After decades of trying to insert his distinctive brand of Christian fundamentalism into mainstream politics, Chuck Baldwin appears to have given up trying to infiltrate Capitol Hill and moved instead into the wilds.
In late 2010, a decade after declaring the Bush-Cheney GOP ticket too liberal, Baldwin and 18 members of his extended family moved to Montana’s Flathead Valley, an area that has seen an explosive increase in antigovernment “Patriot” rhetoric. He left behind a church he had led for 30-plus years to set off on his brave new mission, one he described graphically to those he left behind.
“We are going [to Montana] to fight!” Baldwin wrote in a Sept. 15, 2010, letter announcing his move to the congregants of his Pensacola, Fla., church. “The Mountain States just might become The Alamo of the twenty-first century, with, hopefully much better results. But if not, I would rather die fighting for Freedom with liberty-loving patriots by my side than be shuttled off to some FEMA camp.” Baldwin was referring to a core Patriot belief that the federal government has secretly constructed concentration camps meant for Americans.
Besides leading a new congregation in Kalispell that includes well-known white supremacists Randy Weaver and April Gaede, Baldwin hosts a daily one-hour radio program, “Chuck Baldwin Live.” He also is a prolific writer, penning regular columns that are archived on his website and at VDARE.com, a racist website known for bashing immigrants. He has condemned Islam as a “bloody, murderous religion” and referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as an apostate. He sympathizes with Joseph Stack, the tax protester who flew a plane into an IRS office building in 2010, killing himself and an IRS employee. The South, he insists, “was right.”
Amid all this, Baldwin has remained heavily involved in his quixotic political enterprises. Last year, he made his latest bid on the far-right Constitution Party ticket, this time for lieutenant governor of his new state. But early this year, within months of declaring his candidacy, he announced that he was leaving the race because he had “too much respect for the people of Montana to ask them to support a candidacy that cannot at least be competitive.”
Politics may come and go for Baldwin. But out in Montana, far away from the “Orwellian machine” of the federal government, the rage — and paranoia — just keep on growing.