By Bob Allen
Liberal pundits said it wouldn’t be easy to find a replacement as outspoken as former Tea Party Congressman Paul Broun — who onced termed evolution a lie “straight from the pit of hell” — but voters in the 10th U.S. congressional district of Georgia may have found their man.
Republican Jody Hice, a Baptist minister and radio talk show host, defeated Democratic lawyer Ken Dious in a race for a seat vacated by Broun, who lost in a five-way GOP primary for U.S. Senate in May. Broun, a medical doctor and member of Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., endorsed Hice, a pastor for 25 years and founder of The Culture and Values Network, as his successor.
Hice, 54, is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a doctorate from Luther Rice Seminary. He served as senior pastor of Bethlehem First Baptist Church in Bethlehem, Ga., from 1998 until April 2010. More recently he was senior interim pastor at The Summit Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Loganville, Ga.
Hice served as first vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention in 2004-2005. He entered the public arena in 2003 in a dispute over displaying the Ten Commandments at the courthouse in Barrow County, Ga. Hice founded Ten Commandments Georgia, which in 2012 celebrated a bill signed into law allowing the posting of the Ten Commandments as a historical document in public buildings.
In 2008 Hice endorsed presidential candidate John McCain from the pulpit as part an organized protest of an IRS rule that forbids tax-exempt charities from engaging in partisan politics. Today Hice is a leader in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, an annual event sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Hice has been monitored by Right Wing Watch, a project of People For the American Way, since his 2012 book It’s Now or Never: A Call to Reclaim America. In it, according to a review by Mother Jones, Hice asserted that supporters of abortion rights are worse than Hitler, compared gay relationships to bestiality and incest and proposed that Muslims be stripped of their First Amendment rights.
In 2004 Hice commented for a story in the Athens Banner-Herald about women in politics saying, ‘“If the woman‘s within the authority of her husband, I don‘t see a problem” with her running for office.
Excerpts from his syndicated radio program The Jody Hice Show include a lament in August 2013 that “you can’t even speak against a person who is a cross-dresser or a man who wants to believe himself to be a woman” without being convicted of a “hate crime.”
After the Sandy Hook massacre, Hice blamed mass shootings on America’s “kicking God out of the public square.”
After Hice won the Republican primary in July, he was described by pundits as the next Todd Akin, a former Missouri Congressman who lost a bid for Senate in 2012 after a gaffe in which he said women who are victims of “legitimate rape” seldom get pregnant.
“The people of the 10th District have told me they are troubled about the future and direction of our nation,” Hice said in a statement following his election. “I am honored to be the voice of their concerns in Washington, and as their congressman I will immediately focus on the issues that are important to them.”