While a guest on Janet Parshall's syndicated radio show, Thomas E. Woods Jr. -- a founding member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate group" -- misleadingly cited Thomas Jefferson's advocacy of castrating men caught engaging in "acts against nature." He also endorsed an online college espousing the views of the right-wing John Birch Society as an appropriate educational tool for those who want to avoid schools that are "brainwashing" children.
On the July 3 edition of Salem Radio Network's Janet Parshall's America, Parshall hosted Thomas E. Woods Jr., author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Regnery, 2004) and a founding member of the League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has classified as a "hate group." During the broadcast Woods misleadingly cited Thomas Jefferson's advocacy of castrating men caught engaging in "acts against nature" during a discussion in which Parshall and Woods argued against allowing gays in the military. Woods also endorsed an online college espousing the views of the right-wing John Birch Society as an appropriate educational tool for those who want to avoid schools that are "brainwashing" children.
The League of the South is a secessionist, neo-Confederate organization with approximately 9,000 members. The SPLC described the LOS as "rife with white supremacists and racist ideology." Michael Hill, who founded the LOS alongside Woods in 1988, wrote to members of his organization in 1998: "The day of Southern guilt is over -- THE SOUTH WAS RIGHT -- and let us not forget that salient fact. NO APOLOGIES FOR SLAVERY should be made. In both the Old and New Testaments slavery is sanctioned and regulated according to God's word. Thus, when practiced in accord with Holy Scripture, it is NOT A SIN. Our ancestors were not evil men because they held slaves. This issue is our Achilles Heel, and the only way to deal with it is to confront our accusers boldly and without guilt. After all, what we are really upholding is GOD'S WORD. Let us fear Him, and we'll fear no man."
During the broadcast, Parshall launched into a discussion on gays in the military. Answering a caller's question about the Founding Fathers' views of homosexuality, Parshall said:
PARSHALL: Well, and let's go back to some of the other issues. We do know, as a matter of fact, that in the days of the colonists, that if one was found to be a homosexual in the military they were to use the phrase, drummed out. And that's where that phrase comes from. So not only would they not have felt that that was an issue, they thought that it was so abhorrent, that you were removed from the military if you were found to be in that activity.
WOODS: That's right. Well, I mean, in fact, Jefferson was considered a liberal because he -- because he believed that the crime for, shall we say, acts against nature, should simply be -- well, I don't want to use the word. But instead of execution, he believed that there was a lesser, a lesser punishment that could be carried out against men who engaged in that type of behavior. So I mean, these are not liberals, you know, by any sense of the imagination on issues like this at all.
PARSHALL: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Woods misleadingly dismissed the idea that by proposing that sodomy be punishable by castration rather than death, Jefferson had proposed legislation that in fact was liberal for its time. His bill has been cited as evidence of the Founding Fathers' opposition to homosexuality by numerous Christian-right groups and figures -- including anti-gay "researcher" Paul Cameron; David Barton, former Texas Republican Party vice chairman and founder of the group WallBuilders; and the group Citizen Soldier -- without noting that Jefferson actually advocated liberalizing sodomy laws, not making them stricter.
Later during Parshall's broadcast, Woods responded to a caller's comment about "brainwashing" in schools by recommending Robert Welch University, an online college named after the founder of the John Birch Society and dedicated to, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "infus[ing] into the mainstream the ideals of Robert Welch and the John Birch Society":
CALLER: I am worried about the brainwashing of our children in the public schools. It started in the colleges, and now it's working its way down into elementary, for Pete's sake --
PARSHALL: Sure is.
CALLER: Our child comes to us and he's saying his teacher says this is a fact, and he refers to a textbook. How can we counter that?
PARSHALL: Yeah, good question. Tom?
WOODS: Yeah that's true. I mean, in effect, you need to deal with this one -- one case, you know, case by case. But it's -- it's, you know, it's it's times like this that it's just -- I'm just reminded of how important the homeschooling movement is.
PARSHALL: It is.
WOODS: Yeah, but the thing is that I understand that, you know, it's easy for me to say that, but it's very hard for a lot of working families to engage in homeschooling. You know, I mean, it's easy for us to say, "Oh, just homeschool your children." It's hard for working families to do.
PARSHALL: Right, right.
WOODS: So, you know, what, what are they going to do instead? Well, at least -- you know, at least what you can do is have other sources in your home.
WOODS: And, you can -- you can you know, in effect tell your children that -- you know, you don't want to scare them, but you have to, they have to at some point realize that we are in a, in effect a kind of a cultural war. I mean, there's no getting around that.
WOODS: And that textbook authors are in on this. And in cases like this also, the Internet is, little by little, going to help get over the heads of -- go right over the heads of professional educators as we know them today because, for example, a place called Robert Welch University.org is putting together a whole new online college, that all of whose courses will be traditional American Constitutionalist type courses.
WOODS: And this way you can just -- you can just ignore all this other stuff.
The John Birch Society is a right-wing organization founded in 1958 that is noted for its regular promotion of conspiracies. Welch once circulated a letter alleging that former President Dwight Eisenhower was "a conscious, dedicated agent of the Communist Conspiracy." His 1956 book, The Politician, was even more strident. In it, he charged that Eisenhower's brother, Milton, was a secret communist agent who controlled President Eisenhower, former president Harry Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and former CIA director Allan Dulles. William Buckley Jr. called Welch's charges "paranoid and idiotic libels."
The latest issue of the John Birch Society's magazine, The New American, alleges that the immigrant rights movement is a Trojan Horse for "hardcore Marxists," that an immigration bill passed by the Senate earlier this year would cause "more than 200 million immigrants in the next 20 years" to flood the U.S. -- a number that exceeds even a claim made in a Heritage Foundation study, the methodology and results of which have been questioned, as Media Matters for America has noted -- and that the U.S. and Mexican governments are conspiring to eliminate the border-watch group the Minuteman Project.
Woods's The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History offers a conservative take on history that even some conservatives have criticized. Los Angeles Times columnist and Weekly Standard contributing editor Max Boot called the book an "absurd manifesto" that describes "a Bizarro world where every state has the right to disregard any piece of federal legislation it doesn't like or even to secede."