As we have noted before, Democrats in Kansas have rightly been making an issue of Sam Brownback’s ties to Lou Engle given that the two lived together for several months after Brownback’s condo burned down.
Recently, Brownback tried to distance himself a bit from Engle, saying that he had some concerns about some of Engle’s views but for the most part Brownback has been trying to ignore the issue … which is getting harder as Democrats continue to make it an issue:
Kansas Democrats are highlighting Republican gubernatorial nominee Sam Brownback’s ties to a controversial evangelist, saying the association raises questions about his judgment.
The Kansas Democratic Party cites Brownback’s appearance at a 2007 rally for evangelist Lou Engle, who has urged Christians to fast and pray that “God, the avenger of blood” will heal the nation’s sins of abortion and homosexuality.
“Does Sam Brownback know where to draw the line?” said Kenny Johnston, the Kansas Democratic Party’s executive director. “It’s an important question to ask about Sam Brownback’s judgment.”
Brownback’s opponent, Tom Holland, even released a statement questioning Brownback’s ties to Engle:
“I have read the stories in the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Lawrence Journal World and by the Associated Press detailing Senator Brownback’s relationship with Lou Engle, and my staff has shared with me additional information1 on Mr. Engle’s views and statements. I found all of this to be very troubling.
“The next Governor of Kansas will need to bring people together, not divide them along lines of fear and bigotry.
“Whether it’s upholding the executive ban on workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians, or preventing our state from being defined by the messages of Fred Phelps and Lou Engle – the next Governor has a responsibility to protect the rights of every Kansan.
“We’ve seen what happens when right-wing extremists get the spotlight; our state becomes a punch line on late night talk shows and companies think twice before bringing new jobs to our state. We can’t go down that path again.
“I’m running to be a leader for all Kansans, so that we can continue our legacy as a Free State, where discrimination and bigotry – against anyone – is not tolerated.”
Brownback’s campaign refuses to comment, but as Bruce Wilson notes, it is not only Engle with whom he has ties, but other leaders like Dutch Sheets as well (you may recall how Sheets’ prayers led to the capture of Saddam Hussein):
Former US Senator Brownback told the Topeka, Kansas Lawrence Journal-World, “He [Engle] said a number of things that I’m troubled by,” and Brownback added, “I haven’t had much association with him for some period of time.” In Sam Brownback’s lexicon, ‘some period of time’ would have to mean ‘at least ten months’ because back in December 2009 Brownback could be found up onstage with Lou Engle, who led the Family Research Council’s nationally broadcast “Prayercast” against health care reform.
Brownback’s disavowal elides his long association with Lou Engle. As I broke here at Talk To Action in late December 2009, Lou Engle says he and Sam Brownback lived together for 7 months in a rented Washington DC condominium. And, in footage from Brownback’s 2007 appearance at Lou Engle’s Nashville TheCall rally, evangelist Dutch Sheets stated that Brownback, whom Sheets called a personal friend to both Sheets, Lou Engle, and other mutual associates, had already attended four of Lou Engle’s TheCall events.
If Brownback has “concerns” about Engle, it sure didn’t stop him attending at least four of his The Call events.