The Plutocrats And The Theocrats

As if ALEC wasn’t enough of a threat to citizens of red states, we now have “Project Blitz,” an effort patterned on ALEC’s all-too-successful formula.

The first thing to know about Project Blitz is that it was launched in 2015 by the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation, and Wallbuilders. The latter is an organization founded by David Barton, the Republican operative and discredited historian who rejects the separation of church and state, claiming that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.

I had not previously heard of Fred Clarkson, who has evidently been studying the Christian right for decades, but he came into possession of Project Blitz’s 116-page manual of model legislation in early 2018.  Clarkson says that Project Blitz  is to Christian nationalists what ALEC is to corporate plutocrats–a number of the extreme anti-choice, anti-gay and pro-Christianity measures that have emerged from legislative chambers over the past couple of years came from Project Blitz’s package of twenty “model” bills.

The bills are seemingly unrelated and range widely in content—from requiring public schools to display the national motto, “In God We Trust” (IGWT); to legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ people; to religious exemptions regarding women’s reproductive health. The model bills, the legislative strategy and the talking points reflect the theocratic vision that’s animated a meaningful portion of the Christian Right for some time. In the context of Project Blitz’s 116-page playbook, however, they also reveal a sophisticated level of coordination and strategizing that echoes the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which infamously networks probusiness state legislators, drafts sample legislation, and shares legislative ideas and strategies.

A study conducted by Americans United for Separation of Church and State counted 74 bills considered by state legislatures in 2018 that echoed the “model legislation” in the Project Blitz handbook. All are intended to erode the First Amendment’s separation of church and state.

There are bills promoting “In God We Trust” on license plates and in public schools. (Here in Indiana, a bill to that effect is being considered by the legislature this year.) Then there are the “Christian heritage” bills, and those emphasizing “the importance of the Bible in history” to promote the notion that the U.S. is a Christian nation.

The measures which Project Blitz organizers admit might be “hotly contested,” are those seeking to empower licensed professionals to deny health care and other services based on religious beliefs and those that would allow adoption agencies to reject adoptive families on religious grounds.

At least 10 states have laws that allow discrimination by child welfare agencies, most of which have been passed since Project Blitz launched in 2015, and–surprise!– similar measures have been introduced in Indiana.  (I’ve previously blogged about a couple of them.)

Project Blitz–and the Trump Administration–have been described as the “death rattle” of White Christian nationalism. In 2016, Robert P. Jones wrote“The End of White Christian America,” detailing the demographic inevitability of that end.(The linked article has the graphs, and an interview with Jones.)

Project Blitz is part of the Christian Right’s  hysterical reaction to demographic reality, but recognizing that fact doesn’t make its efforts less worrisome–or less unAmerican. Just as ALEC has managed to delay regulatory reforms that would hinder the plutocracy, the legislation supported by Project Blitz would both delay the inevitable and cause considerable damage in the interim.

It’s also worth noting that today’s GOP is almost entirely composed of White Christian nationalists. In the states where Republicans hold sway, that “death rattle” is likely to be prolonged, dangerous and very, very ugly.


  1. ive have had chats with so called christians,about their so called discimination of them and their religion.mainly christian white,southern breed,family values..ive read enough foriegn journals over the years,and focused on,,,how countires in the middle east dont allow any christian sects,views,churches.goverments intollerant of christian idols,and the bible. and suppressed regiems, i.e. communist russia,cold war.. or just nazi germany,just tollerated the pope. please i say, go relocate to such a country,and enjoy your real lost freedoms..send post cards back..let us know how well your doing? then relize how fortunate you were in America. to practice via the same constitution we all are guarenteed…sects,idols,religion,faith,cults,and lifestyle via the god you profess, are the same rights as all Americans to,practice their belifes.if I only see a silver spoon attitude, foregive, for i know what i have said…and yes, i do say that face to face..hypocrates… if stiring a pot of hate,they seem to be a forerunner of the police state they want,via the bible…

  2. SK Says:
    “In the states where Republicans hold sway, that “death rattle” is likely to be prolonged, dangerous and very, very ugly.”
    That is what scares the hell out of me. These people are dangerous – and powerful.
    If the Orange Menace is elected again this year, hang on tight. It will get ugly.

  3. All religions have a God; in their own form and by another name. Or, you might say, “All God’s chillen got religion.” The evangelical Christian cult doesn’t recognize other religions as religion; other religious denominations are well aware of and accept the fact of Christian religion as a valid religion. Not sure I said that in words to get across my meaning but it is only the evangelical Christians which has become a White Nationalist political party and the current ruler of this country. They believe themselves to be the only true religion of this country simply because they said so. I am white but not a White Nationalist; I consider myself to be primarily a Christian following the words of Christ, a Jewish Rabbi, I do not believe in creationism but trust in science and evolution.

    This concept makes me ineligible for Project Blitz, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation, and Wallbuilders, a pariah in my neighborhood and to some family members and friends. They are primarily Catholic in religion and staunch Republicans which is their lifestyle rather than their political affiliation. They are closed-minded and have closed their ranks to recognizing others as being worthy of their consideration on any level of life. If you have been watching the Democratic House Impeachment Inquiry, the public hearings and the current Presidential Impeachment Trial in the Senate you have been watching them in action as they support Trump’s proven wrong doing, and are winning simply because they outnumber those of us trying to save this entire country, not the GOP “chosen few”.

    “It’s also worth noting that today’s GOP is almost entirely composed of White Christian nationalists. In the states where Republicans hold sway, that “death rattle” is likely to be prolonged, dangerous and very, very ugly.”

    We will probably watch an abbreviated form of that “death rattle” today in the Senate as the GOP leaders of the White Nationalists acquit Trump of all wrong doing. To quote the theme song from the movie, “Billy Jack”; “Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of heaven, you’ll be justified in the end.” Today; Republicans will “hold sway” over our nation.

  4. This may seem like an off-topic post, but I just saw an exhibit yesterday of contemporary art at the Eiteljorg Museum. It deserves attention. It’s “Blurring the Line,” and it is powerful and impactful. Unfortunately it is here only through Sunday. If you have a chance, go! You will see themes, beautifully expressed in various media, that are important to this nation and to supporters of this blog. A quick example is a jaw-dropping work of art (you must see it to get the full experience) right at the entrance to the exhibit: “Every American flag is a warning sign.” Hats off to the Eiteljorg.

  5. “Render unto Ceaser that which belongs to Ceaser”. Did someone miss the memo? I am faith observant in the Christian tradition. When I read and study Scripture, I have learned to discern PRESCRIPTIVE from DESCRIPTIVE passages. Can anyone show me Scripture that prescribes the ‘church state’? It is my observation that some evangelicals confuse descriptive kingdom building with faux prescriptive legitimacy for Christian state imperialism. They are right … far out right … wrongfully. The human spirit is inspired on the strength of a willing loving heart in an OPEN community of faith intuitively resistant to being legislated.

  6. The devil himself, otherwise known as vp pence, has been pushing theocratic power and control for a couple decades and has impacted this despicable administration from behind the curtains via his recommendations for white christian nationalist cabinet members.

  7. Jack Smith, thanks for your insight. It is amazing how the people are blind to the politics of hate and fear.

  8. How ironic it is that the religions who advertise themselves as peace-loving turn themselves into pretzels trying to justify their hate, their bigotry and their utter stupidity. Of course, if those groups keep using a book of fairy tales as their guide, this is bound to happen. Sorry, true believers. At least most of the writers on this page actually try to walk the walk.

    In another metaphorical picture, I see Jesus sitting in heaven looking upon man-kind, and especially those who use his name and teachings as their guide, lord and savior. In this picture, the tears are streaming down his face while he says, “No, no, no. That’s not what I said and that’s not what I meant. How could you cave-dwelling fools get everything so wrong?”

  9. ALEC and the White Christian Nationalists ARE the new GOP. Pence has been a representative of both of these identities for decades in Indiana and Washington.

    And yes, there is a concerted effort between statehouses and the White House. We have no checks and balances, and our Fourth Estate has been dying since the 1970s when the boardroom took control of our press.

    It’s why young people like Greta Thunberg are so crucial to the world in shaping what comes next.

    Many questions popped up yesterday asking about the “slippery slope” we have been heading down and will chaos ensue. I think the people asking those questions also know the answer.

    I expect the next phase of this sorting out period to be extremely chaotic and, in some instances, very violent. The comparisons of Trump to Hitler’s rise don’t seem as far fetched as thought initially when mentioned just a few years ago.

    The primary difference today is we are more global via social media. Governments cannot control the message fully as they did during Hitler’s reign. Look at the Coronavirus in China. Despite their best efforts to contain the news and how they handled it, WHO is now in China formulating a strategy for the world as the virus spreads internationally.

    What happens in the USA will negatively impact the world — not just citizens of the USA. The Palestinians and the Arab World got a clue this week of how things will play out under White Christian Nationalism and our Plutarchs. Even Turkey rejected Trump’s plan for Israel.

  10. Some really insightful comments this morning. Dan is right, Jack hit the nail pretty square. And Norris, you make a valid scriptural point. Not to forget JoAnn, Absolutely!

    To what Norris had to say;

    As to Caesar’s things to Caesar and God’s things to God, Jesus Christ said himself to Pontius Pilate, “my Kingdom is no part of this world” Christ also said, if his kingdom was part of this world, his disciples would have Fought so that he would not be delivered up to the Jews, but that his kingdom was not of this source. (John 18:36)

    In 2nd Corinthians 5:20, it reads; “therefore we are ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us as substitutes for Christ, we beg, become reconciled to God”

    So as an ambassador, conduct is supposed to reflect the values of the government you represent. This huge evangelical block is not representative of the government they claim an ambassadorship from.

    Mark 12: 17 restates the Scripture Norris mentioned, “payback Caesar’s things to Caesar but God’s things to God” And they were amazed at him.

    One thing That was stated by the apostle Paul in Romans, really explains it well as far as Christian conduct, it reads at Romans 13:1-8;
    “13 Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. 3 For those rulers are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you want to be free of fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; 4 for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear, for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword. It is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath against the one practicing what is bad.

    5 There is therefore compelling reason for you to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of your conscience. 6 That is why you are also paying taxes; for they are God’s public servants constantly serving this very purpose. 7 Render to all their dues: to the one who calls for the tax, the tax; to the one who calls for the tribute, the tribute; to the one who calls for fear, such fear; to the one who calls for honor, such honor. 8 Do not owe anything to anyone except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.

    You can tell why Christ consistently stated that his kingdom was not part of this world, during times of war and conflict, throughout Christian history starting with the death of the last apostle, John, and with the advent of Emperor Constantine hijacking the church, Christians have slaughtered Christians! Throughout every war sense, Catholics have slaughtered Catholics, Protestants have slaughtered Protestants. The combatants in the 1st and 2nd world war were mostly Christian. Not every single combatant but a majority. They willingly slaughtered their brothers in faith! Not very Christlike!

    One last observation, evangelicals besides going against Jesus Christ’s commandments, Make earthly riches their primary goal along with the power to control their fellow man.

    1 Timothy 6:9, 10 Reads; “9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”

    Jesus Christ himself said to those religious leaders corrupting the faith and quoted in John 8:42-47 which reads; “Jesus said to them: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I have not come of my own initiative, but that One sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot listen to my word. 44 You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a murderer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie. 45 Because I, on the other hand, tell you the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Who of you convicts me of sin? If I speak truth, why is it that you do not believe me? 47 The one who is from God listens to the sayings of God. This is why you do not listen, because you are not from God.”

    So by Jesus Christ’s own mouth, those who did/Do not follow his teachings, are not followers of Christ but followers of his enemy, “Satan”And part of the great apostasy that signifies the end of that religion because it is not of Christ anymore. And as everyone can see, they(Evangelicals) are well on their way to bring about their own ruin

    Anyway, that’s my take on it. I think I’ve brought some of that out in my last comment yesterday early in the morning.

  11. Is it possible to reach people whose understanding of their faith only scrapes the surface? Interestingly, those same people hold most strongly to their so-called beliefs.

  12. Connie Latas
    ” A quick example is a jaw-dropping work of art (you must see it to get the full experience) right at the entrance to the exhibit: “Every American flag is a warning sign.” Hats off to the Eiteljorg.”

    Two points:
    1. Leave it to artists to get to the heart of the matter.
    2. For some time I have believed that “Every American flag is a warning sign,” which is why I display one. Two reasons:
    First, it pisses me off that the right appropriated patriotism and morality, as if they are the only patriots and moral people in America. We know what happened to their claim of the moral high ground. I suggest that the same rot underlies their claim of patriotism.
    Second, my message to them is “Right back at cha, bud.” Two can play the gaslighting game.

  13. Again, astute and objective and scary comments to where we are. Religious extremism has always served as world wide destruction and we are no exception to that phenomenon. It’s going to be a bumpy ride as per this so called impeachment.

  14. We are getting in the times of the decline of religious affiliation and practice – except for those of today’s subject. So what of the rest? Do they “believe” in any common set of values?

    We will soon know if that set is a belief in the future of American democracy – not today – which will be “a date that will live in infamy” set in the Senate, but in November. Then, the US, the world democracy ranking 31st in voting of the 34 countries will tell the tale for world history.

  15. Let’s face reality this whole concept of turning the US into a theocracy like Middle Eastern countries is at its’ foundation resistance to culturally adapting to the realities of the world.

    Humans have reached a population and collective life style that is not sustainable. That means that if we don’t manage the transition back to something more permanent, forces outside of our control will. Change or be changed. Stay in control of be out of control.

    A theocratic US is not only clearly against the Constitution but, like all other attempts to isolate the country out of the world’s problems is not sustainable in itself anymore than the governments of the Middle East are. It’s Brexit Americanized.

    At the core of the massive misunderstanding that defines our times is that connected systems operate in isolation. That 7.5B people can be tribalized like a few hundred million were. That our economy can be separated from the rest of the world. That Christianity can be more right than the other world’s religions. That we are the master race. That women just don’t count as much as men do.

    The evidence of the systemic failure that we are into is Trump and the neoliberal GOP. It’s a symptom of failure not the precursor to it. The Senate vote today is the end of the United States as defined 250 years ago. It sets the precedent of a dictator above the law and above the people and above all limits in power. It clearly makes legal any action by one person no matter the consequences to all of us.

    We use to say “heaven help us”. While that illusion was comforting the truth has always been that only we can save us and we have failed to.

  16. I just read a blog yesterday reporting on right-wingers who believe Jesus was “too liberal”. Jesus believed in welcoming the stranger, healing the sick, providing for the poor, turning the other cheek, and loving everyone. It appears Jesus was too Christian for those who want to make this a “Christian nation”.

  17. There’s a strange dichotomy among Christians that seems to be between followers of Jesus and advocates of political power and wealth.

  18. Nancy and Pete,

    What you’re witnessing today is not Christianity as it was intended by Christ who was known as the word, and the law, we are witnessing unfettered apostasy. If people followed the law of Christ, there wouldn’t be any killing of your brother in faith, there wouldn’t be murders in the streets, there wouldn’t be mass shootings every other day. Unfortunately, all of these things are happening in the name of Christ! People have manufactured a messiah that they desire. They have to have something visible, something tangible, just like the Jews back in the day when they demanded a fleshly king. Most of those kings turned out to be pretty bad. The same with the apostate Christians who want a fleshly messiah. As a result their religious leaders, the ones at the front and center of this Evangelical movement, are pretty bad, along with their chosen Messiah who sits in the White House!

    History is a witness to mankind’s greed and unfettered apostate cravings. as Christ said, they don’t want to listen to him, they want to listen to his adversary Satan. And, the conduct and attempt to justify the behavior of what they are doing, is evil, make no doubt about it.

    Ever since I had changed my temperament, and who was pulled out of a certain disaster in the making by meeting and marrying a wonderful woman almost 40 years ago, I’ve studied scripture intently. And I’ve really found that there is a lot of accuracy in prophetic verse.

    The only reason why people call the Bible a myth, is because of the apostate teachings of those who try to manipulate scripture and bend it to their own desires. Like a fiery hell, or a rapture, or hating one’s neighbor or despising the foreign resident or disrespecting women or slander or thievery or covetousness or gluttony, they have reproached scripture, they have reproached Christ, they have reproached God, that is a millstone around their neck, they will end up paying the price. And I imagine, with all of the stuff going on now, the payment will be due shortly.

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