Some are voicing alarm at the Family Research Council’s recent announcement that it has hired controversial retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin as its Executive Vice President–but why should they be? For Boykin, joining a Christian evangelical organization that serves as a political ramrod for far-right social conservatism, this is like coming home.
That’s not facetious: Boykin has been more than up front about how his Christian evangelical faith has dictated every major life decision since his induction into the elite Delta Force in the late 1970’s. As he recalled to CBS in a 2009 interview, “There are times when God speaks to you in an audible voice. He spoke to me that morning because I said, ‘Satan is gathering his forces.’ He said, ‘Yes, son, but so am I.’ And I knew I was to be there.”
Today, Boykin believes that Satan is gathering his forces through Islam, and in particular through Sharia law which, via Muslim agents of deception, is slowly infiltrating the United States seeking to “destroy the Constitution.” This is not hyperbole. He says it here, in a video taped in September 2010 for the Oak Initiative, of which he is a member of the board. The initiative very much likes to indulge in the global government conspiracy theory, at least the one with George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations at the helm, driving the country into “Marxism” with the eventual “one world government” takeover. Boykin explained this during the Oak Initiative Summit this April.
Boykin’s cohort during this particular discussion was Rick Joyner, president of the initiative and executive director of Morningstar Ministries. He has suggested that the modern Marxist movement (a.k.a the devil) in America is using liberals and homosexuals as “useful idiots” who will find themselves the first to be sacrificed when Marxists (a.k.a the devil) finally take over. Try to follow this here.
Boykin’s schtick has never been about homosexuality in America, he’s stuck mainly with demonizing Islam. It started when he was working as the Pentagon’s senior intelligence official during the first days of the Iraq War. He wasn’t too busy in this capacity to make the rounds selling the war to Christian evangelical groups, where he reportedly suggested that as a Judeo-Christian nation, the United States was waging Holy War with Islam. He did this while in uniform. A 10-month investigation found he violated code but he was merely reprimanded and then allowed to continue to wage the Global War on Terror, where he reportedly influenced how Abu Ghraib detainees were treated and interrogated in the dark days of the Iraqi prison scandal. From The Washington Post in 2004:
The 10-month internal investigation, conducted by the department’s deputy inspector general for investigations, confirmed news accounts that Boykin said in his speeches that President Bush had been placed in his post by God, that radical Muslims hate America because it “will never abandon Israel” and that the U.S. military is recruiting a spiritual army that will draw strength from a greater power to defeat its enemy…
It found that Boykin failed to obtain clearance for his remarks, failed to clarify that his remarks were personal and not official, and failed to report reimbursement of travel costs from one of the sponsoring religious groups.
Boykin retired in 2007 after 36 years of service. Now unleashed from the restraints of military code, he has never looked back. In fact, he openly refers to himself as a warrior for God. He is an ordained minister who believes “the 36 years I spent in uniform was nothing but preparation for the real battle we are in today and I believe my role today is to raise up an army, a spiritual army … of godly men and women who understand the concept of spiritual warfare and are willing to get into battle.”
His “spiritual war” is wrapped up in his crusade against Islam, which is carefully couched as opposition to Sharia law. When called on his Islamophobia he has feebly attempted to separate “good” Muslims from “bad,” but more times than not, he makes no distinction. He has said there should be no more mosques built in America, period (a statement he has since tried to walk back). He repeatedly says that Muslims represent a faith bent on “destroying the U.S Constitution.” Unlike his battles in Tehran, Mogadishu, Iraq … this fight is here. He shares this view by the way with a host of Republican political types, like Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann. In a September 2010 video for the Oak Initiative he said:
“We need to recognize that Islam itself is not just a religion it is a totalitarian way of life … it should not be protected under the First Amendment. Those who follow the dictates of the Quran are under obligation to destroy our Constitution and implement Sharia law … We have to fight back. Until Americans wake up … we are going to be be under a very serious threat of infiltration.”
Talk like this from Boykin has been rattling American Muslims and civil rights and antiwar groups for years. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, run by dogged retired judge advocate general Mikey Weinstein, recently helped push Boykin out of an invitation to speak at a West Point prayer breakfast. As far as MRFF is concerned, Boykin is the poster child for the evangelical hold on the military’s officer corps, and the transformation of the Global War on Terror into a Christian crusade. One that is not only unconstitutional, but putting our troops in danger overseas.
Back to the Family Research Council. As a vice president in charge of day-to-day operations, Boykin is presumably now fusing his “battle” with the council’s own crusade against homosexuality and same-sex marriage, which is well-documented. For example, in its fight against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, FRC issued a report that suggested repeal would lead to an increase in “gay attacks,” by which they mean, as an example, homosexuals initiating unwanted fellatio on sleeping fellow soldiers. FRC fellow Peter Spriggs has said homosexuals should be banned from the military and furthermore “there should be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior” in American law.
More recently, the FRC gave its highest “pro-family” honor to Baptist Minister Ron Baity, a man who likens gays and lesbians to “maggots” and says they live a “perverted lifestyle” and should be prosecuted as criminals. The award, presented at its annual Watchman on the Wall conference (at which Boykin was a key speaker), is supposed to go to a pastor “who has demonstrated outstanding servant leadership for the heart and soul of America, but more importantly for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. It’s fitting we honor those who are faithfully working to engage our culture for Jesus Christ.”
While FRC is a non-profit that cannot advocate directly, or contribute to political candidates, it has in recent years become an vital player in presidential politics, and it has its own political action committee (PAC), FRC Action. President Tony Perkins is an ex-Louisiana State Senator who has led the Values Voter Summit since 2006 and expects Republican conservative candidates to essentially kiss the ring, including prospective nominee Mitt Romney, who met with Perkins this week. According to Politico, Perkins “strongly urged” Romney to pick an “outspoken abortion critic” as his running mate.
This is where the Perkins-Boykin story gets dicey for Republicans. These men represent the extreme right wing of the party, at a time when movement conservatives (and mainstream Americans) have been shifting their views away from the virulent anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric espoused by Perkin’s group and Boykin himself. Case in point: Frank Gaffney, head of the Center for Security Policy, was recently banned from not only participating directly in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) but also the Weyrich Lunch, a weekly invite-only meeting for influential Washington conservatives. According to Slate writer David Weigel in May:
He’d been disinvited, after a years-long, public campaign of criticizing (Grover) Norquist and other movement figures, warning of a “concerted Muslim Brotherhood infiltration effort.” The flash point, according to a Gaffney ally, was the new, 8.5 hour, 10-part documentary about the brotherhood that Gaffney now offers online.
“He gave a briefing on this topic in the context of Soviet-era subversion outside the Weyrich lunch,” I’m told, “and it was too much for the leadership there.”
Boykin and Gaffney share the same rhetoric on Islam, although Gaffney’s is less religious. Nonetheless they shared credit for a 2010 book, “Shariah: The Threat To America: An Exercise In Competitive Analysis (Report of Team B II)” and even a stage on Glenn Beck TV in February.
Yet FRC is still considered a mainstream player in U.S Republican politics. How does it affect the party’s nominee in the general election when he is compelled to kiss the ring of a homophobic policy think tank that just hired an Islamophobic ex-Army officer who has dedicated his life to a holy war against Islam? Not in a very positive way, one would think.
As for Boykin, he is right where God has told him he should be. “I am honored to join the country’s premier Christian public policy organization dedicated to strengthening the family, defending life and advancing freedom,” Boykin said in the FRC press release.
“As I ponder the future that my six grandchildren will grow up in, I realize how important it is that I do my part to restore the values that made America a great nation.”