Neo-Confederate Who Says Civil Rights Are ‘Make-Believe’ Wins County Council Seat in Maryland
Michael Anthony Peroutka, who is one of the country's most extreme right-wing candidates with close ties to a national hate group, was elected Tuesday in Maryland's Anne Arundel County.
One of the country’s most extreme right-wing candidates with close ties to a national hate group was elected Tuesday in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, as Michael Anthony Peroutka secured a county council seat in a state with overwhelming Democratic legislative majorities and dominated by registered Democratic voters.
Peroutka, co-founder of the Institute on the Constitution, a self-described education outreach organization that seeks to “re-acquaint” Americans with what Peroutka says are the Biblical origins of the United States Constitution, is a Southern secessionist and former member of the neo-confederate and white supremacist group the League of the South, which calls for a second Southern secession and the formation of a Christian theocratic state headed by white elites.
He won the Anne Arundel County Council seat with 53 percent of the vote. Peroutka won in Anne Arundel’s District 5, considered to be one of the county’s more conservative districts.
Though Peroutka renounced his membership from the League of the South—labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group—after pressure from Republicans, he’s continued to use the Institute on the Constitution as a soapbox for his opinions on race, including a commentary on the Ferguson, Missouri, protests, in which he compared civil rights to defying gravity and says they are “make-believe.”
As I watch the unfolding chaos and destruction in Ferguson, Missouri, I can’t help but think that this is the result of man’s sinful desire to make up his own moral laws. …
[G]overnment tramples our God-given rights and now pretends to issue what it calls “civil rights”.
But “civil rights” are make-believe. Real rights come from the Creator.
He’s also said that multiculturalism is “bad for America” and claimed that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech shows why the welfare state “violates the law of nature.” Peroutka has charged that King did not support civil rights.
Peroutka’s election “is such a surprise because it’s rare for anyone in this country to get elected with known white supremacist connects,” Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, told Rewire. “Especially when those connections are known to the public before [Election Day].”
Beirich said Peroutka winning election in deep-blue Maryland—even in a year of Republican resurgence—isn’t any more a surprise than if Peroutka had been elected in a red state, adding that the SPLC has long tracked the newly elected Anne Arundel County councilman as one of the most extreme candidates in the country.
Peroutka has indicated that as a council member, he plans to ignore both federal and state law, which he says are out of line with God and therefore illegitimate.
“The behavior of the legislature in my home state of Maryland raises the question of whether the people of Maryland may be justified in reaching the conclusion that what we call our General Assembly is no longer a valid legislative body, and … it follows that no validity should be given to any of its enactments,” Peroutka mused in a video on the Institute on the Constitution’s YouTube channel.
In the video, titled “Has Your State Legislature Forfeited Its Validity?” Peroutka goes on to give a laundry list of examples of why the Maryland legislature should be ignored, including lawmakers’ approval of same-sex marriage protections, gun control reforms, and declaring that “little girls must share bathrooms with older men that are gender confused.”
Local news coverage has often mentioned Peroutka’s controversial political past, though some reporting has focused on Anne Arundel County residents charging that Peroutka did not hold racist or neo-confederate views.
The editorial team at the local newspaper, the Capital Gazette, pointed out that if elected, the right-wing extremist would waste time “explaining that property taxes are one of Karl Marx’s ideas” and denouncing the theory of evolution as un-American.
Watch the full “Has Your State Legislature Forfeited Its Validity?” video below.