Two days after the Election Day conservative tide, Newt Gingrich, David Barton, and Jim Garlow held a conference call for conservative Christian pastors to talk about what it all means. The call brought together Gingrich, an establishment Republican who has been courting the Religious Right for a future presidential bid; Barton, a long-time fixture of the Religious Right who has become a Tea Party celebrity thanks to Glenn Beck; and Jim Garlow, who hails from the dominionist wing of the Religious Right and led religious opposition to marriage equality in California. The elections, they said, were a rejection of secularism and evidence of a new religious Great Awakening that would move America to the right for decades to come.
Tealigious Right Gloats, Thanks God for GOP Victories
Gingrich, while touting the massive Republican wins in Congress and state legislatures as profoundly historic, also called attention to the million-dollar Religious Right-led campaign that led to the rejection of three marriage equality-supporting Iowa Supreme Court justices in retention elections. “Taking on the judicial class,” said Gingrich, and telling judges that “we are not going to tolerate enforced secularization of our country,” is “one of the most important things we can engage in.”
Barton reveled in the Republican takeover of the Iowa house, and said he believed that a constitutional amendment denying gay couples the right to marry would be one of the first things to come before the state legislature. Even though Republicans fell just short of taking the Senate, Barton said he thought enough Democrats would be intimidated by what happened to the judges to let an amendment move forward: “This is what we call hanging a bloody scalp on the gallery rail.”
Gingrich and Barton both gloated that Republican wins in state legislatures and governorships put the GOP in a position to gerrymander voting districts in a way that will make it hard for Democrats to recover during the next decade.
All the speakers spoke of the elections as an embrace of the notion of a divinely inspired “American Exceptionalism” that Glenn Beck has been promoting and that a number of Tea Party-backed candidates were sounding as a campaign theme. Barton said that that 90 percent of the congressional freshman class is “pro-God, pro-life, pro-faith, and pro-family.” He repeated the theme that was pounded by speaker after speaker at the Values Voter summit – that fiscal and social conservatism can’t be separated.
In fact, Garlow and Barton went even further, asserting a biblical underpinning for an approach to economics that is probably even further to the Right than many Tea Party activists. Taxation and deficit spending, they said, amount to theft. The estate tax, Barton said, is “absolutely condemned” by the Bible as the “most immoral” of taxes. Jesus, he said, had “teachings” condemning the capital gains tax and minimum wage. This, he declared, was “a great election for biblical values.”
Barton and Garlow discussed the many prayer and fasting campaigns that took place around the elections, and whether there was a way to prove their impact. While Barton said it would be tough to come up with empirical data, he called it historically “irrefutable” that there was an impact from so many people praying and fasting for conservative election victories. “There’s no way from a biblical or historical standpoint you can do that and not see God intervene or move.”