There’s a good chance that you have not heard of Mimi Walters. But if you follow politics there’s a good chance you soon will hear a lot about her, although probably not much about her ties to Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson Jr., who you probably haven’t heard of either.
Walters is the recently announced Republican candidate for California’s 45th congressional district, which lies to the southeast of Los Angeles and covers all or parts of Irvine, Mission Viejo, and Anaheim. As a member of the California state senate she has established a voting record that would fit right in with the positions of many current Republican U.S. representatives. According to Project Vote Smart she has voted
- against a bill that would expand anti-discrimination laws (bill passed)
- against a bill to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages (bill passed)
- against a bill to prohibit sexual orientation conversion therapy (bill passed)
- against a bill to require health insurers to provide maternity coverage (bill passed)
- against a bill that requires the state of California to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (bill passed)
- against a bill providing for enforcement measures against cyber bullying (bill passed)
- against a bill providing for increased eligibility for student financial aid (bill passed)
- against a bill requiring free drinking water in public school cafeterias (bill passed)
You can see from her record that Mrs. Walters should be very comfortable among House Republicans in Washington.
Mimi Walters’ major benefactor, Howard Ahmanson, has provided her with $22,500 in campaign contributions through the years, via his Fieldstead and Co. group, a private company which, according to Think Progress, Ahmanson uses to donate money to candidates without having to disclose it publicly. According to Follow the Money, Walters has been the second largest recipient of money from Fieldstead and Co. over the past seven years.
What distinguishes Mr. Ahmanson from the herd of other well-heeled backers of right-wing causes and politicians? It may be the fact that Ahmanson believes that the United States should be run by Biblical law. Ahmanson once told the Orange County Register, “My purpose is total integration of biblical law into our lives.”
Ahmanson, who is heir to a large banking fortune, has donated millions to groups advocating a “Christian worldview.” One such group is the Discovery Institute, where he also serves as a director. The Discovery Institute is a major advocate for teaching creationism. He also has ties to groups such as Care Net, which was found to be providing women with false and misleading information about abortion. He was the second largest donor to the effort to pass Proposition 90, which would have mandated that government pay property owners if zoning or land use laws resulted in lower property values. Walters served as honorary chair for the Proposition 90 effort, which failed at the ballot box. She called this position her “proudest accomplishment.”
But the group that perhaps gives the most insight into the world view of Mr. Ahmanson is the Chalcedon Foundation, which follows a philosophy known as Christian Reconstructionism. Founded by Rousas John Rushdoony, who advocated the stoning of homosexuals, as well as adulterers and nonbelievers, the Chalcedon Foundation believes that:
…the whole Word of God must be applied to all of life. It is not only our duty as individuals, families and churches to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King. Nothing is exempt from His dominion. We must live by His Word, not our own.
Ahmanson served on the board of the Chalcedon Foundation from the 1970s until 2001.
What would an America run by Biblical law look like?
- No eating of pork or pork products (Leviticus 11:7-8)
- No shellfish (Leviticus 11:10)
- No sexual relations during a woman’s menstrual period (Leviticus 18:19)
- No sexual relations between two men (Leviticus 18:22)
- No planting two kinds of seed in the same field (Leviticus 19:19)
- No clothing made of two types of material (Leviticus 19:19)
- No eating of fruit from fruit trees for three years after they are planted (Leviticus 19:23)
- No rare steaks (Leviticus 19:26)
- No trimming of beards or sideburns (Leviticus 19:27)
- No tattoos (Leviticus 19:28)
We know, based on past statements and associations, that these are the types of laws that Mr. Ahmanson would like to see enacted in America (although he did state on the record that he was opposed to stoning homosexuals). Can we assume that Mrs. Walters would also endorse the enactment of laws based on Biblical law? Given her voting record as a member of the California legislature, along with the fact that Mr. Ahmanson has given her more money than all but one other candidate who he supported, the answer may be “yes.”