STOKING FIRE: Randall Terry’s Campaign Platform


Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry doesn’t believe prayer is enough to end abortion in the U.S. He believes in action.  A 1981 graduate of the unaccredited Elim Bible College, in 1985 he and then-wife Cindy Dean Terry began demonstrating outside Southern Tier Women’s Services in Vestal, New York.  In short order the pair escalated their protests to include a range of disruptive tactics, from blockading the building’s entrance to shouting so loudly that their taunts could be heard in the health center’s operating room.

For a short time—from the late 1980s and early 1990s—the “rescue” movement grew quickly and caused havoc at clinics throughout the country. Then, in 1994, after passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, it sputtered. Nonetheless, before it ended thousands of rescuers had been arrested, giving Terry the notoriety he continues to crave.

Indeed, in his quest for attention, Terry has proven himself to be a master of re-invention and both his personal and career lives have taken many turns. As a professional, he’s been a car salesman, a gospel and country singer, and a community organizer. He’s also morphed from fundamentalist Protestant to Roman Catholic. And now, the Tea Party activist and lifelong Republican has switched again, declaring himself a Democratic contender in 2012’s presidential race. “I don’t want to quibble with Palin, Huckabee, or Romney,” the 51-year-old told me by phone. “I want to throw body punches at Barack Obama.”

“Obama is the Massa and we’re his slave labor force,” Terry continues. “My platform respects life and liberty.”

Not surprisingly, making abortion illegal is the pivot around which Terry’s candidacy spins. At the same time, Catholic.org reports that his platform not only “affirms life, [but also] marriage between a man and a woman only.” Furthermore, his “unabashedly theocentric campaign” is deeply critical of Islam and his voice becomes noticeably louder as he describes the threat he believes Muslims pose to Western values and culture. “I’ve spent my whole life fighting against abortion, but if I had to choose between living in a Christian nation that kills its babies or a Muslim nation under Sharia law, I’d choose the former,” he told me. As for foreign policy, Terry says that he supports non-intervention. “We shouldn’t be in Iraq and  Afghanistan should have been a short war of reprisal,” he says.

Terry declared his candidacy in front of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC—yes, he repeatedly likens the Nazi holocaust to abortion–and he is presently working to raise $2.5 million to run a 30-second ad during next year’s Super Bowl, complete with the kind of graphic, bloody, anti-abortion footage that just about everyone in the western world has already seen.  “Legalized child killing is the greatest abomination on the face of the earth,” the Randall Terry for President website declares. His hope is that by exposing millions of football fans to grisly pictures of dismembered fetuses, people will clamor for overturning Roe, prime time be damned. “It is high time we act like [abortion] is the holocaust it is,” he blasts. 

Rabbi Yehuda Levin of the Rabbinical Alliance of America and Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life are among the few anti-abortion activists in Terry’s corner. In fact, in his two-and-a-half decades on the anti-abortion frontlines Terry has garnered many detractors, people who are leery of his tendency to jump into the limelight wherever, however, and whenever possible. 

Revelations about Terry’s personal foibles have also given many anti-abortion activists pause. Take what happened after Rev. Dan Little of the Landmark Church of Binghamton, New York censured, and then in 2005 expelled, Terry for ending his 19-year marriage. Despite belonging to Landmark for more than 15 years, Terry seemingly took his excommunication in stride, as if the action was simply the opening of a new door in his spiritual life. According to numerous news accounts, after being booted, Terry first checked out a charismatic Episcopal church but quickly turned to Roman Catholicism and converted in May 2006. The National Catholic Register reports that the newly divorced Terry made this move after announcing—but never explaining–that his marriage to Cindy had been “an invalid sacrament.”

Whatever his spin, it is worth noting that the long liaison between Randall and Cindy included the birth of a daughter in 1987. It also included the adoption of three young children. Nonetheless, once the dust of his first marriage had cleared, Terry wed again. Andrea Sue Kellmorgan, his former assistant—a woman 17 years his junior–became the second Mrs. Terry several years ago.

Scuttlebutt notwithstanding, Terry seems unaffected by critics and is instead focused on challenging Obama. Does he really think he has a shot?  Alas, even he is not that delusional. At the same time, Terry is hoping that his candidacy will provoke what he calls a “crisis of faith for pro-life Democrats.” He intends to bring his campaign to New Hampshire, Florida, and North Carolina, and in an interview on eyeblast.tv quipped that “the Tea Party train is now on Democratic tracks.”

As for the Democratic National Committee, it’s doubtful that they’re feeling much heat from Terry’s campaign. Although the DNC did not respond to my calls or emails, one can only assume that they’re expecting a quick and complete derailment.

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  • beenthere72

    I think it’s in the best interest of the Koch Brothers’ Tea Party to pay Terry off, shut him up, and get as much distance between him and the ‘oh no, we’re not racist’ rest of the Tea Party as soon as possible.  But then again, maybe that’s why he’s running as a Democrat instead of a Republican or Independent.  

     

    Just hearing his name makes my skin crawl.

  • colleen

    Take what happened after Rev. Dan Little of the Landmark Church of Binghamton, New York censured, and then in 2005 expelled, Terry for ending his 19-year marriage.

    He wasn’t expelled for ending his marriage, he was expelled by the entire church for inappropriate sexual advances towards multiple members of the congregation. After the divorce he failed to meet his child support obligations. This is a man  who had not allowed his wife access to effective contraception.

    The National Catholic Register reports that the newly divorced Terry made this move after announcing—but never explaining–that his marriage to Cindy had been “an invalid sacrament.” 

    How appropriate that he converted to Catholicism.

     

     He and Newt Gingrich (whose ‘family values’ biography is remarkably similar) are doing it for the attention and the money.

  • genevieve-dusquesne

    “He wasn’t expelled for ending his marriage, he was expelled by the entire church for inappropriate sexual advances towards multiple members of the congregation.”

    Oh dear…this man creeps me out more and more with every word I read about him…

  • plume-assassine

    Everything about Randall Terry is extremist hyperbole. His behavior fits perfectly into the definition of untreated Bipolar Disorder, with psychotic features.

    “Obama is the Massa and we’re his slave labor force,” Terry continues.

    Barf-worthy. OBAMA IS RACIST AGAINST WHITE PEOPLE!!! REVERSE-RACISM HURRRRRRRRRR

     

     “My platform respects life and liberty.”

    I wonder what “life” and “liberty” look like under Randall Terry’s Christian Taliban vision of America. I think I’m going to start writing my first dystopian novel…

     

    he repeatedly likens the Nazi holocaust to abortion

    Will this ever stop? It is so offensive and degrading on multiple levels. The Anti-Defamation League has spoken out against this “comparison” so many times and for good reason. Why can’t people use their brains before they speak… especially about atrocities that they can’t even begin to comprehend?

     

    So in summary, we have a violent, racist, Islamaphobic, homophobic, theocratic fascist woman-hater with his sights set on the oval office. Lovely. He should be in a padded cell.

  • crowepps

    So in summary, we have a violent, racist, Islamaphobic, homophobic, theocratic fascist woman-hater with his sights set on the oval office.

    AND he claims to be a PREACHER!  Sounds like he’ll have plenty of appeal to the Republican base, many of whom seem to share his qualities.

  • princess-jourdan

    Ever notice how therm who claim to be the most Christian and scream the loudest about “family values” are the ones who always seem to have the nastiest little secrets in their private lives? Like all the right-wing Christian family values politicians who get busted for having sex with prostitutes. Or the homophobic politicians & religious leaders who are discovered to be gay. Or men like Mark Foley who go on national TV to yell about the evils of child predators while chasing after underage congressional pages. I swear to God, this holier-than-thou family values nonsense they all spout is nothing more than plain old PROJECTION. They are spewing hate at women, gays, premarital sex, and anything else they don’t like because they are all doing this smut themselves and they have GUILTY CONSCIENCES that they’re trying to hide!! It’s simple psychology really. When you hear someone harp on something, 9 times out of 10 it’s because they are guilty of that very thing. I see it myself all the time!! So the next time you hear one of these right-wing blow-hards hollering about some issue, stop and ask yourselves “Hmmmm…I wonder what HE’S hiding??” :)

  • plume-assassine

    Yes, it is a combination of projection (an immature defense mechanism) and reaction-formation (a neurotic defense mechanism.)

     

    Converting unconscious wishes or impulses that are perceived to be dangerous into their opposites; behavior that is completely the opposite of what one really wants or feels; taking the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety. This defense can work effectively for coping in the short term, but will eventually break down

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_formation

  • princess-jourdan

    That was an interesting article!  I especially liked the sentence “Romantic notions of chastity and purity may mask crude sexual desires.”

     

    A man who is overly aroused by pornographic material who utilizes reaction formation may take on an attitude of criticism toward the topic. He may end up sacrificing many of the positive things in his life, including family relationships, by traveling around the country to anti-pornography rallies. This view may become an obsession, whereby the man eventually does nothing but travel from rally to rally speaking out against pornography. He continues to do this, but only feels temporary relief, because the deeply rooted arousal to an unacceptable behaviour such as watching pornography is still present, and underlying the implementation of the defense. At that point he can be said to have developed an obsessional personality above and beyond the defense mechanism.”

     

    “A strongly heterosexual individual who is fearful or hateful toward those who identify themselves as homosexual and bisexual may be seeking to counteract deep-seated and often untouched homosexual desires. A reaction formation is used to exaggerate heterosexual behavior outward, to relieve inward anxiety regarding homosexual desires.”

     

    Hmmmm, that sounds an awful like the behavior of many of our right-wing politicians, doesn’t it??