As the three Democratic presidential candidates were attending a South Carolina candidate forum hosted by Rachel Maddow on Friday, three Republicans running for president were at a conference organized by a radical right-wing pastor who has defended the death penalty for homosexuality.
On her program last night, Maddow filled her viewers in on Friday’s Republican campaign event, showing videos of Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee engaging in question-and-answer sessions with extremist pastor Kevin Swanson, who then went on to say that he would smear cow dung over his body to protest a gay couple’s wedding and urged the government to execute gays in the future if they don’t repent.
As Maddow also pointed out, Swanson’s views on homosexuality were well-known even before he hosted the weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference, and he wasn’t the only speaker at the conference who had called for homosexuality to be treated as a capital crime.
One conference speaker distributed literature at the event laying out how and why gay people should be put to death, discussing stoning and throwing people off cliffs as possible punishments. In fact, Swanson’s views are so extreme and so easy to find that one presidential candidate reportedly pulled out of the event once their campaign was tipped off to his radicalism.
“A pretty major theme of the event both in terms of the literature that was available at the event and the way the host of the conference spoke from the stage, a significant theme was the practical challenges and the timing of how exactly and when exactly the United States of America should start rounding up gay people in this country in order to execute them,” she said.
“It really was a ‘kill-the-gays’ call to arms,” Maddow continued. “This was a conference about the necessity of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality.”
Seeing that the Republicans who appeared at this event will be at the Fox Business debates tonight, Maddow said it might be worth asking them why they would attend “a kill-the-gays rally.”
“I don’t know if that is considered to be a scandal anymore in Republican politics,” she said.
Her remarks on the right-wing conference start at the 5:55 mark: