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Kevin Cramer's Right-Wing Fringe, and Religious Ethics PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   
Friday, 28 December 2012 15:03

CramerI hope it's been a little obvious that I'm taking a bit of a break from blogging this month.  I have been posting a few things now and then on the NorthDecoder Facebook page (because it's easy), but not much there either. I needed a break.

But some things just can't be ignored. Not even things a guy like Kevin Cramer tries to hide from the public by releasing in a press release during the week between Christmas and New Years. Cramer announced a number of staff hires late yesterday. They're worthy of a review.  So here goes.  First, the list of hires, with some general comments:

Washington D.C. staff:

Kim Badenhop - Chief of Staff -- worked on staff for the master of self-filibustering, Mitch McConnell, and George W. Bush; also makes pillows

Mark Gruman - Legislative Director and Counsel -- former PSC attorney

Chris Marohl - Legislative Assistant -- PSC partisan hack; Paul Ryan fan

Nicole Bredahl - Scheduler -- law student turned legislative scheduler

Tommy McKone - Communications Director  -- Former staffer for Arizona Tea Party Congressman Ben Quayle

Matt Becker - Legislative Correspondent -- former NDGOP Communications Director

Alex McIntyre - Staff Assistant -- former staffer for Tea Party Congressman Rick Berg.

North Dakota staff:

Lisa Gibbens - State Director (Fargo) -- former Rollette County States Attorney, Rolla, ND

Randy Richards - District Representative (Grand Forks) -- ND Tea Party organizer

Kate Bommarito - Constituent Service Representative (Bismarck) -- former "reporter" for a North Dakota right-wing news rag

Larry Jahnke - Deputy State Director (Bismarck) -- The pastor at Kevin Cramer's church

Daryl Lies - District Representative (minot) -- "Daryl's Racing Pigs."  Former Republican legislator.

I could make snarky comments about some of these painfully partisan hires and the lack of apparent qualifications for the jobs of some of these folks, but I really just want to focus on one of these hires. I want to talk about Cramer's hire of Larry Jahnke as his "Deputy State Director."  

I'm wondering how that played out. Did Jahnke -- Cramer's pastor at the "New Song" church -- apply for the job?  Or did Cramer approach him and ask if he was interested?  I'm serious about this, too.  Because both of those seem kind of sketchy to me.  Think about this.

Say you're the pastor at a newly-elected congressman's church. You go to him and apply for a job as Deputy State Director (or any position, really).  How is your parishioner going to respond?!?  "No, sorry, Pastor Larry, but you aren't qualified for the job you're seeking. See you in church next Sunday!"  If it happened this way, is it completely unfair to question Pastor Larry's ethics?

Or let's look at it the other way; what if Cramer approached his pastor and asked him to leave the church to come to work for the federal government: What skills do you think parishioner Cramer saw in his pastor that led him to believe Jahnke would be the right person to hire as his Deputy State Director in his Bismarck office?  Was it something Cramer saw in marriage counselling by Pastor Jahnke?  Was it his well structured sermons? Did he feel pressured to offer the job?

And what about the separation between Church and State?  After all of the Cramers of the world get done hiring their pastors away from their churches to serve in government positions, won't the establishment clause be just a relic we all ignore? More.

Maybe Jahnke had a long and distinguished career helping constituents weave their way through bureaucratic red tape before entering the seminary. But maybe he didn't.  Maybe he just got the job because he goes to movies with Cramer, and laughs. I'm kind a curious.  

Anybody know?

Comments (10)add comment

Suzanne said:

Church and State
I posted the article on my Facebook page the day it came out, with the following:
"Larry Jahnke of Bismarck will serve as Cramer’s deputy state director. Jahnke is the founding pastor of New Song Community Church in Bismarck," which is a part of the International Church of the Foursquare, an Evangelical Pentecostal denomination. They hold to be "Biblical Truths" belief in the need to "born again," that "born-again believers will be sent to a place of everlasting life, and nonbelievers will be sent to a place of everlasting punishment," and that "civil government is established by divine appointment."
On being gay? "Homosexuality is considered an abomination that excludes someone from the Kingdom of God. Homosexuality is a personal choice. Church members are to encourage homosexuals to cease those practices. Marriage is only between a man and a woman."
On evangelism and proselytizing? "We believe that evangelizing and making disciples is the primary 'business' of the church; every hindrance to worldwide evangelism should be removed."
Regarding The Rapture? "We believe that the second coming of Christ is personal and imminent; we are as certain that His second coming will occur as we are that His first coming is a historical fact. No one knows the exact time of His coming, but believers will continue to spread the gospel around the world until He does come again. At that time the Lord Himself will descend from heaven, the dead Christians will be resurrected, and believers will be taken up to meet the Lord in the air."
Just to be clear, the quotes are from the church's website, not from Mr. Jahnke personally. However, I agree with you, that this appointment is clearly a violation of the separation of Church and State. And, a small "foretaste" of bigger "things to come."

December 28, 2012
Votes: -2

Sundown said:

Kate Bommarito looks to be just as bad
Rewinding back a few months, Kate Bommarito was the Cramer campaign staff who retweeted a racist tweet against President Obama (http://www.northdecoder.com/La...acist.html), hid her account, and yet remained on the campaign staff. What's more, back in 2008, she used a 3 month old child as a prop(http://bit.ly/Rm3c6Y) to insult then-Senator Obama.

Now she is... the Constituent Service Representative? Things for constituents aren't going to look good.
December 28, 2012
Votes: +4

What the Heck said:

Huckabee wannabe
If religion is your calling then by all means, follow your calling. Stop confusing politics with religion.
December 28, 2012
Votes: +0

nimrodent said:

You have to kind of wonder about someone who finds the Lutherans too radical. It's good he found a church with a god that agrees with his politics.
December 28, 2012
Votes: +0

big jake said:

No surprises here. What would anyone expect. As to the Pastor, we know nothing about his experience or background. While we are all entitled to our beliefs, the ones allegedly connected with this church and Cramer have always given me pause. Not that my beliefs are different,and the certainly are, it is the fundamental belief that we should all believe as they do. From my perspective, this is a wholly un-Christian belief and it is commonplace today.
Cramer was one of Dick Armey's main toadys. Check out the latest on Armey and his armed attempted take-over of the Tea Party. Apparently, the tea baggers have back slid and have failed to meet Armey's litmus test. I doubt if Cramer is at risk for not being convervative enough although he has been in hiding since the election. Maybe we have some surprises in store for us and with the staff selection, I would bet that we ain't seen nothing yet. If so, it is our task to expose him and his potential policies as not only not in our best interests here in ND but is patently un-American. Time will tell.
December 28, 2012
Votes: +1

what? said:

I am really trying to get my head around the reasons for your concerns. Do you think that a pastor at New Song is akin to a priest? Like most congregational based Protestant sects I am pretty sure that a pastor is not seen as any different than any other profession. It would be no different than Cramer hiring his accountant or dentist. How would it be any more unethical for a pastor to ask for a job than an accountant, chiropractor, or lawyer? Are you assuming that the pastor has some kind of power over a member of a church? It maybe, just maybe, be an issue in a Catholic or Orthodox church, but it certainly would not be the case in most Protestant churches.

And how in the world is it somehow a violation of the separation of church and state to hire someone with training? Kent Conrad had Lynn Clancy, a Catholic deacon, on his staff for years. Karl Limvere, a United Church of Christ minister, also worked for Conrad. If it is wrong to hire pastors, it would also be wrong to elect them. Long-time state senator Marv Mutzenberger would be out. So would state senator Jim Pomeroy. While we are at it, why didn't you say something about the candidacy of Tom Potter for Insurance Commissioner?
December 28, 2012
Votes: -1

Right Wing Christian said:

What if Pastor Jahnke had retired from his church before Cramer hired him. Oh yeah, he did. Just because you hate God doesn't mean people who worship him shouldn't be entitled to serve in public office. I don't remember Cramer ever suggesgting atheists don't belong in public office or as government servants. It actually seems quite appropriate that a retired pastor would want to serve the people of ND in a new way. I understand Jahnke has a master degree in hostpital administration. What if he knows too much about healthcare? Yikes.
December 29, 2012
Votes: -4

big jake said:

I will cut Cramer a little slack. Let him get his feet on the Washington ground. Keep a watchful eye. If he or his staff begin what I suspect, a more vigorous action that we used with Berg is in order. Call them out. Expose the agenda. Show the contrast between the elites and wannabes and the true believers and the rest of the country. If we don't present a case, one can hardly expect any measure of victory.
December 30, 2012
Votes: +2

big jake said:

We now have in front of us the very reason that the faux Christians are a threat to liberty.
Right Wing Christian clearly states why these folks are not Christian. He simply, like his ilk, made up whatever suits his beliefs.
You fool, just because someone does not believe what you claim to, that does not mean he or she "hates God". You just can't make up stuff. By definition, that is lying. You, then, are a liar. In my beliefs and understanding, all religions condemn lying as does the entire Christian body of the various sects of Christians with a host of beliefs, some in contradiction to other Christian beliefs. In our country, we protect and honor your ability to hold your own beliefs. It is a basic principle of our American system. Those like you are the real threat to those freedoms. Shame on you. You should consider what Jesus would say about this. Go stand in the corner and then write on the blackboard 100 times, " I will stop lying".
I feel better now.
December 30, 2012
Votes: +3

nimrod said:

Fasten your seat belts, kids, it's going be an interesting two years. Just remember, if you criticize Cramer, you are beyond the pale.
December 31, 2012
Votes: +0

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