Or so writes Michael Brown, the Religious Right radio host who, in a BarbWire column today, says that Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal should not have appeared at a conference last week that was organized by radical activist Kevin Swanson, who advocates that the government execute gay people.
Swanson closed his National Religious Liberties Conference, which was attended by the three Republican presidential candidates, by explaining that the government should only execute gay people once they have enough time to repent. The summit also included two other speakers who want the government to treat homosexuality as a capital crime, one of whom distributed a pamphlet at the conference justifying such executions.
Responding to Rachel Maddow’s coverage of the event, Brown writes that the candidates must have been in the dark about Swanson’s extremist views, and that had they known, the Republican presidential candidates would have denounced him and rejected the invitation: “[T]he presidential candidates who attended this rally (Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz) were there to identify with the cause of religious liberty, and they too would categorically reject some of the words spoken at the conference (as well as reject some of the positions advocated by at least one of the speakers outside of the conference).”
It’s not as if Swanson’s views weren’t very easy to find.
Jake Tapper of CNN asked Cruz about appearing alongside Swanson before he (and his father) took part in the summit, reading the candidate Swanson’s remarks about the need to hold up signs at gay people’s weddings telling them that they should be put to death. Other outlets have also extensively reported on Swanson’s record before the event took place.
In fact, one presidential candidate who had been confirmed to speak at the conference pulled out of the event after he got wind of Swanson’s radical views.
Anyone who does a simple Google search for Kevin Swanson should know that he thinks that execution is the biblical punishment for gay people, and has been saying as much on his radio program for several years.
Does Brown really expect us to believe that no one on these three presidential campaigns knows how to use the Internet?
It seems more likely that these candidates just don’t mind catering to some of the most extreme anti-gay activists in the country; instead, they see it as a boon to their campaigns.