Paul Gordon Collier
The Rick Scarborough idea of suing homosexuals for Aids is so far beyond the pale, the statement and the man need to be rebuked by the leaders in the Tea Party movement, as well as the Christian Political Activist community. This article details why this is a fact that cannot be ignored.
The founder of the group Tea Party Unity, Rick Scarborough is making the kind of headlines progressives love to share with their brethren. The headlines also serve to evangelize their “Christianity and Tea Partiers are haters” narrative to the uninitiated. As a Christian (let me qualify that, Christ Follower), there are specific limits as to how we address leadership in the body of Christ. Due to those limits, I will address Rick Scarborough from a Civic perspective only.
In his role as a civic leader, Rick Scarborough has taken authority he does not have and proposed a political course of action which is not only tactically in error, but, within the scope of our nation’s civic standards, inviolate of the very principles the Tea Party groups hold (almost to a person), the values of the Bill of Rights.
I will also be addressing the Tea Party groups, their leaders, and the rank and file members of the Tea Party groups, as well as the Christian Political activists, who, so far as I have seen, have remained virtually silent on the proposed political course of action outlined by a man who is recognized, rightly or falsely, as one of ‘our’ national leaders.
Of course, in order for my readers to understand what I am addressing, they will need to know the political course of action Rick Scarborough is proposing. For this, I will include an excerpt from Huffington Post that outlines an exchange between Scarborough and Peter LaBarbera on a Tea Party Unity conference call:
Former Baptist pastor and Tea Party Unity founder Rick Scarborough spoke with conservative activist Peter LaBarbera on Thursday about potential anti-gay strategies, including a class action lawsuit against homosexuality.
“The whole issue of a class action lawsuit, you and I have talked about this a little bit,” Scarborough told LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, in a conversation at a Tea Party Unity gathering Thursday…..
“Obviously, statistically now even the Centers for Disease Control verifies that homosexuality much more likely leads to AIDS than smoking leads to cancer. And yet the entire nation has rejected smoking, billions of dollars are put into a trust fund to help cancer victims and the tobacco industry was held accountable for that,” Scarborough said.
….LaBarbera agreed with Scarborough, Raw Story reported, and added, “We need to work on our conservative, alternate media and say, ‘look, don’t do the pro-gay thing, why don’t you rather step out and support these ex-gays?’ We should encourage Fox News to tell these stories … these wonderful stories of happy men and women who have left the homosexual lifestyle.”
The Tea Party Unity group is not a major player to the overall Tea Party movement, but the very values the founder of this group holds, along with the national leaders affiliated with this group, as well as the national leaders willing to continue to dialogue with this group, give progressives ample evidence to credibly suggest this man, Rick Scarborough, represents the values of the Tea Party movement.
While they would be in error (which I will show), to the non-discriminating ear this narrative is a winning narrative for the progressives, who have long been using the tactic of demonization and hate to nullify opposition to their statist utopian takeover of our American republic.
First, let us look at the platform of the Tea Party Unity group:
The Tea Party Unity Project has one purpose: to provide the Tea Party movement nationwide with a unique clearinghouse and town hall forum where various existing Tea Party leaders can communicate and exchange ideas to help all Tea Parties become more effective.
Utilizing a proprietary website with customized functionality, we desire to be a servant organization for all Tea Parties who want to activate citizens to preserve and protect our great nation.
We publish a thrice-weekly newsletter, provide regular networking conference calls and offer periodic gatherings. Everything we do is designed to provide Tea Party leaders with an opportunity to network and encourage each other.
Tea Party Unity has no local chapters, nor will it compete with any existing Tea Party groups.
The platform itself positions this group as the clearing house, the coordinator, for all of the Tea Party groups in the country. If you go to their website, you will find a comprehensive map that reveals where all the Tea Party groups are located across the country. While the group claims no affiliate-granting authority over these groups, the implication is difficult to avoid. As a matter of fact, if you go to the page to find a local Tea Party, the website has this descriptor above the link to the map, “Get connected with other Tea Party affiliates!”
I can assure you, this group does not have the stature, real or imagined, it purports to have. Tea Party Express and other leading Tea Party groups are not checking in and utilizing the services of this self-proclaimed group. But, as progressives know all too well, reality need not get in the way of pushing a good, self-serving narrative, namely, that a major leader of the Tea Party movement has proposed actually suing homosexuals because of Aids.
The real agenda of Rick Scarborough and, I believe, the Tea Party Unity group, is not aligned with the unity part of the Tea Party movement. To be sure, his perspective is aligned with some of the Tea Party groups (sans the suing homosexuals part of his perspective), but not the majority.
Here is the mission statement, in part, of his Christian political activist group:
Our mission is to inform, encourage and mobilize pastors and their congregations to be proactive in restoring Judeo-Christian values to the moral and civic framework in their communities, states, and our nation. View our victories over the past 11 years.
Who is Vision America?
Vision America was founded by Pastor Rick Scarborough to reach across the nation and help mobilize thousands of his fellow pastors of all denominations. He recognized that if he, as pastor, did not promote active citizenship within his congregation then participation dropped dramatically. Conversely, if he was proactive in speaking to the moral issues and encouraging civic involvement in his church many more people took their citizenship seriously and became active……
We Believe in
The Sanctity of Human Life
We believe the Word of God teaches that human life is sacred because humankind is created in the image and after the likeness of God.
The Sanctity of Marriage and Family
We believe that God instituted marriage and family as the basic building block of human culture. We further believe that God has established marriage as a sacred covenant between a man and a woman for life.
Personal Decency and Moral Integrity
We believe God established human sexuality for the physical expression of love and commitment between a man and a woman in holy marriage. Apart from that divine intent, sexual activity becomes nothing more or less than the selfish manipulation of another human being for personal satisfaction or financial gain.
We believe that freedom of religion is the foundation of America’s liberty. We oppose any and every attempt to suppress or to marginalize the free expression of religion in America.
My point in highlighting this mission statement from Vision America is not to agree or disagree with the mission statement, but to highlight the core driver of the founder of Tea Party Unity, Rick Scarborough. In point of fact, I in concurrence with most of the mission statement, including the parts I have not included in this article. The degree to which I believe a state can or should enforce God’s righteousness on non-believers, however, may not be the same as Scarborough’s, but I will leave that debate for another time.
I want to stay narrowly focused on the point of this article, that Scarborough does not represent the Tea Party movement and why it is essential for leaders and activists to rebuke the proposed political action by this man, to sue homosexuals for Aids.
Although Vision America and Tea Party Unity are separate organizations, there can be no doubt the two organizations are blended. For instance, Tea Party Unity II is featured on the Vision America website. Former Majority Leader Tom Delay, one of the members of Tea Party Unity’s steering committee, is a featured writer on Vision America. The two groups are mixed together in ways that one cannot help but infer that the one informs the other (in this case, Vision America informs Tea Party Unity).
Given that the mission statement of Vision America is about enforcing Christian Social Values through the State, it is fair to assume the real purpose of Tea Party Unity is to do the same. The fact that the controversial proposal by Scarborough, to sue homosexuals over Aids, came during a Tea Party Unity conference call, only clarifies that assumption.
Now, let us look at some of the leaders directly or indirectly connected to Tea Party Unity. Here, my purpose is not to associate these leaders with this vulgar proposal by Scarborough, but to challenge them and their supporters to distance themselves from this proposal and hold this leader accountable for, amongst other things, executing extremely poor judgment as a leader.
It would be equivalent to the CEO of Walmart going out and saying, “we don’t like hiring anyone but people who come from decent neighborhoods”. That CEO would immediately lose his job and Walmart would RACE to get out in front of such an idiotic and damaging statement to their brand.
I am going to look at the people connected to both Vision America and Tea Party Unity since I have established the two are de facto the same organization. From Vision America, shout-outs are given to a couple of national Christian leaders, most notable Dr D. James Kennedy.
While he has passed on and cannot defend himself (nor does he need to), his supporters, his organization he left behind, should separate themselves from Scarborough’s hate-filled, politically-suicidal call, to sue homosexuals for Aids.
Some of the other Christian leaders mentioned are “Rev. Don Wildmon, Paul Weyrich, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Rev. Peter Marshall ….”
Again, I want to be careful here to point out that it would be unjustified to assign this belief by Scarborough to the leaders who have supported him, but it would be irresponsible of the leaders not to rebuke his statement. In the same way that we challenge ‘moderate’ Muslims to more vocally rebuke the Muslim Fascists in their camp, so too must we separate ourselves from the fringe elements within our groups (be they the Tea Party or the Christian Political Activist community).
The Tea Party Unity group is advertising an upcoming event this Thursday that features two prominent leaders, Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Roger Aronoff, the Editor of “Accuracy in Media”. Again, I want to make it clear, I am calling out these names not to connect them to Scarborough (the progressives are already doing that work nicely, thank you) but to challenge them to rebuke this man, Scarborough, who proposed suing homosexuals for Aids.
Here are some highlights from the steering committee page of Tea Party Unity:
Christopher L. Carmouche cut his teeth as a grassroots activist in 1991 when he co-founded a chapter of the Christian Coalition in Monterey, California and eventually went to work for the national office of the Christian Coalition of America in 2000 as the Director of Internet Development…..
Bill Dallas developed ministry and leadership experience as a leader with Young Life, a national non-denominational Christian youth ministry. As an executive producer with Television Associates (TVA) in Silicon Valley, he oversaw the broadcast division of the company…….
Tom DeLay – A leading conservative on the national stage, Tom DeLay was the former House Majority Leader and was responsible for developing the issues and policies that formed the Republican agenda.
Don Feder was a Boston Herald editorial writer and syndicated columnist from June 1983 to June 2002. For 19 years, his column appeared in the Herald, New England’s second largest newspaper. His writings have appeared in USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, National Review, American
Howard Kaloogian – A proud conservative, Kaloogian served as Assistant Republican Leader in the California State Assembly during his six years in office. Assemblyman Kaloogian served as Chair of the Budget Sub Committee on Natural Resources, and Vice Chair of the Banking and Finance Committee. He was also a member of the Judiciary, Local Government, Governmental Organization, Health and Human Resources, and Revenue and Taxation committees.
Robert Knight is a Senior Fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times…..
Dran Reese is the President and Founder of the Salt and Light Council, a ministry dedicated to preserving our Christian moral values in America. Salt and Light Council was started with the blessing of the Pastor Rapid Response Team in January 2009. The ministry is specifically designed to strengthen the moral voice of the church to once again become the relevant majority instead of the persecuted minority…..
Mike Valerio is the founder of Papa Gino’s of America, Inc, which opened 300 restaurants, and was the owner of WEEI, an all-news radio station in Boston. He founded the Massachusetts Economic Foundation in 1980 and served as the Finance Chairman of Massachusetts Reagan for President from 1980 to 1988. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Vision America.
The question to the members of this steering committee is this- do you endorse the proposal by your leader, Rick Scarborough, that homosexuals should be sued for Aids? If not, why are you silent on this? Why are you continuing to allow your organization to be represented by a man who has such fringe, anti-Constitutional values?
It should be noted that not one member of this steering committee has any standing as one of the recognized leaders of the Tea Party movement. Most of the members have a Christian Political activist background. While I do not offer censure of Christian Political activists (especially given my unapologetic identity as a Christ Follower first and a Citizen of America second), it speaks to the validity, or lack thereof, of the claim that Scarborough or his organization represent the Unity part of the Tea Party movement. They don’t.
What unites the Tea Party movement is overwhelmingly a commitment to restore and defend the Original Spirit and Intent of the Bill of Rights. There is room in this group for members who support the legalization of gay marriage and for those who don’t. There is NOT, however, room in this movement for people, like Rick Scarborough, who seem willing to ignore the standards of the Bill of Rights to attack a group that doesn’t align with their Christian values.
The notion that Americans can sue a group of people because of their beliefs or practices alone is fundamentally at odds with the values of individual liberty this nation was founded on. There are many other reasons why Christians should voice opposition to this man’s proposal, and I will address those futurely.
For now, I will only focus on the Civic aspect of his violations of the social contract we as Americans, as Tea Party supporters, stand for, since, at present, this is the issue I am free to address without violating my own standards, God’s standards of His Kingdom.
Of all of the Tea Party groups out there, of all the conservative and Christian political activist blogs out there, I could only find two sites and one group that has done the right thing, that has rebuked this man and separated themselves from his vulgar, unprincipled proposal.
The sites are championnews.net, breitbart.com, and the group is Tea Party 365. Here is the press release Champion News published:
October 21, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: David Webb – firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY … October 21, 2013 – Rick Scarborough is not a Tea Partier. He is not a Tea Party spokesperson, no matter what he, or the media, wants people to believe. Neither he, nor his organization “Tea Party Unity” speaks for the Tea Party, or properly represents our values.
Like a lot of you, we were quite surprised, and saddened by this recent Gawker.com headline:
As one of the true founding Tea Party groups, TeaParty365 would like to take this opportunity to once again, and once-and-for-all, distance ourselves –and the larger Tea Party Movement– from the self-serving antics of Rick Scarborough, and his ilk.
TeaParty365 does not support this idiotic notion. We feel it is counter-productive to the national conversation, and ultimately harmful to the Tea Party brand, and the country.
Let’s remember, the Tea Party was a true, national grassroots upwelling, initially a reaction to Bush’s profligacy. It exploded in early 2009 when it became obvious Obama was doubling-down on financial, and governmental stupidity.
The Tea Party is and always has been about 4 very simple things:
1) Smaller Government
2) Fiscal Responsibility
3) Personal Responsibility
4) The Constitution
Because our beliefs are so wonderfully simple, you can be a “Tea Partier” and also be involved …read more
Here is the link to the Breitbart coverage: http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2013/10/20/Statement-from-TeaParty365-Scarborough-Not-a-Tea-Partier-Doesn-t-Represent-Our-Values
I echo the sentiments of this letter by Tea party 365 leader, David Webb, and I ask my fellow Constitutional Freedomists to do the same. I specifically challenge the leaders who have been either directly or indirectly affiliated with this group to rebuke Rick Scarborough, to call him to account for his demonstrated suicidal leadership tactics, and to not continue to be silent while the progressives rule the web and the airwaves with this demonizing assault on those of us who simply stand to restore the Original Spirit and Intent of the Bill of Rights.
Some people may question my tactics, calling out a fellow member of the movement (the Reagan standard), but when a member of that movement, even one so distantly connected to the movement, stands up and makes a statement that homosexuals should be sued for Aids, that person has removed himself from the movement. His values are not in keeping with the Bill of Rights, and as such, he should be held accountable and leaders (as well as activists) should vociferously denounce such hateful statements.
This rebuke of Scarborough should be done so that it can be said about us that we practice what we preach. We are constantly challenging progressives, Muslims, and other groups to denounce the hateful statements made so often by many of their leaders, so we should do the same.
If we are going to continue to adopt the tried and true, and failing tactic, of conservatives of not addressing assaults on our very brand then the progressives will continue to rule the field as the champions, defending America from radical, conservative, Christian hate. It is time for us to reclaim the field.