Georgia's 10th congressional district has for years received lot of attention - much of it unwanted - from its representative, Republican Paul Broun. That's unlikely to change with its soon-to-be GOP congressman, Republican Jody Hice, a Baptist preacher already drawing fire from liberals.
Hice recently won the Republican nomination in the East Georgia district - tantamount to election in deeply conservative terrain. He served as first vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention (2004-05) and professor of preaching at Luther Rice Seminary. Hice has served as senior pastor at The Summit Church, a Southern Baptist church, in Loganville, Georgia since 2011.
In September 2008, Hice was among 33 pastors across America who participated in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday", an effort that challenged an Internal Revenue Service code threatening churches and pastors with loss of tax-exempt status and criminal behavior if they address political issues from the pulpit. To gain national spotlight for himself, Hice claimed that it was actually a First Amendment issue - a clear misreading of the Constitution's free speech guarantee.
In that sermon, Hice endorsed the Republican president nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona. The IRS never publicly responded to the event, and Pulpit Freedom Sunday has since grown to include over 450 churches.
Though Hice was instrumental in raising sufficient funds to cover Barrow County, Georgia's attorney's fees for the Ten Commandments lawsuit, the county was required to pay the $150,000 court ordered fee to the ACLU.
That case led to a nationally-syndicated radio show for Hice, where he espoused a deeply conservative viewpoint. And some of his controversial comments from that time are resurfacing.
Daily Kos contributor Hunter titled a recent piece "Meet Republican Jody Hice, the (likely) new craziest member of Congress." The liberal scribe wrote that Hice:
Argued that Muslims have no protections under the First Amendment, thus demonstrating he never quite figured out what the First Amendment means. He's rabidly anti-gay, comparing same-sex marriage to losing a parent in a car accident. He is both a conservative pastor and a conservative radio talk show host, and if that does not clue you in right there as to the sheer intensity of this fellow's prolonged batshittery than you have not been paying much attention to conservatives of late.
And MSNBC.com recently ran a column listing "The 10 most outrageous Jody Hice quotes". Among the gems:
'Most people think Islam is a religion, it's not. It's a totalitarian way of life with a religious component.' -- From a 2011 Coweta County Tea Party Patriots event.
'If the woman's within the authority of her husband, I don't see a problem.'-- From a 2004 interview with the Athens Banner-Herald.
Super-Conservative Like His Predecessor
Hice will be following the ideology and style of outgoing Rep. Paul Broun, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican Senate nomination for an open seat. The 2014 Almanac of American Politics writes of the short-timer in Congress, a medical doctor:
Republican Paul Broun, who won a 2007 special election, is among a handful of conservatives whose fondness for inflammatory rhetoric has endeared them to the far right while provoking ridicule from the left. Broun has described evolution and the Big Bank theory as 'lies straight from the pit of hell,' the 2009 economic stimulus as 'a steamroll of socialism,' and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi as 'a domestic enemy of the Constitution.'
But both Hice and Broun are good fits from the district, which covers Athens and Milledgeville, among other locales. As the Almanac notes, "The ghosts of the Civil War never left this region. Baldwin County's Milledgeville was the capital of Georgia from 1804 to 1868, and it is where Georgia legislators decided to secede from the Union. Sherman's Army occupied the town and burned the state's penitentiary, and the state capital was eventually moved to Atlanta. In nearby Butts County, Sherman's Army burned the courthouse in the county seat of Jackson."
In 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won 63% of the vote in the district. President Barack Obama captured only 36%.