If your priority is improving public education in Massachusetts, keep an eye on the race in the 21st Middlesex district north of Boston—especially if you worry that agents of the Satanic conspiracy of “secular humanism” now control the curriculum in our state.
Paul Girouard is running as a Republican to capture the state representative seat for Burlington, Bedford, and one precinct in Wilmington—an area between Boston and Lowell best known by shoppers as the home of the Burlington Mall. The incumbent is Democratic Rep. Ken Gordon.
According to campaign materials, Girouard is “running to be your voice on Beacon Hill,” and he will “fight for your priorities of growing jobs, lowering our tax burden and requiring transparency and accountability.” He also believes that families seeking a place to live should be required to produce a “social security number in order to get state housing.” Because “it would stop illegals from getting housing ahead of veterans.” This from a man who is proud to be a devout Christian and a worship leader at the Church of the Living God in Woburn. As for public education—Girouard and his wife schooled their three sons at King’s Kids Academy Christian School K-9, a project of the church where Paul Girouard is a worship leader. The candidate explains:
Our Christian school … was incorporated so that our children may be protected from the secular humanistic philosophies of our current public school system [after the school closed] … most parents chose to home school and/or to put their children in another nearby Christian school.
The idea that our public schools are hotbeds of “secular humanistic philosophies” originates as a conspiracy theory on the Christian Right championed by the late evangelical icon author Tim LaHaye. LaHaye wrote that planet Earth is a battleground between the Godly and the Satanic, facing an approaching End Times confrontation prophesied in the Bible’s book of Revelation. The master plan of the Satanic conspiracy, according to LaHaye, is Secular Humanism. LaHaye is not referring to an actual existing group of secular humanists, but his fantastic claim of a vast socialist utopian conspiracy hatched back in the 1800s.
LaHaye further claims it was the Satan himself who engineered the “crafty election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as president for twelve years.” This was part of a secret conspiracy to turn the “American constitution upside down,” in order to “use our freedoms to promote pornography, homosexuality, immorality, and a host of evils characteristic of the last days.”
Girouard worries about government conspiracies under the Obama administration. According to the candidate, one of the most important issues for voters in Middlesex is “National Security.” He said he has heard rumors that potential terrorist Syrian refugee immigrants are silently being slipped into our communities after secretly landing at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford. (Though during a candidate forum with the incumbent Gordon at Burlington Cable Access Television, Girouard conceded he was unable to substantiate that rumor.) Officials at Hanscom Air Force Base, contacted by phone, immediately and emphatically said the refugee rumor was false.
The current Republican election campaign is bubbling over with rumors, half-baked theories, and outright lies—this from the Donald Trump stovetop to the bottom baking rack. Most of the Republicans running in state and local races actually believe in the conspiracy theories alleging subversion and treason by Democrats and their closest cadre of communists, socialists, godless atheists, radical feminazis, and sexual renegades. So do a scary percentage of Republican voters. In 2009, for example, 15 percent of Republicans in New Jersey said they thought President Barack Obama might be Satan’s End Times sidekick, the Antichrist. Another 14 percent thought it was a fact.
Most corporate media characterizes Trump as a loose cannon free-associating alarmist bulletpoints that he knows are lies. Not so. Most of Trump’s false claims originate in a deep and wide network of right-wing information sources including Glenn Beck, the John Birch Society, Alt-Right and hundreds of other online, broadcast, and print publications. This network launched a major effort to take over the GOP during the administration of Bill Clinton. Now Hillary Clinton is the target.
There is no reliable social science data showing that people who vote Republican, join right-wing political or social movements, or cheer at Trump rallies are stupid or crazy. Some studies, however, confirm many are ignorant of basic facts—more so if they binge watch Fox News. The John Birch Society, founded in Massachusetts, has been a major purveyor of right-wing conspiracy theories since 1959. Several studies have revealed that JBS members on average had a higher income level and educational attainment than average Americans.
Democratic Party elites were horrified by the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern, who brought as delegates to the Miami convention a significant number of grassroots activists from the civil rights, antiwar, student rights, women’s rights, environmentalist, and gay rights movements. I covered the convention for the alternative press and interviewed these participants—and then covered how a faction of the Democratic Party elites intentionally sank the McGovern campaign and then rewrote the party rules to favor control by bigwigs and inside-the-Beltway hacks ironically called “superdelegates.”
Strong and vibrant grassroots social movements pull political parties toward their goals. The Christian Right recruited Paul Girouard, whether or not he agrees with that assessment. He is a smart, capable man who honestly believes what he says. If you disagree with him, then after the election get involved in a local campaign to defend the rights of women, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions—any subject of the false claims and conspiracist rants that have painted targets on the backs of so many of our neighbors.