Ron Paul's campaign is proudly showing off an endorsement from the Reverend Voddie Baucham, a Baptist pastor in Texas with a penchant for deploying fire and brimstone language against gays in his sermons, whom he notes are "worthy of the death penalty" according to Biblical law.
In one 2009 blog post condemning President Obama for an official announcement celebrating the gay and lesbian community, Baucham took issue with Obama's praise for the LGBT community's activism on behalf of HIV/AIDS awareness.
"Hence, sodomites, who who are in large part responsible for the introduction and spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are praised for responding to this plague in an attempt to avoid annihilation (by the way, I know you don't have to engage in sodomy to get HIV, but that doesn't change the facts... see the book And the Band Played On for an honest look at this issue)," he wrote. "This is revisionism at its worst."
The post, which was first flagged by blogger and psychology professor Dr. Warren Throckmorton, added that "The President goes on to celebrate the fact that this abomination (Lev 18:22) worthy of the death penalty (Lev 20:13) is now being celebrated in the open."
While he invokes the "death penalty" it's not clear Baucham actually endorses its use against gays. Repeated attempts to reach him by phone were unsuccessful and he notes in another sermon that, in general, he considers some commandments from Leviticus no longer applicable, having been fulfilled by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
In one of his sermons, "The Sin Of Sodom On Display in America," available online, Baucham slammed the White House for inviting Eugene Robison, a gay Episcopalian bishop, to deliver an invocation before his inauguration.
"Not only is he a bishop who turns grace into lawlessness by being an alcoholic, homosexual who abandoned his wife and then is called bishop," Baucham said. "He turns the grace of our God into lawlessness."
Paul's campaign has aggressively courted the evangelical community in 2012, employing a radical anti-gay activist, Mike Heath, as its point person for outreach to churches in Iowa. A "statement of faith" on the campaign website lists biblical justifications for Paul's positions on everything from anti-abortion laws to the gold standard. The message his staff seems to be taking to the evangelical community is that Paul's small-government conservatism will mean less federal and judicial involvement in issues like abortion and gay marriage, an appealing stance for a religious community that feels under siege from courts and Congress.
This is the primary reason Baucham has endorsed Paul: "I know many Christians have been scared off by the 'Ron Paul wants to legalize drugs, gay marriage, and abortion' rhetoric," he writes. "However, looking beyond the rhetoric reveals Paul's true constitutional conservatism (and biblical understanding of jurisdiction). He has personal convictions, but those will not be allowed to steer him away from his constitutional oath. The presidency, and the Federal Government have limits."
Of course, sometimes the Paul campaign's zeal for attracting new supporters can get them into trouble. Last month, they celebrated the endorsement of a Nebraska pastor who explicitly calls for the execution of gays only to take the announcement down from their website after TPM reported on his views.
Baucham's promoted endorsement comes the same week that The New Republic published a new set of Paul's 1980s and 1990s newsletters, many of which contain incendiary rhetoric against gays and lesbians. Although the newsletters were published by Paul and some passages were apparently written from his perspective, Paul has denied authorship or knowledge of the newsletters' content.
In general, the campaign frequently showcases pastors who attest that Paul's states right view of gay marriage, a standout issue given Paul's young, often socially liberal base of followers, is consist with the religious right. Baucham's promoted post "Baptist Pastor Explains 'Why Ron Paul?' continues the pattern.
A spokesman for Paul did not respond to a question about whether the campaign took issue with Baucham's rhetoric regarding the gay and lesbian community.