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14-year-old pundit wows audiences

NORCROSS, Ga. (BP)–The New York Times called him “The Little Mr. Conservative.” The Huffington Post called him a “Conservative Wunderkind.” Fox News refers to him as a political prodigy. His biography is posted on Wikipedia.

Jonathan Krohn, a member of the Atlanta-area Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, may be the most prominent 14-year-old in the nation.

His speech at the 36th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in February thrust him into the limelight and garnered him guest television appearances on “Fox and Friends,” “Huckabee” and “The Today Show.” He also has become a frequent guest on Bill Bennett’s syndicated “Morning in America” radio program.

This nationally prominent teenager gave his heart to Christ as a 5-year-old in a Junior Hill revival in his home church. As Hill was preaching, Krohn thought, “I don’t want to go to hell. I want to go to heaven, and I want be able to influence others to come to Christ.” Bob Horner, who was pastor of Peachtree Corners at the time, baptized him.

“For a while I thought maybe God would call me to be a missionary,” Krohn said. “I went to the church library where I found a copy of ‘Missiology,’ a book containing an assortment of essays on the strategical views of doing missions. I began to read the book because if I was going to be a missionary I wanted to go to Mecca to serve Christ.”

Asked why he wanted to go to Mecca, Krohn told The Christian Index newspaper, “Mecca is filled with Muslims, and the Muslims in Mecca are the most difficult to reach. They are the most Muslim of the Muslims. I have always been up for a challenge, so I thought if that is what God called me to do I would focus on that hardcore group of people.”

Thoughts of being a missionary to Mecca may have been a motivating force behind his desire to study Arabic. For two years, Krohn has been learning the language from Hatem Lel-Sayegh, a friend and fellow church member.

His mother, Marla Krohn, a drama teacher by profession, homeschools Krohn in a variety of subjects including Latin. But she didn’t stress politics in those lessons, mostly due to a lack of personal interest. Krohn has found that path on his own.

“Jonathan has a lot of passion. He is a good student,” Marla said. “He has honored his father, Doug, and me as his parents. God has had His hand on him from day one.”

Krohn has been playing the cello for more than nine years and has been performing on stage since age 8. Deborah Norville of “Inside Edition” named him Atlanta’s Most Talented Child in 2006. He has had three callbacks for the Broadway role of Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins.”

Krohn’s acting repertoire includes local stints as John Darling in “Peter Pan,” Scott in “Dear Edwina,” Young Cain in “Children of Eden,” Olin Cravin in “The Secret Garden,” as well as smaller parts in “The Wizard of Oz,” “Tom Sawyer,” “The Jungle Book” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Krohn first became interested in politics at age 8 when Democrats in Congress were consistently filibustering President Bush’s judicial nominees. He was fascinated by the filibusters and inspired to learn as much as he could about the political process. He began reading voraciously and started listening to talk radio and political commentary.

Krohn became interested in Bill Bennett’s Morning in America show and started waking up at 6 a.m. to listen to the former U.S. secretary of education. Krohn began to call Bennett while he was on the air, and the two became friends. Krohn describes Bennett as a mentor.

“Jonathan is an extraordinary boy, very special. He wowed my audience,” Bennett told The New York Times. “He wowed me because he’s very engaging and learned. He’s got staying power.”

Krohn’s meteoric rise to national fame started with a book he wrote titled, “Define Conservatism,” followed by his two-minute talk before the annual CPAC gathering of conservative activists.

“During the election I noticed that there were many people throwing around the words, ‘conservative,’ ‘liberal’ and ‘socialism,'” he said in his message at CPAC. “I decided there were too many people who threw this word ‘conservatism’ around, but didn’t understand what they were talking about. They didn’t understand ‘conservatism’ as a basis of principle, but they understand it as a basis of policy.

“Conservatism is not about the party, because the party is the shell,” Krohn said. “It is the inside, the filling that really means something. In the book I have defined conservatism, which is based on four principles: respect for the Constitution, respect for life, less government and personal responsibility.”

In an interview with The Index, Krohn explained, “I am a conservative because my conservative views are more in line with my moral views as a Christian.”

So, for now, Krohn remains enthralled with politics. “It is something that God has set on my heart,” he said.

The emerging political pundit quickly identifies his favorite conservatives as William F. Buckley Jr., Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

He has not arrived at his conclusions on a whim or fancy. He is a voracious reader. Among his favorite books are “A Theological Interpretation of American History” by C. Gregg Singer, “John Adams” by David McCullough and “A Son of Thunder: Patrick Henry and the American Republic” by Henry Mayer.

Krohn’s diet of television fare probably is antithetical to that of most teenagers. He watches Fox News, CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC (occasionally to get the opposing view) and the popular television drama “24.”

In explaining his rationale for being a fan of the fast-action drama of Jack Bauer in 24, Krohn said, “Jack Bauer and 24 are conservative because they use waterboarding and painful experiences to get the facts out of terrorist regimes in order to save thousands of lives. The program also illustrates how mean and ruthless terrorists are, like when they cut off the finger of the president’s husband.”

What Krohn did not like about one of 24’s episodes was Cherry Jones, who plays the role of the U.S. president, giving a 30-second personal commentary about global warming during one of the show’s advertising slots. “On 24, every one of us is in a desperate race against time to prevent calamity,” Jones said, “but the good news is that our show is a work of fiction.

“But there is a very real threat facing all of us — climate change,” Jones continued. “Our planet is running out of time. Together we can solve this crisis. For tips on how you can reduce your own carbon footprint go to fox.com. Join us today. Help us stop the clock on global warming.”

That political infomercial did not sit well with the observant Krohn.

His rise to fame and his conservative views have not gone without some reprisal. He has been threatened and called a fascist. The most common comment has been that he was brainwashed by his parents.

“That certainly isn’t true because politics bore me,” Marla Krohn said. “I don’t know half of what he knows about politics. We gave him a Christian foundation and have taught him to love God first, love others second and share God’s love at every opportunity. I just wish I had his ability not to fear. He is secure in God’s love, and he goes for it.”
J. Gerald Harris is editor of The Christian Index newspaper in Georgia. Learn more about Jonathan Krohn and his book at www.defineconservatism.com.

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  • J. Gerald Harris