The founder and director of the anti-abortion group Personhood Mississippi, Les Riley is a rightwing extremist who used to blog for the Christian separatist group Christian Exodus, a group of dominionists whose mission statement says that “[t]he initial goal was to move thousands of Christian constitutionalists to South Carolina to accelerate the return to self-government based upon Christian principles at the local and State level. This project continues to this day, with the ultimate goal of forming an independent Christian nation that will survive after the decline and fall of the financially and morally bankrupt American empire.” In 2016, the group, which has ties to the neo-confederate League of the South, attempted to set up an independent, theocratic state in South Carolina but they have since moved on to establishing theocratic settlements in Panama and Idaho. They also promote survivalism, naturopathy and natural childbirth.
Riley is also chairman of the Constitution Party of Mississippi, and has stated that its goal is to “restore American government to its Constiutional [sic] limits and American jurisprudence to its Biblical presuppositions.” According to their platform, “The U.S. Constitution established a Republic rooted in Biblical law,” which sounds like an attempt to state a fact but fails miserably. The Personhood organization is well covered here; as Riley sees it, the real hope for the personhood amendment efforts is that they “would help lead people to convert to Christianity” (i.e.: his brand of Christianity, of course).
Visiting the area right after the event (in connection with a personhood campaign drive), Riley also weighed in on the Aurora shootings – or rather, people’s responses to the shootings: “how ridiculously people would respond to a crisis when they don’t repent, when they don’t turn to God, when they don’t acknowledge their Creator. You see this shooting and rather than crying out to God there’s this big memorial with teddy bears and it’s great that people want to be part of something bigger than themselves but rather than turning to their Creator they again turn to their folly.”
Diagnosis: Charming, isn’t he? At least an alarming number of legislators and politicians seem to think so. Dangerous.