Institute On The Constitution Meets With State Legislators In Washington & Idaho

Jake MacAulay, the president of the Christian Reconstructionist group Institute on the Constitution, has in the past week posted on social media about meetings with state legislators in Idaho and Washington state.

The Institute on the Constitution says that its mission “is to restore our American Founding Fathers’ Biblical, Constitutional, American View of law and government.” In practice, what that means is insisting that the Constitution requires that public policy be molded after a specific interpretation of the Bible.

Back in 2014, the group’s founder, Michael Peroutka, argued that the general assembly of his home state of Maryland was “no longer a valid legislative body” because it had voted on legislation that he deemed violations of “God’s law,” including approving marriage equality. “Is it possible that those who are sworn to uphold the law, such as police and sheriffs and judges and prosecutors, may soon come to the conclusion that the enactments of this body should be ignored because they are based not in law, but in lawlessness?” Peroutka wrote. MacAulay has argued that anyone who doesn’t believe in God isn’t “qualified” to hold public office.

MacAulay took over IOTC from Peroutka, a former member of the secessionist group League of the South who is now a local Republican official in Maryland. MacAulay himself has long been promoting a theocratic worldview, along with extreme anti-LGBTQ sentiment. Devin Burghart from the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights described MacAulay’s early career as a sidekick to anti-LGBTQ pastor Bradlee Dean at Dean’s “Minnesota-based hard rock homophobic ministry, You Can Run But You Can’t Hide International”:

As the backwards ball cap wearing sidekick to the long-hair and tattooed Dean, MacAulay often joined in spewing hatred of gays and lesbians on stage and on their radio show. In one anti-gay diatribe, MacAulay outrageously claimed that “half of the murders in large cities were committed by homosexuals.” At another appearance at an Iowa public school of the group’s hard rock / rap band, Junkyard Prophet, MacAulay created a stir when he told the students that that homosexuality “literally kills” gays. On their radio program, MacAulay even praised the notion of incarcerating homosexuals.

Last week, MacAulay posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, “Last night I had the honor and privilege to share with the fine legislators of Idaho,” adding that he had been invited back to teach the Institute on the Constitution’s course on the Constitution.

On the same day, MacAulay posted on Facebook photos of himself in the Washington state capitol, saying that his visit had been “sponsored” by Republican state Rep. Matt Shea.

In a fundraising email in December with the subject line “Influencing the Influencers,” MacAulay claimed:

Countless (literally, we’ve lost track and can’t keep count) IOTC course graduates have run for office and and many have been elected, including state and local representatives, and members of congress.

Influential people like Chief Justice Roy Moore, Congressman Ron Paul, Historian David Barton, Dr. Ken Ham, noted Sheriffs Richard Mack, David Clark, Bradley Rogers, Joe Arpaio, and Congressman Warren Davidson have all reviewed and endorsed our U.S. Constitution Course.

IOTC said that Davidson, a U.S. congressman from Ohio, attended one of their courses in October.

While IOTC continues to attempt to reach elected officials, it also tries to make inroads in schools. While most of the school events the group posts about are for homeschoolers or private school students, or voluntary events or clubs at public schools, MacAulay appears to be trying to reach more public school students during the school day.

Earlier this month, MacAulay boasted of speaking in a “public school government class,” which appeared to be in Ohio. In a presentation at a Washington church MacAulay shared on Facebook last week, he explained to his audience that in order to speak at a public school, “Look, we don’t need permission from the superintendent, the principal, the dean of students. Just find a history teacher, say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a presentation I can do. It’s about the Constitution.’”

UPDATE 2/5: IOTC says that the church event was sponsored by Shea and Idaho state Sen. Steve Vick.