The Hoosier Theocrats

Sometimes, what’s intended as dark humor isn’t very funny.

During a discussion with a cousin who shares most of my political views, I admitted that the possibility of a Trump victory–especially now that the Supreme Court has eviscerated the rule of law–keeps me up at night. He counseled me to dial it back, to live with what comes. “And besides, we won’t have to worry for long, because they’ll line the Jews up and shoot us.”

Ha ha.

The folks that the late Molly Ivins dubbed the “chattering classes” are mostly focused on the very real threat of autocracy, of dictatorship should Trump prevail. Fair enough: the MAGA base doesn’t really have a coherent philosophy other than their firm belief that White Christian men should run the country and all we “Others” should go back to subordinate status (or–in the case of gay folks– the closet). Less attention has been paid to the theocrats in the movement–those who do have a specific and frighteningly clear agenda that revolves around using government to impose their fundamentalist religious beliefs on everyone else.

That First Amendment is so last century….

Here in Indiana, the Republican statewide ticket is uniformly theocratic; Micah Beckwith, candidate for Lieutenant Governor and Jim Banks, candidate for U.S. Senate, are “true believers.” Mike Braun, the gubernatorial candidate, hasn’t demonstrated any core beliefs other than his obviously firm conviction that he’s entitled to be important–apparently, he’ll happily echo whatever policy positions are most likely to win him public office, much like our embarrassing Attorney General, Todd Rokita, who is running for a second term. Rokita has made pandering to the MAGA base into an art form. In Indiana, since pandering requires obeisance to the MAGA theocrats, the entire ticket can legitimately be labeled theocratic.

How concerned should we be?

In a recent opinion piece in the Indianapolis Star, James Briggs considered a question posed by a reader: “how scary is Micah Beckwith.” His response:

I caution against treating political figures as scary. There’s enough to worry about in life without catastrophizing politicians.

That said, the media, myself included, have correctly framed Beckwith as an extreme figure on the right. He is an avowed Christian nationalist who believes in harnessing political and governmental power to enact an agenda in line with his rigid interpretation of Christianity. He’s also uniquely effective at pursuing that agenda, in large part because he has charisma and communication skills honed by his work as a pastor.

Briggs argued that, in the event the GOP wins Indiana in November, what Hoosiers have to worry about, “in order of greatest to least probability,” are

  • State government will get worse.
  • Beckwith will embarrass Indiana.
  • Laws could get more extreme.
  • Beckwith could become governor.

It’s hard to believe our legislature could get worse….

As Briggs notes, elective office means a wider audience. “When Beckwith says crazy things going forward — like that God sent the Jan. 6 rioters — people across the U.S. will hear about it and assume Indiana is just a bunch of Beckwiths. That’s embarrassing.”

Yes, Beckwith is a true believer and a loose cannon, but Jim Banks isn’t far behind.

Known as Focus on the Family’s man in Washington, when he isn’t using loose fundraising rules to amass personal wealth, Banks uses his position as a Congressman to pursue decidedly theocratic goals. He wants a “godly country” where federal law bans all abortions, with none of those wimpy exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother, and other laws reflect his vicious ongoing vendetta against LGBTQ+ people and especially trans children.

Well, at least Beckwith and Banks are sincere fundamentalist theocrats.

I have repeatedly posted about Todd Rokita, Indiana’s despicable Attorney-General. In his case, devotion to MAGA theocracy is transparently based upon political utility–my guess is that if he were to be politically active in a Blue state, his positions would align with those of Bernie Sanders. Of course, he isn’t in a Blue state, so he has consistently demonstrated his fidelity to the Beckwith/Taliban portion of the Republican party, hounding the doctor who performed an abortion on a ten-year-old rape victim, making an effort to obtain women’s private medical records, and endorsing a variety of far-Right, theocratic positions.

Indiana is often characterized as a state where voters will vote for a rutabaga if it has an R next to its name. In November, we’ll see whether that flippant description holds, or whether the extremely autocratic and theocratic positions of the GOP candidates causes Hoosier voters to turn to the competent, middle-of-the-road candidates nominated by Indiana’s Democrats.

I’ll post evidence of their bona fides after the Democratic state convention.


  1. grifting, check. religious mandates,check. magatine,check. big mouth,check. sounds like most right wing govs. when back when, most politicians would resign and walk away with their tails between their legs. now its seeing who can chalk up the most rad off the wall crap. weve become a nation of grifters and con people. where other nations who support democracy,we are being seen with caution. NATO is in the crosshairs and Ukraine fails if trumps mob comes stormin in. the mention of shooting the jews,well, internment in a economic slavery to the rightwing rich,and wall streets greed seems more likely. after reading rubios slant on the heritage pro 2025, seems he delibertly is lying his ass off, as well as every other rightwing hired ons in congress. i believe of your running for office in the rightwing caucus, the your mandated to be alec/heritage alumni. rubio believes we have little minds… as far as commecial media, turn it off, tell the sponsors to GFT. and read where jouranlists write honest fact and tell,it like it is.. best wishes. i believe trump hasnt a pray in hell of winning. and maybe some jail time would send a message..

    bumper sticker

    round three

  2. All of those Rutabagas with the “R” in front of their names continue to have the right to believe whatever they choose to save their souls and their elections. The rest of us have lost our claims, for ourselves only, to retain civil, human and voting rights as the “Rs” continued disposing of sections of the Constitution by using their Constitutional rights with the goal of destroying that Constitution. They are making a mistake to believe they will always be supported by the Rutabagas at the top; loyalty is not part of their nature. But how many of us here on the blog be around to watch it happen?

  3. Speaking of chattering classes … How about that idiotic display of story mining by the WH press corps yesterday? The SO want a Biden/Harris story to sell more papers and airtime as to be openly disgusting.

    Maybe “chattering” about how to not only get Biden re-elected, but to get the backward rutabagas (I love it) the hell away from government at every level. Let’s chatter about how we’re going to do that – irrespective of Todd’s oligarch knee-jerks.

  4. I’m afraid I have to disagree with Briggs: “I caution against treating political figures as scary. There’s enough to worry about in life without catastrophizing politicians.”

    If Trump wins, we better be scared because we will get four years of Project 2025 and probably another jurist to SCOTUS. Life in a Red State will not be pretty, and there isn’t anything in our lives that won’t be touched by the Theocratic Fascists.

    In reading on P2025, I followed one of their contributors, Claremont Institute in CA, although its top leadership has now moved to Idaho and Texas to form “colonies” of like-minded members – women, gays, and minorities need not apply.

    The Wikipedia description of this group mentioned Charles Hayword of Carmel, IN. Sheila had mentioned him before on this website. He’s a typical right-wing lunatic (men-only) who even scares Glenn Beck. Haywood predicts “that the United States government will collapse, and he expressed his desire to become a “warlord” of what he calls an “armed patronage network.”

    I’m not sure if Hoosier politicians are just performative idiots (Rokita) or if they believe this stuff. If R’s believe in taking down the government (quietly), it sure makes their ridiculous policies start to make sense. Their hate for all things Leftist should be a concern for every American, considering we have called China and Russia “adversaries” while both have nuclear weapons. What’s the end game with China and Russia? Are R’s looking to thin the herd?

  5. Where are the decent Republicans who not long ago were in leadership positions? Please stand up.
    Where are the business leaders? Please stand up.
    The radical Christians will harm us all.

  6. trump and rubio et al backing off any knowledge of 2025 is as openly ludicrous as any and all of those trump SCOTUS nominees declaring their adherence to settled law with reference to Roe in questioning by the Senate’s advice and consent prior to their becoming justices.

  7. If those Republicans who served in tfg’s administration and now say he shouldn’t ever get near the Oval office again get more vocal and endorse Biden, especially the former generals, I don’t think tfg would have a chance.

  8. James H poses a question I’ve been waiting to hear answered. Where are the business leaders? Too afraid to speak up? Do we think the workforce will wait to be rounded up? If Trump is anointed in November will all the working folks in the crosshairs stick around for the coronation in January? Business leaders need to speak up, or at least be asked in a forum where all can hear the answers to ‘what happens to your business if 11 million people are rounded up?’

  9. For those of us who have been confused by the Democrats who have turned on President Biden and Vice President Harris; I had a Richard Belzer conspiracy theory moment this morning and found what I believe to be the answer and their agenda for the future of America. Indiana will play a major part in this right-wing conspiracy with Beckwith, Banks, Braun and Rokita playing major roles and moving up to he federal level in the Rutabaga Monarchy.

    The Democrats appear to believe the 2024 election is lost so will make no real attempt to save it, with or without Biden and Harris or anyone else; they know they cannot possibly wage a winning presidential campaign in 4 months time. They are planning on losing and looking to 2028 when Trump can’t be allowed to run again (once he ends the Constitution and we become a Monarchy); they plan on a Democratic return and can then say to America, “We tried to tell you about Trump but you refused to listen!” I haven’t figured out how they can accomplish this with no Constitution, no rights and King Trump will reign by saying “Off with their heads!”

    I wasn’t enlightened with the answer to the question as to who would be lined up after the Jews to be shot; the list is long and many of their own supporters will be among them once they have run out of being of use to them. I was a fan of Richard Belzer when he began in show business as a stand-up comedian; maybe this election is all a sick joke…which America is fast becoming on the global stage.

  10. When white Christian nationalists and fundamentalist Christians ‘say crazy things going forward — like that God sent the Jan. 6 rioters —‘ why don’t we hear from the religious leaders, the heads of churches, say, and even off-shoots of them? Is this the theocratic construct they believe followers of Christ should line up with? No wonder the NONES are growing in number.

  11. JoAnn, I find it hard to believe that last point of yours, that the Dems have, essentially, given up. Maybe I’m a Pollyanna, maybe not.
    I see that a couple of folks here have mentioned Rubio’s name. He is on the short list for tfg’s vp pick. He is on the short list for tfg’s vp pick? He, who has been called the least effective senator? Perfect.
    I’m sorry, Indiana, but Rubio’s cozying up to tfg’s rectum will make pence look like an amateur!

  12. Get rid of the check one box ballot. Tell me something I don’t already know. Morales is right up there also. Dems need a candidate that gets out into the rural areas and speak truth about how Republicans are NOT helping the rural areas.

  13. Yesterday I referenced “A Fever in the Heartland” by Timothy Egan. It is an actual clear historic record of what life might be like in Indiana, in the United States, if Project 2025, and our own version of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse gain power. Even in the face of the leader of the movement, a savage murderer, going to trial failed to keep a KKK slate from being elected in local elections. The comparisons to what is happening today are stark in demonstrating how easily our democracy can be lost.

  14. For those who haven’t seen it yet today, Trump has formulated his own GOP Platform instead of assuming P2025.

    He’s going to build an iron dome over the entire country and finish building his border wall. His plans all cost more money, including continuing tax breaks for the wealthy. The Middle Class will pay more in payroll taxes (this was deferred from the original tax cuts by Trump).

    He’s also nationalizing an ethics class for high school kids, which should make Sheila happy.

    One of my favorites is:

    “President Trump’s economic policy to end Inflation and return Manufacturing Jobs is not only what the American Economy and American Workers need right now, it is also what they want right now.”

    Hmm, is he going to slam corporations to quit price-gouging consumers?

    Lots of platitudes raise more questions than they provide answers to. Here is the GOP/Trump Plan:

  15. Mitch D; House and Senate Democrats are still discussing whether to back him or not, some are directly asking him to drop out of the race. All that President Biden has accomplished in the past year and a half will be wiped out the first day Trump is in office. President Biden and Vice President Harris cannot win this election without full backing of the Democratic party and they do not have that at this time. General Election ballots are waiting for official notice that Biden and Trump are the presidential candidates; Trump is assured of his position. Reports of constituents to sitting Democrats are supporting them and I will continue to do so. The Democrats have done more to lose this election since June 27th than Republicans have, Trump reportedly isn’t even bothering to comment on the situation. He doesn’t need to.

    President Obama warned the Democrats during the 2020 election campaign not to put themselves in a circular firing squad position…the exact situation we are watching as NATO is here waiting to see if the Democrats are going to yell “FIRE!”

  16. Here in Indiana seems like democrats are like canaries in a cave. The outlook here is influenced by the restrictive republican tight hold and can only get worse if they take the election. Other states that have progressive Governors and officials’, people aren’t experiencing such doom and gloom. If the rest of the country doesn’t listen to the canary in the cave of all red states, then the fog of authoritarian doom could descend on their blue states if trump wins.

  17. The Democrats and bipartisans are pushing harder to oust President Biden, Dems are against Kamala and we have heard no possible nominee names yet. With SCOTUS at the helm of all branches of government there is now the possibility they could appoint Johnson to the White House. Nothing in the Constitution to stop them.

  18. Mitch, just wanted to remind everyone that the Constitution requires the President and VP to be from different states. Dick Cheney had to move back to Wyoming. Maybe Little Marco can move back to Cuba?

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