January 2024 Church & State Magazine - January 2024

Husband of Moms for Liberty founder charged with sexual assault

 

Christian Ziegler, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party and husband of Bridget Ziegler, a co-founder of the Christian Nationalist group Moms for Liberty, has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman whom both Zieglers were involved with sexually.

The woman, whose name has not been released due to the nature of the allegations, told police she had agreed to have a sexual encounter with Christian and Bridget Ziegler on Oct. 2 but canceled after learning that Bridget Ziegler had decided not to attend. The woman told police that Christian Ziegler showed up at her residence in Sarasota anyway and raped her. Christian Ziegler admitted to having sex with the woman but said it was consensual.

The woman told police that she has known the Zieglers for 20 years and had engaged in sex with them on a previous occasion. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that Bridget Ziegler admitted to the sexual encounter while talking to investigators about the allegations against her husband.

Moms for Liberty leaders initially supported Bridget Ziegler, using X (formerly Twitter) to assert that her enemies were using the scandal to bring her down. The tweet blasted the investigation, calling it “another attempt today to ruin the reputation of a strong woman fighting for America.” But the tweet was later deleted, and the group began distancing itself from Ziegler and removed references to her from its website. 

Moms for Liberty frequently seeks to ban books in public schools that contain LGBTQ+ content or characters. 

Bridget Ziegler, currently a member of the Sarasota County School Board, is facing calls for her to resign.

In Northumberland County, Pa., Clarissa Paige, chair of the local Moms for Liberty chapter, announced that the unit would split from the national organization.

“We can’t fight against grooming of students or kids and then that’s happening,” Paige said. (To learn more about Moms for Liberty, see “Mad Moms,” April 2023 Church & State.)

In other news involving Christian Nationalist groups, the founder of Church Militant, an extreme Catholic group that seeks to replace America’s democracy with a theocracy headed by a Catholic king, stepped down in November after admitting he had violated the organization’s morality clause.

Michael Voris, who says he is “ex-gay,” did not describe the offense he had committed but in an online video apologized for his behavior. Voris alluded to “some very, very ugly truths from my past” and “act-out demons” he needed to conquer.

In 2017, Voris attacked Americans United after the group criticized his extreme views in a blog post. Voris accused AU of “promoting secularist ideals in the public square” and vowed to add the organization to Church Militant’s list of hate groups.

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