Texas Congressman Ron Paul ended up with a strong showing in Iowa's GOP presidential sweepstakes. It wasn't quite as strong as his supporters had hoped, coming in at third place after several polls predicted a stronger showing. But what remains surprising is the strength of Paul's evangelical support. CNN's entrance/exit poll has Ron Paul collecting 19 percent of the evangelical vote. That trails Sen. Rick Santorum's 32-percent support among evangelicals, but it is well ahead of Perry, Bachmann, and Gingrich, who actively courted the prized GOP demographic. It's an interesting split, and Warren Throckmorton seems to have found what may be the key to Ron Paul's support among one evangelical segment, Christian reconstructionists, while simultaneously being spurned by another segment, dominionists:
But back to [New Apostolic Reformation dominionists] vs. Christian reconstructionists; the focus of control is different. The NAR folks want to rule America as a Christian nation from the seat of centralized power in Washington DC. The Christian reconstructionists want to deconstruct central government in favor of state or local control of law. Bachmann and Perry promise to govern biblically and impose their view of Christian America on the nation. Paul promises to dismantle the federal government in favor of the states.
In fact, the Christian reconstructionists are afraid of the NAR dominionists. Recontructionist Joel McDurmon wants biblical law in place, but he thinks the NAR approach is a dangerous power grab.
It's notable that the most prominent pastor in Iowa to endorse Ron Paul (an endorsement briefly featured on Paul's website) is Rev. Phil Kayser, who has deep Christian reconstructionist (also known as theonomist) ties. At Biblical Blueprints, a Christian reconstrucitonist website, Kayser posted a 60-page book in which he justifies the death penalty for homosexuality (on page 24):
I should think that theonomists would be happy with this understanding of Biblical capital crimes since it is the Bible and the Bible alone that determines ethics. But I would think that those who are concerned about how Biblical penology would apply in a pagan society and how it would dovetail with evangelism would be happy because Biblical penology beautifully dovetails with God's program of the Great Commission. There is no tension between Biblical law and the Great Commission. For example, in a society that was being converted, homosexuals could continue to be converted as they were in the church of Corinth. Even after a society implemented Biblical law and made homosexuality a crime, there are many checks and balances that would be in place. ... The civil government could not round them up. Only those who were prosecuted by citizens could be punished, and the punishment could take a number of forms, including death. This would have a tendency of driving homosexuals back into their closets.
I think I have demonstrated how even capital punishment can be restorative. Other aspects of penology such as restitution, indentured servitude, etc. are certainly restorative.
I should think that those who accuse Biblicists of a theology that would cause a holocaust should be happy since we advocate standing law, not the Herem principle, and since standing law could be implemented even in a society like ours without the need for massive bloodshed. After a few speedy executions of non-repentant criminals, others would think twice before despising God's law.
Paul opposes the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, banning state sodomy laws, because he thinks it infringes on states' rights. Kayser likes the idea of states having the right to kill homosexuals, which neatly completes the circle to his support for Paul.
Later in the book, on page 38, Kayser defends his support for capital punishment for gay people against the objection that his theonomist proposals would "lead to a blood bath":
Objection 13 -- "This would lead to a blood bath if we were to implement that law today because almost our entire nation is implicated in capital crimes."
This objection is a mixture of pragmatism (we can't do it) and emotional appeal (it would lead to a blood bath). But neither argument changes God's definition of justice. Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just. But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative.
What's a few dead homosexuals in the greater scheme of things? And this is the man of whose endorsement appeared on Paul's website. "We welcome Rev. Kayser's endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul's approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs," his campaign chairman said. "We're thankful for the thoughtfulness with which he makes his endorsement and hope his endorsement and others like it make a strong top-three showing in the caucus more likely."
Along with Paul's praise of the voter recall effort against state Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality, his opposition to Lawrence v. Texas, and the man whom he selected to lead his Iowa campaign, suddenly those newsletters appear neither anachronistic nor anomalous. Ron Paul supporters have to ask themselves a really hard question: with his active courting of extremists like these, what kind of people do they think Paul will select for his administration?
A version of this post originally appeared on Box Turtle Bulletin.