Anti-LGBT pastor and former NFL player Paul Blair—who once said that Communism, the “radical homosexual agenda,” and the “secularist movement” are all inspired by Satan—is running for state Senate in Oklahoma’s hotly contested District 41.
Blair first ran in 2012, claiming that he was motivated to do so after allegedly receiving death threats for opposing the addition of sexual orientation to an Oklahoma City anti-discrimination ordinance. He lost in the primary that year.
This time around, he’s seeking the same Senate seat and claiming he’ll work to improve education and diversify Oklahoma’s economy. His website also states that he will "always stand on the side of the unborn" and "will always stand for the individual right to religious liberty," and also “fight against federal regulators who want to get in the way of our domestic public policies.”
What his campaign website doesn’t mention is his membership in the John Birch Society (JBS), a far-right conspiracy-mongering organization that has spent decades warning about the dangers of Communism, “big government,” multiculturalism, and secret global plots that will ultimately destroy freedom.
Blair has referenced Communism as a threat, comparing it in a 2011 broadcast from the anti-LGBT hate group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) to biblical evil.
“You look at some of the things going on in America and you would think we’ve moved into the Twilight Zone. But ultimately, all of these forces—the force of Communism, the force of the radical homosexual agenda, the secularist movement in America—they all have the same source, the same ultimate conspirator, and that is Satan.”
It’s not that big a secret that Blair supports the JBS. While at The Awakening in March, a gathering sponsored by the anti-LGBT hate group Liberty Counsel, Blair handed out reprints of a 2015 interview he did with the New American magazine, JBS' primary publication.
In that interview, Blair lambasted the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize marriage equality nationwide and said that states should be encouraged to ignore federal court decisions “that are outside the proper rule of law as defined in the Constitution.” Furthermore, Blair said, “God grants rights, not government,” and said of homosexuality that, “it is by definition an abnormal and perverse behavior.”
Blair was also interviewed in the New American in 2009—his JBS membership came up then, too—and claimed that American students have been “taught wrong” for years, and that “our schools teach atheism and call it science” and “Christian heritage” is being erased from history.
“We have abandoned human government to the devil,” he said. “And now the devil is using human government to attack the home and the church through ungodly legislation like legalizing homosexual marriage and hate crimes.”
Blair claimed at The Awakening that a group he founded, Reclaiming America for Christ (formerly Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ), has 980 pastors and 20,000 supporters and is working with lawmakers to promote a nullification strategy. He said that people supporting state-led resistance are working through different channels in Kentucky, Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee.
Blair has vowed to “nullify” marriage equality in Oklahoma through Reclaiming America for Christ. Nullification is the belief that states have the right to disregard and disobey any federal law based on a spurious interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states and people any power not explicitly given to the federal government.
Blair has also run into trouble over accusations that his group, originally known as Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, endorsed political candidates in violation of federal restrictions on churches engaging in political endorsements.
In 2008, Blair stated in a sermon that he was voting for John McCain at a “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” an event started by the right-wing anti-LGBT legal group Alliance Defending Freedom to purposely defy federal restrictions on religious groups and churches offering political endorsements. In 2010, Blair appeared at a rally in support of virulently anti-LGBT legislator Sally Kern (who left the legislature earlier this year), which drew a complaint to the IRS from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
The website for Blair’s Reclaiming America for Christ includes the JBS’s video “Overview of America” as part of its “Worldview Training,” though the site doesn’t specifically say it’s a JBS product. The site also links to The New American in its “News” section of the sidebar. It touts “Patriot pastors” and, under its “homosexuality” sidebar topic, links to First Stone Ministries, which supports harmful “ex-gay” therapy (the false belief that people can turn from gay to straight) and also AFTAH, whose director, Peter LaBarbera, has defended the criminalization of homosexuality and linked it to pedophilia.
The anti-Muslim hate groups ACT! for America, Center for Security Policy, Christian Action Network, and The United West are listed among the organizations linked to under “Islam” while under “Activism,” several hate groups are linked to, including the anti-LGBT Faith2Action, Liberty Counsel, and Family Research Council as well as ACT! for America.
Blair has picked up endorsements from U.S. congressmen Steve Russell (R-OK) and Jim Bridenstine (R-OK); retired lieutenant general Jerry Boykin, the anti-Islam executive vice president of the Family Research Council; and Gun Owners of America, headed by Larry Pratt, a Christian Reconstructionist who advocated for armed citizen militias in the U.S. to model themselves on Central American death squads, known for torturing and killing civilians.
Blair is currently facing a primary runoff election August 23rd, against fellow Republican Adam Pugh, an Air Force veteran. The winner will face Democratic challenger Kevin McDonald in November.