Earlier this year, as Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered probate judges in his state to defy a federal court ruling establishing marriage equality in Alabama, Brian reported extensively about Moore’s personal, financial and ideological connections to Michael Peroutka, a Republican county councilman in Maryland who has used his personal fortune to fund extreme Christian nationalist causes.
Peroutka, who until recently was active in the neo-Confederate League of the South and once said that he was “still angry” Maryland didn’t secede from the Union, runs a group called the Institute on the Constitution (IOC), which promotes the view that American laws must reflect a certain interpretation of biblical law.
The IOC teaches that the Constitution requires that public officeholders believe in God; that “the promotion of evolution is an act of disloyalty to America”; that “there is no such thing as a civil right”; and that the Maryland General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” after passing laws, such as marriage equality, that Peroutka believes “violate God’s law.” Peroutka argues that one reason the U.S. has strayed from “God’s law” is because the Union won the “War Between the States.”
Peroutka largely bankrolled Moore’s latest campaign for office and has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into groups that Moore founded. In return, Moore has spoken at events at Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution and, last month, appeared in a fundraising video for the group.
Appearing about 2 minutes and 23 seconds into the video, Moore says: “My good friend Michael Anthony Peroutka and the folks at the Institute on the Constitution have developed a course to teach the moral, legal and biblical basis of our Constitution and the principles upon which our nation began. I personally have reviewed this course and found it to be highly instructive, and recommend it.”
The fundraising video also highlights IOC’s “American Clubs,” meant to teach the groups ideology to schoolchildren.