Christian Nationalism Defines the Rhetoric of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio

david_lane_aPeter Montgomery at Right Wing Watch took a look yesterday at somebody far more frightening than Ralph Reed: David Lane. You may haven’t heard of him though we have met him before as the little devil on Rand Paul’s shoulder.

But some of the GOP’s best and brightest (and that’s not saying much), Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, know who he is. Both of them are Iowa-bound, destined to be speakers at Lane’s closed-door event, “Rediscovering God in America,” being held July 17-18. Rick Perry is another reported speaker (Lane helped Perry get re-elected in 2006) and Marco Rubio attended an earlier event in May.

The event itself is for conservative pastors only. And it is closed-door because this is not the kind of stuff you want even a right-leaning media to get hold of. The GOP knows what happened to Romney in 2012 when the media finally caught on to how extreme the rhetoric had become.

And fact is to belief what holy water is to vampires. And whatever they say, they seem to know in their heart of hearts that though they might have God on their side, they won’t get elected without votes from actual people, and actual people tend to get turned off by their violent, hate-filled, bigotry-ridden rhetoric.

Lane is, as Montgomery describes him, “an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.”

Lane says, “It’s easily defended that America was founded by Christians, as a Christian nation.”

Christian nationalism is a scary thing and Lane is far from alone in espousing its tenets. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), told World Net Daily in May, “I think if you are going to reverse engineer America, go back through history … you could not build America without Christianity.”

People like Lane and King and David Barton and others, say this sort of thing as though it is a fact and his listeners readily accept it as a fact. But in fact, it is a position that cannot be defended – at all.

In fact, the Founding Fathers built America and they left Christianity out of it. That’s just simple fact. It is observable and repeatable. No matter how often you read the United States Constitution, it will say the same thing.

The United States Constitution, the document that established our country as more than a loose confederation of independent states, is a secular document detailing a secular government. God is entirely absent from it: no God, no Jesus, no Bible, no Ten Commandments.

The thing is, the Founding Fathers were free to form whatever kind of government they wanted; it was an event unique in history. And they did not chose theocracy. They did not choose it; they did not even consider it.

They chose democracy, where political power derives from the people. Not from God.

And not only did we get a God-free Constitution, but with it, the First Amendment which prohibits state-sponsored religion, and Article 6, which prohibits religious tests for public office.

You can’t get more God-free than that.

Steve King insists that the rule of law derives from Moses and the Ten Commandments. The Bible says so, after all, given its chronology of world history.

But science and history prove that the Ten Commandments are rather new to the stage compared to some of the earliest historical law codes, the most famous of which is that of Hammurabi.

It is not the rest of the world that got the idea of the rule of law from Moses but rather, the other way around. When an Egyptian Pharaoh makes history’s first notice of Israel, it is as some tiny group in Palestine he smote along with a group of more noteworthy opponents.

But Republican candidates drink this stuff up. Why? Because it gets them votes and money. If it will get them votes and money, they will drink the Kool Aid. Montgomery writes,

Cruz and Paul may be motivated by the fact that a similar David Lane-organized briefing is credited with Mike Huckabee’s win in the 2008 Iowa caucus. Evangelical political strategist Doug Wead has described Lane as “the mysterious, behind the scenes evangelical kingmaker who stormed into Iowa in 2008 and tilted the whole thing from Romney to Huckabee” even though subsequent renewal projects failed to deliver South Carolina and Florida to Huckabee.

Never mind that there aren’t enough of this type of voter to secure an election. The last two, in 2008 and 2012, gave ample proof of that.

But facts aren’t big motivators for the Religious Right. They have never been. And Lane has a way of ensuring that facts never do get in the way of good Christian nationalist thinking:

Christians must not only be allowed to have opinions, but politically, Christians must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the “Separation of Church and States,” the lie repeated ad nauseum by the left and liberals to keep Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning, and pagan media…

This – shall we say – relaxed attitude toward facts, is how Lane can be a big Todd Akin fan; that is how he could email activists that the real issue “is the soul of America.”

The voters felt otherwise, particularly women. The real issue was fact and it is a fact that women’s bodies do not protect them from a rapist’s sperm.

Lane is going to be doing a lot of storming around looking for those votes and money – and people who will believe anything. The American Renewal Project has a 12-state strategy for garnering the Evangelical vote: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The message he is selling to Republican voters and to the men and women those voters are expected to support, is that “Our goal [is] to wage war to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage with all of our might and strength that God will give us. You ask, ‘what is our aim?’ One word only, victory, in spite of all intimidation and terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, America will ultimately collapse.”

So he wants to restore America to something it never had and that is itself a logical impossibility: a Judeo-Christian heritage; and he insists a country that was founded without God will collapse if it is not restored to something it never possessed as part of its government: God.

It’s a shabby argument from shabby thinking – the false premises doom it at the outset – but then that’s Christian Nationalism for you. A triumph, once again, of belief over fact.

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