Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin on Stage with Rick Santorum

From CNN:

Aboard the USS Yorktown Tuesday morning, South Carolina State Senator Larry Grooms made his political defection official by announcing his endorsement of Rick Santorum.

…Although Grooms introduced Santorum to the crowd of reporters gathered for the press conference, he quietly joined the former senator on stage at the town hall that followed, leaving the introduction duties to retired General Jerry Boykin. 

A picture here shows Santorum

aboard the USS Yorktown, Tuesday in Mount Pleasant. Santorum’s national security advisor, Bill Connor, Lt. Gen. William Boykin and S.C. State Sen. Larry Grooms look on.

Boykin is well-known for his anti-Islam views (in 2010 he led an event in Texas alongside Walid Shoebat and Robert Spencer), and for his claim that economic difficulties in the USA are a conspiracy enacted by George Soros so that Obama can use healthcare legislation to create “an army of brownshirts”. Boykin is closely associated with the neo-Pentecostal evangelist Rick Joyner, and with Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries and Oak Initiative.

Boykin and Joyner are also involved in a chivalric group, called the Order of Saint John (or “The Knights of Malta: The Ecumenical Order”); Joyner is “Deputy Member of the Supreme Council”, while Boykin is the “Grand Chancellor”. Back in October, Boykin was present at a ceremony in Rhodes in which Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was inducted into the Order by the “Grand Master”, Nicholas Papanicolaou. In September 2010, Boykin and Papanicolaou published a letter on behalf of the order which attacked Obama for employing Muslims in security roles:

The Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security recently swore in two devout Muslims in senior posts…. Was it not “Devout Muslim men” that flew planes into U.S. buildings 9 years ago? Was it not a Devout Muslim who killed 14 at Fort Hood?

Boykin formerly supported Rick Perry for President; in August he related how Perry had spoken privately with a group of evangelical leaders:

He said, “I’m doing this because I know this is what the Bible calls me [to do?]: ‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves in prayer'”, and that’s what the Bible says. And Rick Perry very humbly stood before a group of us and said, “I’m doing this because it’s what God wants us to do. It’s not a political ploy.”

Meanwhile, a number of other Christian Right big hitters are supporting Newt Gingrich.

UPDATE: I see that Boykin is following the lead of conservative thriller author Brad Thor, who introduced Santorum in Sioux City, Iowa. The Washington Post reported at the beginning of the year:

“How many people cry when they’re introducing someone?” Brad Thor, the popular thriller-author-turned-conservative-commentator, asked a crowd of more than 200 after his voice cracked while introducing Santorum at the Daily Grind coffee shop here. He joked that he’d done damage to his “tough-guy, conservative author cred,” then cracked: “I’m just glad this isn’t on national television.”

In mid-2010, Thor described this blog as representing “the utter nihilism of the left” after I expressed some qualified scepticism over his “Mullah Omar captured” story.