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Ohio Gov. John Kasich may be more moderate -- or at least more temperate in his rhetoric -- that his fellow Republican presidential aspirants, but his chief spiritual adviser is as antigay as they come, calling LGBT activists "thought nazis" and warning of "the sound of jackboots."
Kasich's spiritual adviser, reports Mother Jones, is Father Kevin J. Maney, the rector at the governor's home church, St. Augustine Anglican Church in Westerville, Ohio. It is affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, a conservative body that broke off from the Episcopal Church after the latter appointed its first openly gay bishop. The breakaway denomination doesn't allow gay or lesbian clergy, as it considers same-sex relationships a sin.
In 2012, Maney defended a study by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus on parenting by gay people, after many social scientists (and even Regnerus himself) found that Regnerus's negative conclusions were based on faulty research.
"The militant homosexualists, as with any militants, are hellbent to stifle any dissenting opinion, even opinion based on legitimate research," Maney wrote on his blog. "These thought nazis will resort to anything and if they are successful, we will pay dearly for it." He urged his readers to "stand up to these bullies before it is too late" as "the very foundation of our nation is at stake."
In 2013, he wrote a blog post quoting Fox News contributor Todd Starnes's assertion that an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in San Antonio would essentially bar Christians from government. Maney commented, "This is what the new fascism looks like, all dressed up under the guise of enlightened tolerance, and its sick influence is growing at an alarming rate. We Christians had better wake up and hear the sound of the jackboots."
In a commentary posted the following year, he took issue with a gay-supportive analysis of Bible passages that are generally used to condemn same-sex relationships. "There is simply no way anyone can spin the goodness of gay marriage (or any other kind of alternative human arrangement) out of these passages if they take the text seriously and submit to its plain meaning," he wrote, further saying "gay marriage" is "an oxymoron." He repeated the "oxymoron" assertion in a 2015 sermon, which is posted online.
Kasich has said that while he is opposed to marriage equality, he accepts June's Supreme Court ruling as the law of the land. In August, during the first Republican debate of this election cycle, he said he had recently attended a friend's same-sex wedding and that "of course" he'd love and accept a child of his who turned out to be gay.
Kasich, whose campaign was buoyed by his second-place finish in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, hasn't addressed the disconnect between Maney's statements and his own, Mother Jones reports. The two men are closely connected, the publication notes; Maney has attended many official state events during Kasich's tenure as governor, and Kasich last year appointed him to an advisory board for the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He also delivered a prayer at Kasich's presidential campaign launch.