Mr. GOHMERT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
With the news yesterday of the terrible explosion in West, Texas, our thoughts, hearts, prayers go out to those people so terribly harmed and adversely affected and to the loss of lives, just as we continue to remember those who have lost family, friends, loved ones, limbs in Boston.
West, Texas, is often known for their West Fest in the fall of the year. They always advertise as having the best kolaches anywhere in the world. It's just a beautiful little town, a wonderful little town, but it is rocked and needs our prayers. That is, in fact, what the mayor of West, Tommy Muska, said:
We need your prayers. There's a lot of people that got hurt. There's a lot of people, I'm sure, who will not be here tomorrow.
They're still trying to dig out from under that devastating explosion that occurred there at the fertilizer plant, so we will continue to remember those people.
It is also interesting and worthy of note that, in the news, we now find that we have confessions in the murders of the Assistant District Attorney in the neighboring county of where I live, over in Kaufman. The Assistant District Attorney, Mark Hasse, and the District Attorney, Mike McLelland, and his wife were killed back on March 30 of this year--the DA was. Mark was killed back on January 31.
That was so tragic, and any of us who have ever been prosecutors or judges as I have--and my friend Ted Poe has been a judge--you suffer the death threats and the slings and arrows that come at you; and I think, in a way, it was preparation for slings and arrows verbally that would come in Congress. These were real bullets that were used to kill a prosecutor, an Assistant DA and a District Attorney, and anytime law enforcement is threatened in such a way, it's a threat to the rule of law; it's a threat to the country.
Sadly, after those two heinous murders in Kaufman, the Southern Poverty Law Center came out--for which this administration has helped achieve a very special place, unfortunately, of credibility when they do not deserve credibility because of the pain and suffering that the institution has caused--and there were articles written. Here is one from ABC with the headline "Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Among Groups Eyed in Prosecutors' Murders.''
The article from April 2 says:
The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, a white supremacist prison gang, has become one of the top focuses of authorities investigating the murders of two Texas prosecutors, sources told ABC News.
Prosecutors from Kaufman County, Texas, had helped imprison dozens of Aryan Brotherhood of Texas members late last year, the sources said.
In recent weeks, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his top assistant, Mark Hasse, were murdered in shootings that have left investigators hunting for clues.
Cops are poring over hundreds of old cases that Hasse and McLelland prosecuted and following clues that involve not just the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, but Mexican drug cartels, local drug traffickers and other violent individuals; but they are aggressively pursuing a possible Aryan Brotherhood link, sources said.
It was nice of ABC to give so much weight and credibility to their sources that obviously did not have any clue whatsoever of what they were talking about because, just as was reported by people back at the time, they were concerned about the former justice of the peace's possible involvement.
In the same way, the Southern Poverty Law Center began its bigoted approach toward a group like Family Research Council and all those who happen to hold religious beliefs affirmed in the Bible, constantly referred to in this Chamber and in the Chamber down the Hall, where nondenominational Christian worship services were held through most of the 1800s and where President Thomas Jefferson--who coined the phrase ``separation of church and State'' and said there should be a wall of separation--felt there was no problem with having a nondenominational Christian worship service in the United States Capitol and, in fact, at times, had the marine band come to play the hymns.
I have a bill that would require a plaque be put down the Hall so people would know. We're not advocating to have church services every Sunday down there--it's completely unnecessary--but it is important for people to not have this view that is completely inappropriate by people who would attempt to rewrite history.
The Family Research Council, as do so many other Christian groups, holds to the religious belief about marriage as was recognized by Jesus at his first recorded miracle at a wedding between a man and a woman, as is recorded in the Old Testament, in Genesis: that God saw man alone and felt it would be better for him to have a helpmate and then created woman.
Regardless of how anyone believes everyone got here, I love the way the late Bob Murphey from Nacogdoches used to explain in his country way--though he was a brilliant intellect, he explained things in a countrified fashion--"I feel sorry for atheists. I really do. They have to believe that nobody, plus nothing, equals everything.''
Well, the people that met through most of the 1800s down the Hall, most of them hoped for the day when slavery would be gone. Many of them attended church services down the Hall, including John Quincy Adams, spent their lives fighting to end slavery in America, pushing for that day as William Wilberforce did in England; and yet because the Family Research Council held the beliefs about marriage being between a man and a woman, that most people have in recorded history, and has, although there are some people who interpret the Bible differently, if you look at the real interpretation, there is no mistake, what it says and what it means, but because people hold the values that the Pilgrims depicted down in the rotunda, having a prayer meeting with an open Bible believed, as the Family Research Council held the same views about marriage that George Washington did, who's considered the father of the country, because the Family Research Council held the same views about marriage that DeSoto, who is pictured down the Hall in the rotunda, finding the Mississippi River and being so overwhelmed that there was this incredible amount of freshwater this far inland, they commemorated the spot, as depicted in that massive mural, by digging a hole and planting a cross there to commemorate the spot.
Since the Family Research Council believed that marriage was the same thing as Pocahontas and those present for her baptism depicted down the Hall in the rotunda believed, because the Family Research Council believed that marriage, as all 56 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence depicted in the rotunda, because the Family Research Council had the same religious convictions about marriage of all of those people depicted down the Hall, as I've mentioned, the Southern Poverty Law Center claimed that Family Research Council was a hate group and stirred up animosity against them that eventually played a role.
As we found out later, no one wanted to jump to conclusions, but it was very clear that their branding the Family Research Council and Chick-fil-A as being hateful simply because they held religious beliefs protected by our Constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman, the Southern Poverty Law Center stirred up hate, animosity, and rage against the Family Research Council. And on the fateful day not so long ago, a gunman came to the Family Research Council with a bunch of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a gun. And but for the valiant work of the man that stopped him and got shot in the process, there could well have been 15 dead Family Research Council employees with 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches beside them.
There is an article here written by Bryan Preston on April 15, 2013. It says:
News broke Friday afternoon that an arrest has been made in the murders of three people. Those murders, of Kaufman County DA Mike McLelland; his wife, Cynthia; and prosecutor Mark Hasse, triggered national coverage. As R.S. McCain notes, MSNBC's Chris Matthews ran an 8-minute segment on the killings on April 3, detailing the widespread belief that Aryan Brotherhood white supremacist/thug groups were behind the killings.
Now I live in east Texas, and the widespread beliefs in east Texas were not that the Aryan Brotherhood had been involved in this. Usually, they take actions crazy enough to indicate they're not trying to hide from anything they did. It just didn't sound like those people. Yet that's what some were stirring up, the sources at NBC.
The article goes on:
But if the reports out of Kaufman County are correct, the Aryan Brotherhood isn't behind the crimes. Former Kaufman Justice of the Peace Eric Williams is.
And we know now, a couple of days later, his wife has also confessed to being part of it. So it was the JP and his wife.
But this article says:
CBS reports that Williams was arrested Friday and charged with making "terroristic threats,'' which includes threatening county employees and issuing demands that had to be met at a ``certain time on a certain date.'' A storage shed was searched, weapons were found, and they're being tested for ballistics. Capital murder charges may come in a day or two.
According to the report, Williams had a history with both McLelland and Hasse. The two had prosecuted and secured a conviction against him in 2012 for burglary and theft by a public servant. Surveillance cameras caught Williams taking computer equipment from a county building. As part of his appeal, Williams claimed that McLelland and Hasse did not like him. As the case unfolds, it is starting to look like a local vendetta, not part of a national anything by a political-crime syndicate like the Aryan Brotherhood.
Where did MSNBC and other national media quickly get the idea that the Aryan Brotherhood was involved? Possibly from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which on January 31--a day after Hasse's murder--posted a lengthy piece by Mark Potok bringing up the AB link. Potok also showed up on MSNBC April 1, the day after the McLellands' murders, to once again point the finger at the Aryan Brotherhood.
Other press followed up, as Stacy McCain notes, flowing from that January 31 article posted by the Southern Poverty Law Center. But if Williams is the killer, then it looks like the SPLC got the whole story wrong. Meanwhile, on the ground in Kaufman County, suspicion was already falling on Williams much earlier, according to Stacy McCain.
The pieces might have fallen into place earlier--Mark Hasse's murder might have been solved, and Williams arrested before McLelland was killed--if law enforcement hadn't wasted time chasing the ``white supremacist'' wild goose, when the DA himself tried to tell them who murdered Mark Hasse.
Country Judge Bruce Wood said Sunday that McLelland repeatedly told him that McLelland believed Williams was behind Hasse's slaying. The first time was in the emergency room in the hours after Hasse was shot down by a mysterious gunman dressed in black.
He was distraught, Wood said. He very pointedly said to me, I know who did this. I said, Well, who, Mike? He said, Well, Eric Williams.
McLelland, who worked for years as a diagnostic psychologist described Williams as a ``narcissistic psychopath'' during that conversation and others. Woods said McLelland never elaborated on why he thought Williams was involved.
On March 27, Woods said he met with McLelland in the county judge's office. I said, Are you still convinced that it's Eric Williams? Woods recalled he said, Absolutely.
The SPLC and its "hate watch'' and "hate map'' fuel media and left wing speculation while helping the center generate donations, and the latter even inspired an attempt at a mass killing at the headquarters of the Family Research Council last year. This time, the SPLC might have misdirected law enforcement long enough for a man to commit murder. One Federal prosecutor quit a case on April 3, citing the danger of dealing with the Aryan Brotherhood after those original three murders.
It is clear that there is hate in the heart of the Southern Poverty Law Center individuals who would stir up such hatred toward whites or toward a fantastic Christian group like the Family Research Council, and like other Christian groups of all types of races, against my black friends here in Washington who simply believe what they read in the Bible about marriage. And because they believe what they read in the Bible about marriage, you have a group in this country that is so full of hate that they can't stand the thought of someone having religious beliefs different from theirs, so they stir up hatred and animosity.
I was totally against the hate crimes bill. And yet this is a group that wanted a hate crimes bill, yet they're stirring up hate. As a Christian, it is my prayer that those in the Southern Poverty Law Center that are so filled with jealousy and hate and animosity will come to know the peace that passes all understanding that will allow this Nation to heal so many wounds that will only fester with a group like that stirring up hatred. We will continue to hope and pray for such peace and the complete diminishment and dissolution of hatred of such a vile nature within the hearts of those people there, so they could come to the point of being able to hold hands and sing songs and hymns together as so many did around this country on 9/12 of 2001, as I've done with others, different races, creeds, right here in Washington, D.C., because we share a love for our Nation and a love for God. And when we do that, there's no hyphenated American.
That was the one thing, with all the heartache, the anguish on 9/12 of 2001, that was so amazing. We were Americans. We were not hyphenated anything. We were Americans. We were one people. Out of many, we came together as one.
And it continues to be my hope and prayer that groups that stir up hate like the Southern Poverty Law Center and brand others as hate in an attempt to disguise their own will come to know peace and will come to know love and will take the example of the man whose bust is down in the rotunda as well, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who advocated to the very end peace and the love that Jesus showed to all of us. May the Southern Poverty Law Center find such love and such grace.
We also had a story here, April 17, by Helle Dale, Congressional Hearing Produces Shocker on Benghazi:
Kudos to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for squarely placing Benghazi on the table at today's hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry's answers were nothing less than shocking.
What we learned is that State is conducting yet another internal review of Benghazi, initiated by Kerry himself immediately after taking office and allegedly due soon. This amounts to a huge indictment of the credibility of Kerry's predecessor Hillary Clinton and of the investigation by the State Department's Accountability Review Board. Clearly, even John Kerry is not confident in the Obama administration's version of events.
Kerry promised the committee that he would "clear the air,'' though he also repeatedly used the phrase that clearing the air needs to be done "so we can move on'' to far more important issues.
I am so grateful to Secretary Kerry for taking that position. We do need to get to the truth. The dead at Benghazi, the dead Americans, cry out for truth. Those who were harmed and hurt, Americans there, deserve the truth. Hopefully we will get that.
Mr. Speaker, with so much suffering and anguish right now in America, it is still the greatest nation in the history of the world. May God guide the leadership in this country that we don't drop the ball and fail on our watch, that we show ourselves to be worthy recipients of the gifts of liberty given to us by prior generations, all coming, as the Founders noted, as a gift from God.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.