Two Texans are on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s new watch list of 30 influential radical-right leaders and activists in America today: history revisionist and “Christian nation” advocate David Barton of WallBuilders and conspiracy theorist and Patriot movement screamer Alex Jones of Austin.
Barton and Jones have truly infamous companions on the SPLC’s list, including:
- white nationalists like Don Black of Stormfront, Virginia Abernethy in Tennessee, and David Duke of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
- neo-Nazis like Morris Gulett of Aryan Nations, neo-Confederates like John Weaver of Georgia, and racist skinheads like Randal Lee Krager of Iowa
- anti-gay extremists like Lou Engle of The Call Ministries in Missouri and Jason “Molotov” Mitchell in North Carolina
- conspiracy theorists in the Patriot movement, like Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center, and in the sovereign citizens movement, like James Timothy Turner of Arkansas
- anti-Muslim haters like Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy and Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of America
- and racist black separatists like Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party
SPLC includes short biographies of each person on the watch list.
Barton, the founder and leader of WallBuilders, is best known for claiming that America was founded as a Christian nation and wrote a book entitled The Myth of Separation. He says the founding fathers intended only Christians to hold office, citing early documents to back that falsehood.
Barton’s interests extend beyond his view of Christianity. He advocates government regulation of homosexuality and has claimed that gay people die “decades earlier” than others and have more than 500 sexual partners apiece in their lifetimes. He cited infamous Islamophobe Robert Spencer in attacking U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim congressman. He opposes immigration reform, saying that God established national borders, and has appeared on the radio show of hard-line nativist William Gheen. At one point, Barton even spoke at an event put on by Pete Peters, a pastor of the anti-Semitic and racist Christian Identity theology (he later said he had no idea that Peters’ group was “part of the Nazi movement”).
Every week from his studio in Austin, Texas, he dives into red-faced tirades exposing the forces that threaten to enslave all human life on the planet. The conspiracy always boils down to about the same thing: eugenics operations, the militarization of the police, a cabal of wealthy corporations and the United Nations involved in a fiendish plot to control the world.
Although it hardly seems possible, Jones’ fecund imagination now seems to be sprouting even more conspiracy theories than before.
Last year, for example, after Jared Lee Loughner went on his January 2011 rampage in Tucson, Ariz., killing six and wounding U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Jones told Rolling Stone: “This whole thing stinks to high heaven. … My gut tells me this was a staged mind-control operation. The government employs geometric psychological-warfare experts that know exactly how to indirectly manipulate unstable people through the media.”
Such are the Texas representatives on the SPLC’s list of our nation’s most influential radical-righters. Aren’t you proud?
We haven’t focused much on Jones’ career, but we have plenty on Barton here.