Republican presidential contenders Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee attended the “National Religious Liberties Conference” in South Carolina over the weekend, an event hosted by Kevin Swanson, a well-known right-wing pastor who has promotes the death penalty for LGBT people.
Candidates engaged in a question and answer session with Swanson who during a speech declared he would smear cow dung over his body to protest a gay couple’s wedding and urged the government to execute gays who do not repent.
Other speakers at the conference also called for the death penalty for ‘homosexual behavior.’ Literature advocating a strategic plan for rounding up, stoning and throwing LGBT people off cliffs or executing them was distributed.
Swanson on LGBT people (according to Right Wing Watch):
- Boycotts Girl Scout cookies because they “promote lesbianism” and “I don’t want my little girl turning into a lesbian.”
- Discussed whether the Rose Bowl should include a float where a gay person is stoned to death.
- Lamented that country singer Kacey Musgraves wasn’t lynched for her “promotion of homosexuality” through song.
- Urged people to hold up signs telling gay couples to die on their wedding day.
- Defended a Ugandan measure to make homosexuality a criminal offense punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty, saying he was glad the country was “standing strong” by adopting extreme anti-gay laws.
- Stated that gay marriage is akin to the Sandy Hook school massacre.
- Wants America to have anti-gay laws “much like what the Pilgrims had” (the Pilgrims believed that homosexuality should be punishable by death, banishment and whippings) and enforce biblical law “that says that homosexuals should be put to death.”
- Claims that “a Christian (government) perspective ultimately (would bring) the death penalty upon homosexuality.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported on the rally. “It really was a ‘kill-the-gays’ call to arms,” Maddow said. “This was a conference about the necessity of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality.”
The candidates will participate in a Fox Business debate tonight and many are calling on moderators to press them on their views.
“I don’t know if that (attending a “kill the gays” rally) is considered to be a scandal anymore in Republican politics,” Maddow said.