The Christian Right continued to strengthen its grasp on the Republican party in 2014, as was evident in the mid-term election results across the country. And while we can all hope that 2015 will be different, it’s sadly highly unlikely.
Looking at the GOP candidates who might throw their hats into the 2016 presidential contest, it’s not hard to see the ties to the Religious Right.
“There’s former Gov. Mike Huckabee, of course,” wrote Ed Kilgore on Talking Points Memo, “a Southern Baptist minister whose 2008 campaign almost entirely relied on conservative evangelical voters … Rick Santorum, is a Catholic traditionalist who also appealed on moral and grounds to conservative evangelicals, and on occasion hinted that mainline Protestantism had been captured by Satan.”
“Texas Gov. Rick Perry has long enjoyed close relationships with crypto-dominionists and radical self-styled Christian Zionists,” continued Kilgore. “And fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz frequently deploys as his warm-up act his father Rafael Cruz, a fiery conservative evangelical minister who believes Christians must “take back society” from “the progressives” who are responsible for “the blood of 57 million babies…crying out to God, just like the blood of Abel cried out to God.”
Outside of Texas, which always seems to dominate the religious fervor come election time, there is a crop of conservative governors across the nation that look to push their religious beliefs on everyone. Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal wants creationism taught in schools. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker claims that he’s doing the Lord’s work by pushing his anti-union message. And Indiana’s Mike Pence has been “cozying up to David Lane, a Christian Right impresario who is especially active in organizing clerical audiences for would-be presidents in Iowa,” said Kilgore.
In the Senate, you have Florida’s Marco Rubio, who doesn’t believe in the Constitutionally-protected separation of Church and State. Kentucky’s Rand Paul has a “ longstanding connection to the openly theocratic U.S. Constitutional Party, and [is] especially close to Christian home-schoolers” wrote Kilgore. And “Ben Carson was recently the keynote speaker at a fundraising event for The Family Leader, Iowa’s premier Christian Right group; he’s notorious for embracing comparisons of America to Nazi Germany, a particularly strong habit among antichoice activists.”
And of course, who could forget current Republican presidential nominee front runner, Jeb Bush, who despite claims of being a moderate in the party, “touched off the Terri Schiavo hysteria in 2003 by intervening in a family’s end-of-life decisions.”
“So it’s pretty likely conservative Christian leaders will be making a less-than-joyful noise in the New Year,” concluded Kilgore, “lashing their troops into a frenzy of fear at the prospect of another liberal president and the hope of reshaping the country according to the Gospel of the Day Before Yesterday. Secular folk will shake their heads in disbelief, and progressive Christians will pray: ‘Lord Have Mercy.'”