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From the New Nebraska Network, a look at Cowboy candidate Scott Kleeb's opponent - Adrian Smith - and his ties to religious fundamentalist Jerry Falwell.  Besides receiving almost half a million dollars from the Club for Growth, Smith has also been tagged as the first of a new generation of right-wing politicians Falwell envisions emerging from his Liberty University.  

Nevermind that the conservative Omaha-World Herald gave Kleeb its whole-hearted endorsement with particular emphasis on Smith's ineffectiveness and incompetence in the state legislature.  Here's just one more reason why Kleeb's victory in Nebraska's Third District has the potential to be the biggest and most important upset in the country on election night:

             

I would not dream of calling Adrian Smith an Anti-Catholic bigot. Still, his ties to Jerry Falwell and Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA raise some serious questions about what beliefs attracted Smith to first enroll there as a college undergraduate. These questions are made especially relevant by Smith's decision to hold a campaign rally on Liberty University's campus, demonstrating continued commitment to Falwell and his extremist ideology.

LU's student newspaper, The Champion, reports:

Dressed sharply in a blue suit, Nebraska state Senator Adrian Smith seems to be the all-American guy, born and raised in Gering, Neb., a town of about 7,800 residents. He came to Liberty in 1989 and spent three semesters at LU before transferring to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the first former Liberty student to make a run for the United States House of Representatives.

Sunday, Sept. 17, Smith and his staff held a rally..., inviting people from campus and Thomas Road to meet the man who is in the race for a seat in the House.

Dr. Ron Godwin, head of the Helms School of Government, was on hand to introduce Smith. Godwin described him as a "pioneer, a pathfinder for many, many more leaders like him in the days ahead"....

As a high school senior, Smith came to Liberty for College for a Weekend. Though he had never lived in Virginia before, he made the step to attend college at Liberty...After his first year, he had a desire to work in his state government, but in order to become a page in local legislature, students had to attend college in Nebraska.

Pastor Jonathan Falwell also lauded Smith for his track record and his stance on important and controversial issues.

"That's the kind of person we need in congress," he said. "We need people who stand up and say `this is what I believe' and will fight for what they believe."

He also said his father, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, had the desire to "affect the culture" and that "one day, he wanted to send a Liberty student to congress."

"I hope to be in the House for a good long time," Smith said before the gathering. "I want to get elected and stay there until retirement."


Jonathan Falwell, generally considered the heir to his father's ministry, has donated almost $2,000 to Smith's campaign. Fair enough - Scott Kleeb has received donations from friends and colleagues from school as well. Still, what's actually troubling about the above article (aside from the fact that Smith's only aspiration is to be a politician for the rest of his life) is the possibility that a Smith victory would advance Falwell's diseased idea of America.

Although Jerry Falwell has toned down his Anti-Catholic teachings since recognizing the Catholic vote's political potential and how it might be exploited to fit his ends, he has nevertheless continued to earn his reputation as a corrupt "Agent of Intolerance," as he was so famously described by Republican Sen. John McCain in 2000. Some of Falwell's more shameful moments include:

*In a collection of Falwell's sermons published in 1979, it reads "I hope to live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"

*In October 1987, the Federal Election Commission fined Falwell $6,000 for transferring $6.7 million in funds intended for his ministry to political committees.

*In 1994, Falwell used his "Old Time Gospel Hour" to sell a video called "The Clinton Chronicles" that made a number of unsubstantiated charges against President Bill Clinton - among them that he was a drug addict and that he arranged the murders of political enemies in Arkansas. Despite claims he had no ties to the project, evidence surfaced that Falwell helped bankroll the venture with $200,000.

*In June 1997, Falwell announced a plan to urge fundamentalist churches to intervene in partisan politics. He vowed to send sample candidate endorsement sermons that pastors could read in their churches.

*In November 1997, Falwell accepted $3.5 million from a front group representing controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon to ease Liberty University's financial woes ($40 million in debt). The donation, and several Falwell appearances at Moon conferences, raised eyebrows because Moon claims to be the messiah...In 1978, before the Moon money started flowing, Falwell told Esquire magazine, "Reverend Sun Myung Moon is like the plague: he exploits boys and girls, and he should be exported."

*In January 1999, Falwell told a pastors' conference in Kingsport, Tenn., that the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and "of course he'll be Jewish."

*In February 1999, Falwell issued a "parents alert" warning that Tinky Winky, a character on the popular PBS children's show `"Teletubbies," might be gay.

*Responding to the terrorist attack on 9/11/2001, Falwell stated, "God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."


It would be unfair to hold Adrian Smith accountable for Falwell's obnoxious statements and misdeeds over the years, but it's troubling that Smith has made no effort to disavow Falwell's most extremist and intolerant tendencies.

At one point in his career, Falwell was so vehemently (and openly) anti-Catholic that he would not share a stage with a priest. This legacy, though now more subdued, continues at Liberty University and perhaps even in the heart of Adrian Smith.

It's no accident that co-author of the best-selling apocalypic Left Behind books Tim LaHaye has donated millions of dollars to the school. LaHaye's Left Behind series, of course, features the Roman Catholic Church as an instrument of the Anti-Christ. LaHaye, who's been in league with Falwell for decades, was also once forced to resign from Jack Kemp's presidential campaign for calling Roman Catholocism "a false religion." And, throughout the 1970s, his church sponsored an anti-Catholic group called Mission to Catholics that printed materials calling Pope Paul VI an "archpriest of Satan, a deceiver, and an antichrist."

Now, the Liberty University hockey team plays at the LaHaye Ice Center, while students work out at the LaHaye Student Center, relax in the LaHaye Lounge, and even take classes in the so-called LaHaye School of Prophecy, which teaches End Times theology.

More outspoken than Falwell, LaHaye's own vision for America includes:

A Religious Right utopia where there is no separation of church and state. Abortion is outlawed and homosexuality is lumped in with pedophilia and prostitution as "perverse sexual practices" that are "universally viewed as immoral and would be shunned." Censorship is rampant as the "Christian and pro-moral community" use the federal government to promulgate "decency" codes.....

Public schools are turned into centers for fundamentalist indoctrination with daily prayer, promotion of the Ten Commandments and creationism firmly ensconced. The Department of Education has been abolished, and teenagers are given no sex education at school.


Adrian Smith actually found ideas such as these attractive? This is the environment in which he felt at home? This is where he actually chose to go to college?

Beyond the religious and political fringe, Falwell and Liberty University have also shown outright hostility to non-white Americans, naming LU's School of Government after Sen. Jesse Helms, one of the most notorious race-baiting politicians of the 20th century.

Finally, for a telling illustration of Liberty University's campus climate - and more about Adrian Smith than we probably want to know - look at the school's student code of conduct, which prohibits viewing R-rated movies (12 reprimands/$50 fine), attending a dance (6 reprimands/$25 fine), and participating in an unauthorized petition or demonstration (12 reprimands/$50 fine). Just possessing alchol or spending the night with a person of the opposite sex are punishable by 30 reprimands, a $500 fine, 30 hours of Community Service, and possible administrative withdrawal.

And, now, Falwell and the entire school are looking to Adrian Smith as their foothold in Congress - their "pathfinder" - the first of many who will remake America into something decidedly un-American. I don't know about you, but - this Halloween season - that might be the scariest idea of all.

If looking for another reason to make one final donation to Scott Kleeb's campaign, I think you've just found it.

Intolerance. Anti-Catholicism. Jesse Helms. The death of public eduacation. Limits on free speech. Those are not the values of Nebraska's Third District voters - who may consider themselves common sense conservatives but most definitely are not Falwell-style extremists.

Originally posted to Skylewalker on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 05:13 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sweet sweet satisfaction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer, dotsright

    I would love to see the look on the faces of Resmuglicans everywhere, and their beltway-insider-chattering-class enablers, if NE-03 goes blue.

    I think I would like that more than sex.

    What would Josiah Bartlet do?

    by PeteyP on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 05:17:43 PM PDT

    •  At least you have a choice right now... (0+ / 0-)

      ...sorry - did I type that out loud?

      "The waging of war, by its nature, is total - but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial." -- Daniel Berrigan

      by Rico on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 05:29:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rec'd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer

    Though I'm not in Kleeb's district, I will be very disappointed if he loses this race. Not only because he would be a great Congressman, but because Adrian Smith is such a nut.

  •  "Liberty" university (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dufffbeer, Ckntfld, dirtfarmer

    Has there ever been a place more misnamed?  Is there a public figure who dislikes freedom of speech more than Jerry Falwell?

    Its like Iran's President founding Jewish University.  

    No time to complain, we've got a democracy to bring back to life!

    by bosdcla14 on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 05:24:03 PM PDT

  •  Just what we need (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ckntfld, Sagittarius, dirtfarmer

    more anti-government, religious wingnuts running the country.

  •  why kleeb will win (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dufffbeer, oldhousepoor, dirtfarmer

    Kleeb will win by 4 to 6 points for 2 reasons

    1. the world herald is sending a message that it will not support repubs who take huge sums of money from bizarre right wing, out of state groups such as Club for Growth
    1. Republicans are smart, (at least in Nebraska) they know that if Smith wins, he will be there for 30 years since he will never move up AND when Kleeb wins they can vote him out any election. Repubs understand and Kleeb understands, if Kleeb is not independent in Congress, he will get beat 60-40 in 2 years, they understand Kleeb has to perform to stay in office and the third district wants a representative who has to work to get reelected. Kleeb will win, and he will have to perform or he is out in 08. (By the way, Kleeb will be great and the third will be very happy to have an effective leader representing them.)
    •  Telegraph Editorial (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dotsright

      Keith Blackledge....is that you?

      Just kidding, although the likeness is uncanny.

    •  I'll confirm that statement (0+ / 0-)

       The Republicans I talk to who are voting Esch in NE-02 are saying they'll put him out in 2008 if he doesn't do what they want. I'll take whatever I can get at this point - perhaps the Republicans will recover from their religious fanaticism, perhaps people here will get used to a conservative Democrat representing them.

      "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise" - U.S. Constitution author and fourth President James Madison

      by Iowa Boy on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 07:03:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Helms School of Goverment? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer

    As in Jesse Helms? That is one of the best oxymorons I have heard in ages.

  •  The only differences I can see... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exNYinTX, Sagittarius, dirtfarmer

    ..between Liberty Universty and an Islamic madrassah are geography and how the students dress.
     It's scary.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by drchelo on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 05:48:50 PM PDT

  •  Know the difference between (0+ / 0-)

    an Islamo-fascist and a nutjob Xian-fascist? The Islamic guy (no girls allowed) does it for god. The Xian-fascist (Stepford girls welcome} wouldn't fart unless god made him a buck.

    Now, I'm no great fan of Islamic culture. Seems to me that while Europe was mired in the Dark Ages, Islam  was vibrant and made great strides in mathematics and astronomy, but later perverted the intent of the Koran.

    Also seem to me Xians took Jesus' teaching of tolerance and love and turned it into an ugly hate and greedfest.

    I'm probably totally unhinged right now. Just spent the last month banging corn, soybeans and milo thru my combine night and day without a break.

    I live in Ne-03, eastern edge. Scott Kleeb is an extraordinary young man. I go back a while and once had the chance to shake Bobby Kennedy's hand at the Lincoln airport in '68 before he was killed. In my life I've never seen anyone with that talent, intelligence, courage and commitment, until now. Scott Kleeb is a national treasure waiting to be discovered.

    I can' tell you how tired I am of blow dried, Gucci suited, slick, lying, right wing assholes ruining this great country.

    GO SCOTT!

    •  LMAO!!!!!!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dirtfarmer

      "an Islamo-fascist and a nutjob Xian-fascist? The Islamic guy (no girls allowed) does it for god. The Xian-fascist (Stepford girls welcome} wouldn't fart unless god made him a buck."

      I have a real good feeling about Kleeb and hope to do some work for him next weekend when I'm home in North Platte.  I just wish I was registered to vote there!  Oh well, I'll be happy to vote for Maxine Moul in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.  I think NE-03 could make national news!!!  But I can't get too excited :(

      Why do I keep doing this to myself?  I've never been to Connecticut in my life and I celebrated like I knew Lamont personally.  I'm so scared to hope, but I really need this election.  I've had nothing but disappointments since the first time I voted in 2000.  

      GO KLEEB!

      If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.

      by Nebraska Outsider on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 08:24:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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