We’ve been covering the political organizing of Christian-nation advocate David Lane, and the way that Republican presidential hopefuls flock to his events in important primary states like Iowa and South Carolina. Recent news reports make it even clearer that one of Lane’s goals is to establish a de facto religious test for the Republican presidential campaign – a violation of the spirit of the U.S. Constitution and the first of our affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s “12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics.”
Ted Cruz, who appeared at a Lane-organized event in Iowa this summer, spoke at Lane’s “Rediscovering God in America” event in South Carolina on Monday along with an array of Religious Right figures. Before the event Lane had described the goal:
“Everyone knows what they’re running for,’’ Lane said. “We want to know where you are coming from. What we’re looking for is what’s behind the curtain.’’
Thanks to Cruz and his father, it’s pretty clear “what’s behind the curtain” when it comes to Cruz’s faith – a belief that he has been anointed by God to help lead America. US News reports on Monday’s event in South Carolina:
…during a gathering of 400 South Carolina pastors here Monday, attendees laid their hands upon Sen. Ted Cruz and asked God to grant him the strength to continue to be “as bold as a lion” and “fearless before all men.”
The Texas freshman now famous for his role in the government shutdown gave every indication he’d do all in his power to make sure their prayers are answered.
In his speech, Cruz delivered a clarion call to defend a litany of important causes to the evangelical leaders in the room: From the Ten Commandments and ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance to standing with Israel, in support of traditional marriage and against abortion.
The religious standard to which Lane plans to hold presidential contenders, and his fondness for Cruz, were even more explicit in comments reported in the New York Times this weekend. Lane is describing the Iowa event at which Cruz and Rand Paul appeared:
“One of the pastors said to Rand, ‘We’ve beat all around this, I don’t want to beat all around this anymore, let’s be real specific: Would you define yourself as born again?’” recalled David Lane, a Christian conservative organizer. “He said, ‘I’m born again.’ ”
Still, Mr. Lane underscored the advantage Mr. Cruz has with some evangelicals. Asked about the Texas senator’s faith, he responded, “Cruz is obviously born again and goes to First Baptist Houston.”
Lane wants to make sure that there’s no repeat of the GOP’s nomination of anyone who is not “born again” in a manner that meets his approval. During the last presidential campaign, Lane was deeply troubled by Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. When Rick Perry backer Robert Jeffress made anti-Mormon statements, Lane wrote that “juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things.”
If Cruz or any of the Republican presidential hopefuls has any problems with Lane’s divisive approach to religion and politics, they’re keeping it to themselves.