Election '18

GOP Senate Candidate Backs Out of Event With Pastor Who Compared Gay People to Nazis

Josh Hawley claims that it was only a scheduling conflict.

Photo Credit: Natureofthought / Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, the Kansas City Star reported that Josh Hawley, the Missouri attorney general and Republican candidate for Senate, has canceled a planned gathering in Springfield for evangelical voters with Pastor David Barton.

Barton is an extremist preacher who heads up WallBuilders, a Texas-based organization that promotes a revisionist history of the United States. He has particular venom for LGBTQ people, claiming that homosexuals "die decades earlier than heterosexuals" and suggesting that HIV/AIDS is a Biblical punishment for homosexuality. He has also called the gay rights movement "evil" and compared it to Nazi Germany.

Asked about why he had canceled the event Hawley simply cited a scheduling conflict with an agricultural tour with the Missouri Farm Bureau. However, when reporters pressed on Barton's views, Hawley tried to distance himself, saying he does "not agree with discrimination against anybody on any basis."

For all of Hawley's denials, however, he has actually appeared with Barton before. As the Star notes, Barton campaigned with Hawley while he was running for attorney general, and the two also appeared together at a Kansas City "Pastors and Pews" event in December 2017. At that event, Hawley proclaimed that sex trafficking was caused by the "sexual revolution" in the 1960s that liberated women from patriarchal mores.

The Missouri Senate race is one of the closest contests in the nation. Republicans are seeking to defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who has a fairly moderate voting record, but has taken high-profile stands against GOP attacks on health care and President Donald Trump's appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.