Bachmann Staffer Linked to Ugandan 'Kill the Gays' Pastor
This much is known for sure: in 2006, Peter Waldron, who says he is responsible for GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann's faith-based organizing in Iowa and South Carolina, was arrested for terrorism in Uganda, and spent time in an infamous Ugandan prison. In a blockbuster post yesterday, The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta pieced together some of the details of Waldron's biography, including allegations that he was engaged in gun-running, spying and had at one time worked for the CIA. A Kampala newspaper, Franke-Ruta reported, ran an article that said a police official "told a news conference Waldron was suspected of links to a group in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 'planned to set up a political party here based on Christian principles.'"
To an outsider unschooled in Ugandan politics such as me, it would seem that Waldron's arrest in Uganda suggests he's not exactly in the good graces of Uganda dictator Yoweri Museveni, whom Jeff Sharlet has shown to be a favorite of the secretive Capitol Hill religious-right cabal known as The Family or The Fellowship. But a post today at Box Turtle Bulletin suggests that, at the very least, Waldron enjoyed friendly relations with Pastor Martin Ssempa, an ally of Museveni's in the quest to further oppress LGBT people via a draconian anti-gay law that mandates the execution of men who have sex with other men.
At Box Turtle, Jim Burroway links one of Waldron's former enterprises, Cities of Faith Ministries, to the Christian Reconstructionist ideology of R.J. Rushdoony, whom Waldron quoted on the now-defunct Cities of Faith Web site. (Burroway sources this part of his dispatch from a report by Richard Bartholomew.)
Here's Burroway, who goes on to quote from a "36-page document" that was "stored on the Cities of Faith Web site":
Waldron wrote that “the history of liberty is the history of Christian self-government” — and not just self-government in the sense that all individuals govern the course of their lives through the choices they make. No, Waldron’s concept of self-government is much broader:
A totalitarian form of governance arises when the Word of God is compromised, ignored or denied. A person will self-destruct from abuse of spirit, soul and body. A nation will collapse under a “hard” or “soft” form of dictatorship, abuse of public or elected office, and a general denial of human freedom – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – arises. The source of one’s belief system dictates the conduct whether it be personal or national. The same goes for the end result.
The Bible represents the absolute source for the guiding principles and precepts for all governments in man (self-government), of families (family government), churches (church government), and for nations (civil government).
Making the link between Waldron and Ssempa, Burroway cites a 2004 story from The New Republic by Andrew Rice:
The Sunday I attended Ssempa’s church, after he finished his sermon, the pastor told his audience that he had a special guest to introduce, a visitor from the United States. All eyes fixed on a stocky white man with a thick moustache who wore a gray safari suit. He introduced himself as Dr. Peter Waldron of Wyoming. Waldron told the congregation that he had once been a military man and that he used to travel around Africa a lot in the 1960s. He was vague about the nature of his work. (“I’m not at liberty to say,” he later told me.) But he claimed that, on one occasion, it resulted in some good people getting executed by a firing squad. After that, he contemplated suicide, he told the audience. Then he found Jesus. “When you were born again, you became a new person. You left your tribe,” Waldron said. Now, he said, they were all bound together by their common love of God. The audience reacted enthusiastically, warmly welcoming Waldron’s speech. When Waldron launched into a story about how he’d recently been invited to the real White House in the company of religious rapper MC Hammer, the audience was wowed.
Bachmann's employment of Waldron links her to the shadowy world of right-wing Christian operatives who support dictators throughout the developing world. It's time for the media to stop ga-ga-ing at the apparent preposterousness of her campaign, and to start asking hard questions about Bachmann's associates.