Wednesday, November 18, 2020

#2407: David Whitney

A full-fledged, self-declared wingnut theocrat, David Whitney is the Pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church of Pasadena, Maryland. He is also affiliated with Michael Peroutka's Institute on the Constitution (yes, they had to put “Constitution” in the name –  otherwise, you’d never guess that this was the document they were trying to interpret; there are some good articles on the group here), where he serves as Senior Instructor, Liberty Forum editor and radio show host. He is also chaplain of the Maryland chapter of the neo-confederate League of the South and Chairman of the Maryland State Delegation to the Southern National Congress. In 2014 both he and Peroutka ran for spots on a county commission and on the party committees of both Democrats and Republicans, respectively, in Anne Arundel County. Peroutka won his spot, because Anne Arundel Republicans are overwhelmingly hateful, stupid and insane; Whitney also seems to have tried to use his attempt to return the Democrats to its Civil War positions. There is an interesting backstory to that attempt, by the way.

Whitney’s sermons are generally filled with ideas that have been tactfully described as “theocratic and revolutionary.” After addressing a Tea Party rally on July 4, 2010, he declared for instance that we have “the God-given right to secede.” In a sermon in 2013 Whitney declared: “When you talk to people about God’s Law being restored in America, they say, ‘Awww, you’re some ayatollah. Awww, you want a theocracy’,” he complained, explaining that, “well yes, I want obedience to God’s Law because that is where liberty comes from. Liberty comes from God’s Law. Tyranny comes when God’s law is rejected by a society as it has been rejected in our day. Indeed, any law made that contradicts God’s Law, what is it? It’s not law at all. You could call it unlaw or you could call it, as our founders did, pretended law. But it is not law if it violates God’s Law.” Fortunately for him, he wasn’t asked to explain what he meant by “liberty” and “tyranny” (Remember also that Whitney also teaches people about what is ostensibly the Constitution). In particular, theocracy means, for Whitney, not only that government positions should be reserved for Christians (i.e. those who agree with him), but that we should “restrict citizenship” to Christians who, whether serving as jurors, government officials or “in the Militia”, operate according to “God’s Law.” The militia reference is worth highlighting: Whitney believes that the Bible supports no restrictions on the Second Amendment (“never should we disarm the citizens in this land who must protect themselves daily against the murderous products of our state-run school systems”), and has claimed that there is not only a Constitutional mandate for state militias but that opponents of militias are the enemies of God (his attempts to justify the claim by Bible verses are remarkably feeble, even for someone of Whitney’s caliber). 


Whitney is, of course, also aggressively opposed to gay rights and marriage equality, because he is, in his own words, “God’s Holy institution of marriage by testifying before the State Legislature.” (He is not happy about surveys showing that almost half of evangelicals support marriage equality, which he refers to as “sodomite unmarriage”). Transgender rights are even worse, of course; in 2016 Whitney said that “new neckwear is being prepared for Obama in light of his administration’s actions” on transgender rights, citing Matthew 18. Meanwhile, he has also tried to justify the murder of abortion providers, declaring in a 2013 sermon that “… we need to understand that there is such a thing as Biblically justifiable homicide.”


Whitney was, in general, no fan of Obama, saying that “those who know God’s Word, know that Satan is a destroyer. He never creates anything, he only destroys that which God creates. So it is clear that Obama is of his father, his father the Devil.” Nor of Democrats in general, who “hate God (even though he ran as one in 2014); indeed, Democrats are “so devoted to this Satanic vision they intend to force every nation in the world to comply with it through the means of bribery of those other governments with U.S. Foreign aid and Foreign policy to promote sodomy.” He is, however, a staunch supporter of Trump, for marvelously deranged reasons.


When a racist University of Maryland student committed a racist murder in 2017, Whitney blamed it on the fact that the university were teaching of evolution. Whitney, who has no idea what the theory of evolution actually is, claims that “evolution is essentially racist.” Given that Whitney is a prominent member of the League of the South and a defender of white supremacism, we hesitate to infer anything about whether he accepts the theory based on that assessment or not. Then again, they did get Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis to headline an event for the Institute on the Constitution in 2014.


After the assassination of five police officers in Dallas in 2016, Whitney claimed that the sniper attack was likely a government-orchestrated false flag operation, one that the government orchestrated in order to “establish the New World Order, another name for the kingdom of Satan. Or, if it wasn’t a false flag, it was the result of teaching evolution in schools.


As for school shootings, Whitney predictably blames “Engel v. Vitale in 1962 that prohibited public prayer to the One True God in government run schools” (it didn’t) and that schools don’t prominently display the Ten Commandments – if students reflected on the fact that the Ten Commandments prohibited murder, Whitney thinks, then the issue would have been resolved right away. Now, those Commandments also prohibit lying, but Whitney has apparently never reflected on that part. As for the 2017 Las Vegas shootings, Whitney blamed Antifa: “Antifa hates Christians, Antifa wants to kill Christians” because “their souls were dead, they were moral nihilist, they were and are human monsters” who “now says they are prepared to begin killing people in mass in a race war” (the idea of citing sources is a liberal conspiracy). He also blamed Antifa for Charlottesville. And the same year (2017) he blamed Ariana Grande for the terrorist attack on her concert because Grande “is promoting every form of immorality and indeed she is promoting satanism by her music and by her lyrics and by her gyrations.” The terrorist attack was, in other words, justified and Godly – as were the 2017 California wildfires that killed dozens.


It is worth emphasizing that Whitney and his groups are not as far out on the fringes of the religious right as you would have hoped. Not only was Peroutka elected to office; Liberty Counsel has also promoted them, and in 2012 the Carroll County Board of Commissioners in Maryland decided to encourage, and in some cases require, employees to attend a seminar on the Christian foundations of the state’s constitution arranged by Whitney and the Institute on the Constitution: Commissioner Richard Rothschild, who has himself obviously bought into David Barton-style America as a Christian nation pseudohistory, said that it makes sense to require public officials to attend “a course which factually explains the role God plays in our constitution.”


Diagnosis: Hateful conspiracy theorist and remorseless theocrat who explicitly wants a Taliban-style government based on the Bible – and Whitney does seem to focus mostly on the violent parts.

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