Before last week, when Joe Pitts received an abrupt history lesson about the Middle East, he had maintained a relatively low media profile. Upon examination of his history as a legislator, however, one sees a problem that consists of more than just replying to constituents’ concerns with form letters eight years out of date. Pitts is a core member of The Family, a secretive elite Christian fundamentalist organization that consists of men in power. He has been involved with them since the late 1970s.
With an anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro-free market ideology, The Family operates according to what they call “totalitarianism for Christ”, according to author Jeff Sharlet. This belief is that “the New Testament is primarily about power,” and, for inspiration, they provide “ a list of historical figures [to] look to for modeling power… Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden, and Lenin.” The Family has been connected to such legislation as Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which calls for fines and imprisonment and even the death penalty for acts of ‘aggravated homosexuality’.
The last time that Joe Pitts’ name was in the press this much, his anti-abortion crusade was holding the passage of Obama’s health care plan hostage. The Stupak-Pitts amendment, as it is known, prohibits federal funds from the act from covering abortion or going to any insurance provider that covers abortion. Pitts has been “in the trenches of the abortion wars for thirty years,” and has pushed anti-abortion activism to the center stage of right wing politics, via his connections in The Family.
More recently, Pitts has just voted to block the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which until this year had broad bipartisan support. Instead, the House GOP passed a stripped down version that is being called #fakevawa on Twitter. Considering the war on women the GOP is waging, perhaps it is telling that army veteran Aryanna Strader, Pitts opponent come November, already has experience going to war.
While it is amusing to laugh at Joe Pitts’ appalling understanding of Middle East politics and history, Pitts’ Congressional record, his history with The Family, and his views on women prove that he is a relic of another era, an era in which Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon are alive and well, and still in office.