Before she went on TV to rep Roy Moore and tell a pregnant CNN anchor that a Democrat wants to terminate her unborn child, Janet Folger Porter was a far-right commentator who lost her radio show over her support for a fringe, fundamentalist Christian movement.
Porter’s lengthy, bizarre CNN interview turned heads Tuesday morning as the spokeswoman backhandedly congratulated host Poppy Harlow on her pregnancy by telling her that Moore’s Democratic rival would support killing that unborn son.
The Moore flack found plenty of other audacious things to say during their chat. For example, when discussing the many sexual-misconduct allegations made against her candidate, Porter demanded the media instead focus on the “group of non-accusers that have not accused the judge of any sexual misconduct or anything illegal.”
Porter is no stranger to controversy after a long career of vociferous opposition to gay marriage, spouting of conspiracy theories, and support for an extreme ideology advocating theocratic governance.
In 1998, Porter found herself the subject of a New York Times article: “The Architect of the ‘Gay Conversion’ Campaign.”
Porter (then going by her maiden name Folger) had just raised more than $400,000 to take out full-page ads in newspapers to endorse “conversion therapy,” a debunked and sometimes torturous method of forcing gay people to quash their sexuality.
Porter was no stranger to attention-grabbing techniques. Previously, as an anti-choice activist in Ohio, she lobbied legislators, using gory pictures of aborted fetuses, to outlaw some abortion procedures.
A hardline interpretation of Christianity always underscored Porter’s activism. In the ’90s, she ran the anti-gay Center for Reclaiming America, and preached that Christians were under assault in the United States. “Prayer police” were patrolling schools looking to bust children praying, she claimed in during a 1998 speech at the Reclaiming America for Christ Conference.
“Janet is an example of what I like to think of as an issue entrepreneur,” Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition told the Times in 1998. “Some entrepreneurs try to figure out what the new hot stocks are. Janet is an ideological entrepreneur, someone who tries to pick the hot new issues.” Apparently Reed meant it as a compliment.
Porter later expanded her anti-choice crusade at the head of Faith2Action, an Ohio-based organization bent on getting the state to pass a so-called “heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortion after six weeks, when many women are still unaware that they are pregnant.
But Porter’s views soon became too extreme even for conservative Christian news outlets.
In 2010, the Christian broadcaster VCY America cancelled Porter’s daily Faith2Action radio show over fears that Porter had become too immersed in “dominionism,” a theology that advocates total Christian control over the government, and a return to biblical law.
“VCY has been wrestling for months with the drift of the program toward ‘dominion theology’ and ecumenism,” a VCY spokesperson announced, according to Right Wing Watch. “This has not been an easy decision, but a line has been crossed that VCY America cannot ignore. Faith2Action has chosen to go in a direction that is not consistent with the biblical position of VCY America.”
In a blog post, Porter denied the allegations that she was a dominionist, calling the ideology “not what I believe; not even close,” adding that attendees of a controversial rally she led “just want to obey God in every area of influence and use our freedom to spread the Gospel. If you do an Internet search on D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, or Charles Stanley with Dominionism, you’ll see the same type of accusations were repeatedly made against them, too.” The blog post went on to hawk her 2005 book The Criminalization of Christianity, which “some have called  prophetic,” she wrote.
But despite her denials, Porter’s own ministry advocates support for the Christian right to take hold of the government. During a 2010 Christian summit, Porter led a prayer for Christians to gain control of the “government mountain.”
“Father this lie of the so-called separation of church and state, that isn’t in our Constitution but that of the former Soviet Union,” Porter told the audience in her prayer. “We break down the deception, the lie, that has kept the church in the pew.”
On Monday, Porter was using that faith to defend Moore from sexual-assault allegations, while repeatedly bringing up her CNN host’s pregnancy.
“Congratulations on your unborn child. That‘s the reason why I came down, as a volunteer, to speak for Judge Roy Moore, because he’ll stand for the rights of babies like yours in the womb. Where his opponent will support killing them up until the moment of birth,” Porter told Harlow, who thanked her, and tried to move on with the interview.
Porter brought up the pregnancy a second time.
“Leave my child out of this,” Harlow told her.