Last week I wrote a post about Rep. Paul Broun, Rob Scheck, and Patrick Mahoney gathering in the Capitol in order to anoint the doorway that Barack Obama will pass through on his way to his swearing in that lead to a post this week vowing to start paying more attention to Broun.
And so, following through on that pledge, I found this:
Republican Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia told the Associated Press that today’s American leadership “needs to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”
But more interestingly, Max Blumenthal has written a good profile of these three men and their mission that contains several bits of interesting information about Broun:
While the Capitol prayer partners appeared earnest in the prayers for the president elect’s success, they have each distinguished themselves from their Christian right comrades by leveling some of the most paranoid imprecations Obama has faced since he arrived in the Senate. On November 10, 2008, a week after Obama’s election victory, Broun took umbrage at the President-elect’s call for a national civilian security force, a proposal also backed by George W. Bush. According to Broun, who acknowledged the possibility that he might be “crazy,” Obama had revealed himself as a radical Marxist Nazi socialist comparable to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
“It may sound a bit crazy and off base,” Broun told an AP reporter, “but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force. I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may—may not, I hope not—but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism. That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he’s proposing to have a national security force that’s answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he’s showing me signs of being Marxist.”
After seeming to back away from his comments when he was heavily criticized, Broun announced that he was “not taking back anything [he] said.” “I firmly believe that we must not fall victim to the ‘it can’t happen here’ mentality,” he declared in a press release. “I adhere to the adage ‘eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’”
“Mr. Speaker,” Broun announced from the House floor in 2007, “if we take our dishes and try to wash ‘em in our clothes washers we’re going to have problems, and that’s what we’re doing in our society, Mr. Speaker. We’re trying to do things against God’s inerrant word… So I rise today to support the Bible as the basis of our nation.”
Though he campaigned for reelection in 2008 as “The #1 Congressman on Immigration,” Broun has introduced only one bill since arriving in Washington: a measure banning pornography in the military. “Our troops should not see their honor sullied so that the moguls behind magazines like Playboy and Penthouse can profit,” Broun proclaimed. His spokesman testified to his expertise as an “addictionologist” who is “familiar with the negative consequences associated with long-term exposure to pornography.” Despite such scientific and personal authority, Broun’s bill to protect the troops from pictures of unclad women has gone nowhere.
Given such views, Blumenthal explains, its not hard to understand why he hooked up with the likes of Schenck and Mahoney:
In the early 1990s, Schenck was arrested a dozen times during protests outside women’s health clinics and abortion doctors’ homes, and was momentarily detained by Secret Service after shoving an aborted fetus in front of Bill Clinton outside the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Four years later, Schenck grew so upset by President Clinton’s veto of a bill banning partial abortion that he managed to creep behind him during a Christmas Eve service at the National Cathedral and whisper in his ear, “God will hold you to account, Mr. President.” He was immediately removed from the chapel and interrogated by Secret Service agents.
Schenck spent several months in 1992 picketing the Buffalo, New York, home of Dr. Barnett Slepian, an obscure area abortion doctor that he personally targeted for scorn. Six years later, while cooking dinner for his wife and four children, Slepian was shot to death through his kitchen window by James Kopp, a volunteer at Operation Rescue’s Binghamton, N.Y., office. Though Schenck denied knowing Kopp, the two had been arrested together at several clinic blockades.
When Schenck placed flowers at the doorstep of Slepian’s office, his infuriated wife returned them with a letter that read, “It’s your ‘passive’ following that incited the violence that killed Bart [Slepian] and took away both my and my children’s future.”
Schenck attained a new prominence during the George W. Bush era, forging friendly ties with culture warriors like House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Sen. Rick Santorum, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who allowed Schenck to hang a Ten Commandments plaque in his office. He even became a golfing buddy of Sen. Orrin Hatch. But DeLay and Santorum are gone from the Congress, victims of their own excesses, while Lieberman and Hatch have become marginalized by the Democratic majority.
Sensing his influence on the wane, Schenck targeted Obama. In January 2007, Schenck described the newly sworn-in senator’s Christian faith as “woefully deficient.” In a March 2008 videoblog, he accused Obama of crypto-Muslim religious sympathies.
Mahoney appeared at Obama’s Capitol Hill office in June 2008 to present his aides with a poster depicting the senator as Uncle Sam, declaring, “I Want YOU To Pay For Abortions.” Mahoney plans to hold an anti-abortion vigil along Obama’s parade route this January 20. “Sadly, President-elect Obama is on the wrong side of history and human rights by embracing the most radical abortion policies of any President in American history,” Mahoney said in announcing the vigil.
A founding member of the hardline anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, Schenck and his allies have engaged in what they call “direct action” to stop abortion by any means necessary. “There’s going to be people wounded,” Mahoney, a fellow Operation Rescue leader, declared at a 1993 rally. “It’s about whose will shall rule on this planet, God’s or man’s.”