GOP Representative and Missouri Senate Candidate Todd Akin has a long history of extremism, particularly with respect to the role of religion in public life. As it turns out, that shouldn’t be much of a suprise: one of Akin’s principal political influences appears to be Reverend D. James Kennedy, a minister who spent his life organizing a movement dedicated to reorganizing the American government along radically conservative evangelical lines.
Kennedy is widely believed to be a leading advocate for a variant of dominionism, (roughly) the idea that the American government should be run according to Christian, biblical lines. “It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of ‘Christian Supremacists’ who seek to ‘reclaim America for Christ’ and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law,” Abraham Foxman, the President of the Anti-Defamation League, explains.
Indeed, the Reverend has called the US a Christian nation that should be governed by Christians, sought to “rebuild America based on the Bible,” and suggested that Darwinism was responsible for the Holocaust.
Though he died in 2007, Kennedy is respected throughout the GOP, and was particularly influential on Akin’s worldview. According to a Politico profile of Akin, “[t]wo sermons by Dr. D. James Kennedy have been very influential for Todd and he references them frequently in discussions of government.” Akin told Kennedy’s Truth in Action (formerly Coral Gables Ministries) organization that “Dr. Kennedy understood how to connect the principles of Scripture with the practical applications of what keeps a nation free, the principles that America was founded on.” Akin also co-sponsored a resolution last year that “honors Dr. Kennedy’s lifetime of service and sacrifice to his God, his country, [and] the ideals of the Christian faith.”
Kennedy, for his part, recognized Akin’s commitment to his mission. In his book How Would Jesus Vote?, he praised Akin as “one of my favorite statesman,” suggesting Akin’s tenure in the House reflected that “he is a seminary graduate and has chosen politics as his ministry.” In 2007, Kennedy’s Center for Christian Statesmanship gave Akin their “Christian Statesman Award,” awarded to “a person recognizes that individuals (as well as nations) must ultimately give account to God and are dependent on Him for prosperity and success.”
Akin’s rhetoric and policy views bear clear marks of Kennedy’s influence. In “The Bible and Economics, one of the two Kennedy tracts that Politico reported were favorites of Akin’s, Kennedy writes that “the Bible has a great deal to say” about politics, economics, and science, and that we can use it to “erect certain systems and derive an understanding about those subjects.” Akin actually goes further, calling the Bible “an entire blueprint for the way civilization can be structured” in an apocalyptic anti-Obamacare video from 2009. Watch it:
Indeed, Akin consitently amplifies and intensifies Kennedy’s hateful rhetoric:
1. Marriage equality destroys civilization: Akin justified his legislative crusade against LGBT rights by saying “anybody who knows something about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long survived.” Kennedy, in his book What’s Wrong with Same-Sex Marriage, wrote that marriage equality would “sink the culture from civilization to barbarism” because “there’s never been a society — ever in the history of the world — that has survived this kind of perversion.”
2. Liberals hate God. Akin said that “the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God.” In The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail, Kennedy argues that even liberal seminary members “don’t believe in the Bible [or] the Deity of Christ.”
3. Liberals are Soviet-style socialists. A common touchstone of Akin’s rhetoric is that liberals are pushing America towards a Soviet Union-style society. This theme also pervades Kennedy’s work. In one sermon on socialism (for example), he said that a liberal is a “secular humanist socialist…it’s the same mindset that destroyed the Communist world that is at work in America.” One of Akin’s two favorite Kennedy lectures is called “The Bible and Socialism.”
This link to Kennedy should prepare us for Akin’s radicalism to become increasingly more obvious: just this Thursday, Akin claimed that he wanted to outlaw the morning-after pill.