“In God’s economy, the key component of knowledge is ‘The fear of the LORD.'”
– David Lane, in a World Net Daily op-ed, December 19, 2012.
I am sometimes asked why I write so much about religion, about my focus on characters such as Bryan Fischer and other Religious Right figures. The reason is that these people are influential in conservative circles. Just how influential became apparent when Right Wing Watch reported that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was “partnering with two radical anti-gay groups to send 168 RNC members to Israel.”
— David Lane (@GDavidLane) December 10, 2014
One of these groups most of you will know: The American Family Association (AFA), Fischer’s own group, for which he is Director of Issues Analysis. The other is Christian Nationalist David Lane, founder of the American Renewal Project. You probably haven’t heard of Lane, because while Fischer exposes his ignorant buffoonery for all to see, Lane is a shadowy figure who prefers to work behind the scenes to undermine American democracy.
RWW reported back in 2013 on Lane, saying that,
In December , Lane described his project’s goal this way: “to engage the church in a culture war for religious liberty, to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage and to re-establish a Christian culture.” And he has a clear message to representatives and senators: “Vote to restore the Bible and prayer in public schools or be sent home. Hanging political scalps on the wall is the only love language politicians can hear.“
And this is what Lane told Janet Mefferd in November of this year:
“I generally don’t do radio shows or TV shows or speak to reporters because I’m not that interested in public relations,” Lane said. “I’m interested in Christian men and women who know the Word engaging in culture … We’ve operated since 2005 largely under the radar … We want to show up on Election Day with a constituency that will march and engage the culture. And so instead of telegraphing our punches and beating the bass drum of what we’re doing, we’ve been really quietly mobilizing.”
“This is war,” he said.
This is war, and it is being waged by the RNC and by powerful figures on the Religious Right, and it is being waged against YOU. So you’d best wake up, and realize we are in some serious sh*t, America. These people are serious, and they don’t take prisoners.
If you want to know how influential Lane is, consider this: “Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Rick Perry have previously traveled to Israel on tours sponsored by Lane, who also joined Mike Huckabee’s recent European tour.”
While the mainstream media is busy portraying Rand Paul as a moderate, they won’t tell you he hangs out with Lane, and it’s something you need to know.
Remember that Bobby Jindal prayer fast I mentioned here yesterday? Jindal is receiving the support of none other than Lane for The Response Lousiana.
Evangelicals launch effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for political office http://t.co/6OlHENi6xb
— David Lane (@GDavidLane) November 23, 2014
RWW reminds us that Lane has also “produced election-themed ads featuring Cruz, Perry, Jindal and Huckabee.”
None of this should be too terribly surprising. After all, Priebus said last year that the Republican Party is a religion:
If you’re looking at the evidence, what you will see is a party that embraces life, a party that embraces marriage and a chairman that understands that there’s only one sovereign God and that we ultimately aren’t dependent on what happens in politics. What ultimately matters in our lives is that we’re salt and light in the world and that we’re honoring God in the things that we do every day. I get that. I think our party gets that and there’s never been a movement away from that.
What is amusing is that when Priebus made this pronouncement, he also claimed that,
“I would think that Christians and pastors and everyone in between should agree that our principles have to be draped in the concepts of grace, love and respect and that’s not code language. That’s the New Testament so I don’t think there should be any problem with that thinking in our party.”
The problem is that there is nothing about “grace, love and respect” in the Republican message (search all you want), and it is certainly nowhere to be found in the rhetoric of the Religious Right.
This is David Lane’s own particular idea of God’s mercy, from 2013:
If we get mercy, that’s why we started this by talking about me coming to Christ thirty-five years ago, one of the wildest men who ever lived; I deserved judgment, I got mercy. If America gets mercy, I believe — this doesn’t sound good — I think the process of mercy looks like probably car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa. I think if we get mercy the process is going to be a very painful process. If we get judgment like Nazi Germany, I’m assuming we go to rebel, and God says ‘I’m done.’ So I think that’s where we are, I think we’re at the fork in the road, and if you can believe this I’m actually hopeful.
I think we can do without that sort of mercy.
Whether these dire predictions come true is immaterial for the purposes of the Religious Right, which works off the fear of the Republican base. When Lane says, “The battle for religious liberty includes restoring the Bible and prayer to public schools,” you had better take him seriously. He means it.
My intent is to put God, prayer and the Bible back into public schools as a principal component of education. Some experts say it would take 1) a constitutional amendment; others say 2) a simple 50 percent plus 1 vote in the House and Senate (U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 2).
Pick your poison – either approach is fine with me.
Restore the Bible as America's "principle" Textbook http://t.co/K86ywp8Frc
— David Lane (@GDavidLane) October 10, 2014
Lane has only disdain for the U.S. Constitution. He prefers to Mayflower Compact:
America has boarded the wrong, secular train. Now we’ve lost our Judeo-Christian heritage and its byproduct – a Christian culture.
America was a Christian nation. The Mayflower Compact declared, “In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, having undertaken – for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith …”
Except for the not-so-little obstacle posed by the Constitution, which forbids religious tests (Article VI, paragraph 3), and the First Amendment, which forbids the establishment of a state religion.
Plymouth Colony may have been founded as a Christian colony (but remember, only 41 of the Mayflower’s 101 passengers signed Lane’s Mayflower Compact), but let’s not mistake Plymouth Colony for the United States of America.
So there you are: as we go into the 2016 election cycle, think about people like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry, and who’s side they are really on. It’s not yours, America.
By way of its alliance with David Lane and the AFA, the RNC has made clear that it is at war with American democracy. It has branded liberalism as the enemy, and that’s fine, because it is thanks to liberalism that we have our democracy and the Constitution they now want to tear down. I’m ready for that fight. Are you?
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.