In the matter of Michael A. Peroutka — the Republicans’ candidate for Attorney General — Maryland voters should focus on two points. First, Peroutka is clear on what he thinks makes a law valid and, second, he commingles secular law with Biblical law.
To be sound, according to Peroutka, any state law (1) must be “consistent with the constitution” and (2) “cannot violate the moral law.” In his view, if the law doesn’t meet both requirements, “it is a nullity.”
In an interview last March with Maryland State Bar Association President Natalie McSherry and former state Sen. Bobby Zirkin, Peroutka signals that his Christian views are at odds with the duties of the state’s top legal official. He says that as Attorney General, he will not defend a state law if he deems it “not harmonious with God’s law.” Separation of church and state, he says, is “a great lie.”
If elected, says Peroutka, he will “always follow the law” except when the law does not conform “with God’s law,” or his interpretation of God’s law. His extreme position leaves McSherry and Zirkin incredulous.
Even though the General Assembly seems about to adopt a constitutional amendment to protect women’s reproductive rights, Peroutka claims that the state’s current abortion law is “a nullity.” And, according to a July 31 article in Rolling Stone magazine, Peroutka’s “Biblical view of government” has him claiming gay marriage “can’t be law because it violates God’s law.” Clearly, Peroutka cannot defend either on behalf of the State of Maryland should it be challenged in court.
Peroutka argues that public education “is a plank of the Communist Manifesto” designed to indoctrinate children away from the beliefs of their parents, Asked by Zirkin if he can represent the State Department of Education in a court case, Peroutka says he would represent the department to the best of his ability, but would not hide his personal views about the education system.
With respect to the covid-19 pandemic, Peroutka questions if certain state agencies have the authority to create rules and regulations to protect the public health. He also says that, in his opinion, “lockdowns are unconstitutional because to say that people can’t assemble or can’t practice their religion in church, those things are violative of peoples [constitutional] rights.”
On the “Patriots4Peroutka” website, Peroutka promises to:
- Prosecute public officials who “exceeded their lawful authority” by supporting public health mandates during the covid-19 pandemic.
- Ensure the right to gun ownership is not “infringed.”
- “Protect the lives of all persons, including the pre-born and the elderly.”
- “Restore election integrity.”
- “Protect Marylanders from those who have entered the United States and Maryland unlawfully or under false pretenses.”
In effect, Peroutka is anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, anti-public health measures, anti-immigrant, and pro-gun. He supports Donald Trump’s Big Lie about election fraud.
To round out this panorama of extremism:
- Some years ago, Peroutka was a member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a white supremacist and white nationalist organization hate group. According to the SPLC, the League “denounces the federal government and Northern and Coastal states as part of a materialist and anti-religious society they call The Power and warned Black people that they would be defeated in a future race war.” In a film clip on Twitter, Peroutka asks an audience to rise for the national anthem, then in a bait-and-switch has them sing “Dixie.” Peroutka says he resigned from the League after a leader espoused a position on interracial marriage that he disagreed with. He refuses to disavow the League.
- According to Patch, an online publication in Anne Arundel County, Peroutka co-hosted radio shows in 2006 during which he suggests the 9/11 collapse of the World Trade Center and a second nearby building was an “inside job” by government “bureaucrats.” Peroutka even speculates that every building in New York City could have preset charges awaiting detonation by some “elite bureaucrat.”
- In 2004, Peroutka was the U.S. Constitution Party’s nominee for president. He also served a four-year term on the Anne Arundel County Council (2014-18) but was not reelected.
A woman seeking an abortion, a same-sex couple wanting to marry, a concerned citizen pushing for firearms safety, or a public health advocate will not find an ally in Michael Peroutka. Just the opposite! Were he to be elected as Maryland’s Attorney General, they all would face an adamant adversary.
NOTE: This article was first published in Common Sense for the Eastern Shore.