil.”
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