Indivisible RC Questions Connections Among SDGOP and Watchmen on the Wall

Lori Miller of Indivisible Rapid City rustles up connections among the Family Research Council and its Watchmen on the Wall wing, a variety of conservative South Dakota culture war fighters, the efforts to foment anti-Islam hysteria, and South Dakota’s Congressional delegation. Scott Craig, Craig Moore, Ed Randazzo, Amy Willson, Family Heritage Alliance, the Pennington County Republican Party—as I’ve documented, they’re all connected to the effort to scare South Dakotans into some icky form of white Christian Sharia. The Watchmen of South Dakota, for instance, urge followers to attend their bogeyman shows by equating humanism, Islam, and atheism with persecution and depravity.

Miller notices this Facebook photo from the Watchmen of South Dakota dated May 24:

Watchmen of South Dakota, FB photo, 2017.05.24.
Watchmen of South Dakota, FB photo, 2017.05.24.

Interposed among Senator M. Michael Rounds, Senator John Thune, and Representative Kristi Noem are Watchman and Family Heritage Alliance boss Ed Randazzo (he’s the short one) and, if I’m seeing through the blur correctly, fellow Watchman, FHA leader and Fall River County GOP chair Phil Shively.

Indivisible Rapid City asked our members of Congress why they are hanging out with this radical bunch of culture warriors:

Neither Senator Thune or Representative Noem have responded publicly or in written statements on why they were photographed with this group. Senator Thune’s office has not responded to inquiries about this at all. Staff at Rep. Noem’s office did say, in a phone call with this author that, “There is a lot of daylight between how you view the group (WOTW) and how she views the group.”

…Senator Rounds was asked about this picture at his “coffee and conversation” in Deadwood, SD on August 17, 2017. An Indivisible Rapid City member asked him if he supports the group Watchmen on the Wall. His initial response was, “I never heard of the group.” He even went so far as to ask, “Has anyone ever heard of them?” After being pressed further he said, “I can tell you that if Senator Thune, Kristi Noem and I were all together and if you for one second that we’re gonna stand with a hate group, I can’t even try to convince you otherwise. I have no idea where it comes from. Do you have any idea where they made this picture up at?” One of the Indivisible Rapid City leaders told him that the photo was taken on May 24, 2017 in Washington D. C. A man in the audience, Dale, started to explain that the group was associated with Family Heritage Alliance and then changed it to Family Research Council. He stated that the group, WOTW, was specifically not the same group as the one associated with Tony Perkins and Family Research Council. To this Senator Rounds stated, “I have no problem with having my picture taken with members of the Family Research Council.” The full video can be viewed here [Lori Miller, “Hate in America: What a Tangled Web Our Leaders Weave,” Indivisible Rapid City blog, 2017.08.23].

Miller is worried that support for such theocratic fearmongers from South Dakota political leaders opens the door for more ugly outbursts like the white-supremacist attack in Charlottesville:

For the most part, these tangled webs are not challenged because of the perceived high level of support garnered from community leaders. The organizations intentionally target community leaders in churches, political parties, law enforcement, congress and even the presidency, to give credence to their agendas. It is easy to persuade Americans into believing that it is acceptable to hate “the other” when the information comes from these positions of authority. Once it is acceptable in every level of our community leadership from churches to the presidency it is not surprising that a tragedy like Charlottesville took place [Miller, 2017.08.23].

Healthy democracy runs on courage and facts, not the fear and falsehoods spread by groups like the Watchmen and supported by too many South Dakota Republican leaders.


7 Responses to Indivisible RC Questions Connections Among SDGOP and Watchmen on the Wall

  1. Porter Lansing

    OUTGROUPING DEFINED … research shows that when people feel they are under attack because of their membership in a particular group, like their religion, their nationality or their race, they become more attached to that identity, and more hardened and suspicious toward outsiders. That can promote what social scientists call “outgrouping” — fear of outsiders and a desire to control or punish them. When terrorist organizations target, say, Westerners, that leads to outgrouping behavior.
    That feeling of “us” versus “them” divides society, heightening prejudices and creating social battle lines — precisely the sort of politics championed by right-wing populists who have grown popular in Europe and the United States.
    In short … it’s a con job on “half-educated haybillys”.

  2. Thank you Cory for helping Indivisible Rapid City get this information to a larger audience!

  3. Porter, you get me thinking that this anti-Muslim hysteria springs naturally (not logically, not excusably, but naturally like a disease) from the Christian persecution complex we’ve heard for years from some fearful Christians, the folks who think that we atheists control the world and are out to ban Christianity, who think we’ve banned official, teacher-dictated prayer in school out of a desire to rub out religion rather than mere adherence to the Founders’ very sensible First Amendment, who think their faith and their God are not strong enough to withstand the presence of people who do not share that faith and worship that God. They think they are living in the End Times of first-century A.D. Rome, where Christians really were a powerless and oppressed minority and believed the Second Coming was imminent. With church attendance declining and the predominance of their particular worldview threatened, it becomes easy for them to blur “black” and “brown” and “Muslim” (Obama), “atheism” and “Islam” and “Marxism”, and fall for the white-supremacist message that throws in Jews and liberals and any other scapegoats that seem to deserve a good whipping to purge the Christians’ fear and guilt.

  4. Mr. Lansing

    I like the way you think, Cory. If Catholics have to suffer to get to heaven it’s notable that the putrid human being (Pat Powers) is well on his way. Rarely have I witnessed such a miserable, angry and unfulfilled group as the commenters on his blog. Jonny Gohn, this means you, too.
    ~ Speaking of the Catholic Blog, did you see any of their pious passing out Deutsch’s anti-senior citizens, anti-death with dignity “LIAR FLYER” at the fair? Maybe the took a flyer on that. 😉
    ~His newest assertion (since his flyer was proved to be a steaming pile of it) is that the bill conflates oral consumption with ingestion. This phony’s got murder and sex on his mind continually. Wonder why?
    ~[Oral consumption is characterized by the first stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory during which libidinal gratification is derived from intake (as of food), by sucking, and later by biting.] Enough about his kinky Catholic super-ego.
    ~Mr. Deutsch … To set the voter straight, if a willing patient has less than six months to live and has requested end of life medication to mitigate his/her meaningless suffering, it matters not if they become so weak that a family member must help them ingest a pill and help them with a swallow of water. The dying patient’s request has already given permission to do so. (e.g. If you have an illness that requires an injection and you can’t do it yourself (who can?) then allowing a nurse to do it isn’t sinister. Or does this give evil nurses the opportunity to kill their rich relatives for subversive motives? Try again, chiropractor Deutsch.

  5. David Hubbard

    The more religions use fear-mongering the more I reject religion as a whole. Most of these people make we want to never step foot in any church ever again. I was raise Missouri Synod Lutheran. I had a very strong religious upbringing, even considering attending seminary school at one point. I have read 5 different versions of the Bible, cover to cover and I have concluded many people who proclaim to be Christian clearly were taught religion much differently than I was. Because so much of what I hear from the mouths of self-proclaimed Christians sounds contrary to everything I was taught in my church growing up. There is a very good reason why our Founding Fathers were concerned about the separation of church and state. I uphold the opinion that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.

  6. David, the fact that America’s most enthusiastic practitioners of church-state mingling can contort themselves into claiming Donald Trump is a Christian leader should cast doubt on the religion they profess. So should the fear and falsehood to which the Rapid City fundagelicals must resort to stoke their faith.

  7. mike from iowa

    Disgraced jail bird, nutjob televangelist Jim Bakker sez there will be a civil war if Drumpf is impeached. I assume Bakker stays behind the scenes keeping his eyes and hands on the nursing corps and the war chest.