Norm Hughes

 As the ISIS terrorists in the Middle East engage in their
barbarism – beheadings, burning people alive, enslaving children – I hear
increasingly a response from the far-right who believes that fundamentalist Christianity
should serve as the overarching purveyor of U.S. values and morals at home and across the globe. And that
goal should be accomplished by instilling a Religious Right political
philosophy in government at all levels.

On social media, online posts that view ISIS as the army
of Islam make reckless statements such as: “Time to start a new round of the

How do you justify that attitude when most of
the Muslim Middle East – Shia and Sunni – are horrified by ISIS and eager to
see this band of zealots destroyed?

To be clear, the Religious Right’s beliefs are their own.
They are based on faith, not fact. Embrace them as you wish. But Jews, Muslims,
Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs — all have a god they pray to, and their beliefs don’t
overlap with your Bible Belt version of Christianity.

Who is right and who is wrong? We will never know. But don’t
assume that those who have a different view toward religion are incapable of being
a patriot or someone who admires America or a person who cannot appreciate the freedoms
granted by the U.S. Constitution.

Arrogance is bliss. But we do not live in a Christian
nation. We live in an exceptional place that is far better – a land where all
religions are welcome and the government cannot choose one over any other.


One inspiration for this blog post is a website
run by big-time Bible thumper Cindy Sproles, who endlessly preaches the glory
of her god and Jesus Christ. But she essentially believes that all of
government, from the school boards in the tiniest of districts to the Congress
and presidency that set American society’s rules, must be in synch with her evangelical view
of religion.

If Sproles, an author of several books, wants to speak
out and try to influence her congregation in Tennessee, I’m fine with that. But
she should not try to force her religious views on a sprawling, diverse nation
such as America.

dishes out spiritual enlightenment that fits her niche. But she also weighs in
from a political standpoint. In 2011, Sproles posted a rather lengthy piece on
her website, Inspire a Fire, by a writer identified only as “Ron,” who offered homage
to Hughes some 31 years after his last, failed attempt to win a seat in


to the author, who apparently is a Hughes confidante, the candidate for MIGOP
chair does not consider himself a Republican or a tea party loyalist, but
rather a messenger of his god seeking to impress his religious beliefs on all
within the state GOP.

wrote about Hughes’ reaction as the tea party emerged in 2009-10:

“What Norm saw was a resurgence of his beloved
conservative movement. And Norm saw one more chance to get involved and retake
an America he’d thought forever lost. What he quickly discovered were many
well-intentioned, patriotic Americans determined to change what they saw as a
disastrous course. And not one of them had a clue as how to accomplish that
task. What the tea party needed, Norm realized, were a few old war-horses who’d
gone down this trail, taken their bruises, won a few victories, and then gone
off to pasture. War horses just like him.

“Norm had another concern.
The new ‘conservatives’ had a common disclaimer: We don’t want to push the
social agenda, we’re only concerned with fiscal responsibility. This, of
course, included faith. ‘You can’t have conservatism without faith,’ Norm would
say, ‘a moral grounding is the first point of the entire movement.’ While some
would argue that you can be moralistic without faith, Norm would illustrate how
many public servants who claimed the moral high ground quickly fell away once
immersed in the trappings of Washington. ‘It’s why the Founders, almost to a
man, insisted on men of faith the (sic) lead the country.’”

To this day, the only reader comment
on that October 2011 post by Ron is this:

“Thanks for the story. Norm
is an inspiration to me. As a conservative who shares his values I am seeing
the things he speaks of as I step into the political arena. Norm’s story is a
reminder of what to expect and to never give up. I will be sharing and I hope
others do as well.”

That was written by tea party
bad boy Doug Sedenquist, a former GOP State Committee member, who is serving a
3-year prison sentence on a variety of charges for terrorizing his ex-wife.


last item. In his campaign for party chairman, Hughes has claimed repeatedly that
he was a “senior adviser” to President Reagan, presumably in the White House.
According to Ron’s glowing tribute, here are the jobs that Hughes landed after
faithfully supporting Reagan for president in 1976 and again in 1980:

“In 1982, he was appointed to serve as the assistant to
the assistant secretary for conservation and renewable energy, U.S.
 Department of Energy, and then as senior policy advisor and associate director
designate for emergency operations at FEMA.”