Republican presidential candidates court activist who wants Christian nation.
Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich headed to South Carolina today for the South Carolina Renewal Project, one of many evangelical awakenings cropping up across the nation, Politico reports.
And while there, the duo, as well as potential candidate and perennial crusader Rick Perry, courted the event’s keynote speaker, revisionist historian David Barton.
Most people know Barton from his regular appearances on Glenn Beck’s defunct Fox News show, or from a January rant in which he decried “homosexual indoctrination” in schools, or maybe from his successful lobbying efforts to inject conservative ideals into Texas’ school books.
But Barton’s best known in right wing circles for his Christian Nationalist group the WallBuilders, an organization “dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built.”
The WallBuilders claim claims the United States were founded explicitly as a Christian nation, and that the only way to save our country’s future is to turn back to our Puritanical past.
“WallBuilders’ goal is to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country [and by] providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values,” the group says on their site.
And Barton — the man Beck credits with inspiring his unholy Black Robe Regiment — also sits on the advisory board of the Providence Foundation, a group whose official mission is “to spread liberty, justice, and prosperity among the nations by instructing individuals in a Biblical worldview.”
Unofficially, the Providence Foundation believe human laws should hedge closer to those found in the Bible, which means a turn back to the days when gays, adulterous women and other “immoral” people were stoned to death on a regular basis.
Their vision is, in essence, a Christian version of the Sharia law Republican candidates regularly deride. Bachmann, for example, recently signed onto that instantly infamous “marriage pledge,” which includes “rejection of anti-women Sharia law.” (That same document, which was rejected by most candidates, later demands candidates “[recognize] that robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to [the] U.S.”)
And Gingrich, who did not sign the pledge, once insisted, “We should have a federal law that says Sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States,” and described Sharia as “totally abhorrent to the Western world.”
Yet here he and the others were today, trying to woo a politically influential evangelical leader whose philosophy not only blasts the constitutional church/state divide, but envisions an expressly religious state that excludes his ideological and political enemies, that is, anyone who refuses to buy into his overbearing, prescriptive Christianity.
It would appear, then, that Bachmann and her peers don’t hate the idea of religious lawmaking; they hate the idea of that lawmaking being based in Islam. If it’s based in Christianity, then it’s a-okay.
But Barton’s extreme views fit right into one of the Republican Party’s main memes: American Exceptionalism, the idea that God himself ordained our great nation, and “secular” people aren’t citizens at all.
“[There is] a fundamental division between most Americans and the secular, socialist people around Obama,” Gingrich said at the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition conference in March. He reportedly made similar claims at today’s event, as well. He was no doubt a hit.