‘Founding Faith’ didn’t include founding a secession movement

Posted Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy An Arlington church has given the boot to a “ Founding Faith” conference next month.

Turns out one of the speakers is from a secessionist group that wants to go found a new nation.

In the latest example of the close ties between Tea Parties and Southern or Texas nationalist groups, some local Tea Party leaders are promoting Founding Faith 2013, which includes a sponsor and speaker connected to Southern secessionists.

The viewpoints of Maryland pastor David Whitney “do not reflect the values” of High Point Church, associate pastor Joseph Davis wrote by email.

“That’s ignorance on their part,” Whitney said by phone from Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Pasadena, Md., where he promotes constitutionalist classes led by an official of the Alabama-based League of the South.

Speakers including Family Research Council president Jerry Boykin canceled plans to join Whitney Sept. 20-21 at Founding Faith 2013, promoted by an organizer of entertainer Glenn Beck’s Restoring Love event last summer.

According to the online magazine Salon, Beck himself promoted the event in a radio commercial.

The League of the South recently took an aggressive turn, calling for “European ethnicities” to be “defenders of the blood” against immigrants and adopting a black-and-white “Southern Nationalist” flag.

A League director, Maryland lawyer and former third-party presidential candidate Michael Peroutka, leads Whitney’s Institute on the Constitution.

Whitney said critics “don’t understand a constitutional republic.”

The institute is co-sponsoring the faith conference with the local Tea Parties of Texas PAC.

The PAC was formed by leaders of 10 Tea Party groups including Bob and Donna Smith of the Grapevine-based NE Tarrant Tea Party and Barry Schlech of the Burleson-based Texas Patriots Tea Party.

PAC board chairwoman Sharon Kay Russell of Rowlett said the cancellations by Boykin and other speakers are “alarming.”

“I wonder if they were pressured,” she said.

Asked about the PAC co-sponsoring an event with pro-secession leaders, she called that a rumor.

“I don’t think that [secession] would be necessary at this time,” she said.

She said secessionists “have a right to speak out.”

Event promoter Margaret Andrews of MTC Promotions declined to comment and did not say whether the event will be moved or canceled.

Ross Kecseg of the influential Austin-based group Empower Texans also canceled an appearance. He said he was not aware of any other speakers or their affiliations.

This comes a month after Liberty County school trustee and U.S. Senate hopeful Dwayne Stovall, making all the stops on the Tea Party circuit, spoke to Southern secessionists meeting in the Houston suburb of Magnolia.

Asked where secession falls in the Constitution, he said Friday:

“Aw, I understand that we had the Civil War and all that, but there’s arguments all over the place in that thing.”

They all say they want to restore the nation.

They just don’t say which one.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy

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