It is likely true that in every society there are fringe groups that adhere to such radical ideologies that the majority of the population keeps them at a distance and never allows them to gain a foothold in government unless the nation is the United States of America. Over the past month, Americans witnessed the inherent danger of a small group of fundamentally pure insurgents panting to take down the government that nearly caused a fiscal calamity experts asserted would decimate the world’s economy in their crusade against a three-year-old health law. However, as determined as teabagger-Republicans are in their crusade against the Affordable Care Act, the health law is cover for their enemy they will go to any lengths to defeat; President Barack Obama.
With the GOP’s approval rating at 24%, and their de facto leader Ted Cruz’s at 14%, one might wonder exactly what kind of American malcontent approved of the ideological extremists who shut down their government and actively pursued causing it to default on its national debt. One need not look any farther than the recent Values Voter Summit to discover that teabaggers and evangelicals who equate persecution with perceived political marginalization make up the majority of support for Cruz and his cohort in their life-and-death crusade against the Affordable Care Act.
One of the age-old tactics the religious right and teabaggers use to whip each other into frenzy is convincing themselves they are being persecuted and losing their perceived dominance over America. It is a strategy that both teabaggers and evangelical fanatics have used to garner support for their crusade against the health law and, by extension, President Obama. One of the religious rights’ champions, Ben Carson, proclaimed the Affordable Care Act is the foulest thing to happen in America since slavery, and portrayed evangelicals and teabaggers as onward Christian soldiers engaged in holy war to stop Americans from having access to healthcare insurance. In fact, at the rate conservative Christians decry the ACA, they give the appearance that tens-of-millions of Americans having healthcare insurance is a direct assault on Christianity and their religious freedom; an assertion Republicans have played up as gospel truth.
The idea that teabag-evangelicals are under attack and being persecuted by the ACA and President Obama “really strikes a chord in the Christian, self-indulgent perspective, that when people disagree with us, they’re attacking us” according to a professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. Candida Moss said that historically, “in times of struggle or perceived struggle, Christians constantly retreat to the idea that they’re being persecuted, but they’ll prevail” and it is that sentiment that Ted Cruz used to great effect in marshaling support for the Republican government shutdown. As a matter of fact, Republicans as a group have used the loss of religious liberty and persecution in their war against women’s rights to choose their own reproductive health.
At the Values Voter Summit Cruz and Paul took advantage of the evangelicals’ belief they are under attack by President Obama, and one radical preacher lambasted the President’s apocalyptic “war on Christians” and asserted that “true believers are being persecuted in larger numbers than ever before.” Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took his turn inciting opposition to all things connected to President Obama and said, “Across the globe, Christians are under attack, almost as if we lived in the Middle Ages or under early pagan Roman rule. This administration does nothing to stop it. And it can be argued that they’re giving aid and comfort to those who tolerate these crimes.” Paul’s assertions incite support in the Republican “crusade against Obama, a president hell-bent on destroying the nation” that according to conservatives began when the Affordable Care Act became the law of the land.
Nearly all of the speakers at the Values Voter Summit decried the President’s health insurance reform law as “the beginning of the end for America,” as well as a tool to persecute teaparty-evangelicals. Cruz made good use of the persecution ploy because it allowed him to imply that shuttering the government and causing another fiscal crisis “was an act of self-defense” against Obama for persecuting teabaggers and evangelicals with a law they disagree with. Candida Moss said that historically Christians used the “language of persecution to legitimize violence under the rubric of acting in self-defense. In the Middle Ages, Christian leaders used the rhetoric of persecution and martyrdom to launch the First Crusade. Today, they’re saying, ‘Well, we may have shut down the government, but it was the other side’s fault for providing health care.'”
Ever since the Affordable Care Act became law, conservatives have been religious in their crusade to derail it at all costs; even shuttering the government and threatening a credit default. While most Americans were appalled at the despicable tactic, the religious right and teabaggers were avid supporters of their heroes for what they regarded as a holy war against an unholy law, and a President on a campaign to stamp out religion with his “war on Christianity.”
Many Americans are convinced Ted Cruz is an insane megalomaniac and it is a valid assertion, but he knows evangelical Republicans believe President Obama is systematically destroying their religious freedom, and that teabaggers believe he is destroying freedom itself with the Affordable Care Act as his weapon of choice. Unfortunately for the majority of Americans, the Christian fanatics who are convinced President Obama is expelling God from America and teabaggers committed to the belief he has trampled on their liberty may be in the minority, but they are dangerous enough to unconditionally support maniacs like Ted Cruz who would destroy the nation to defeat their perceived enemy; President Obama.