NY Times Stirs Front-Page Fear: GOP Mixing ‘Religious Fervor With Conspiracy Theories’

The New York Times did some more 2022 campaigning for the Democratic Party on Saturday’s front-page, above-the-fold story by Elizabeth Dias, the paper’s “faith and politics” reporter: “On Far Right, Devout Efforts To Get Elected.”

The online headline deck really brought the reporter’s revulsion home to the paper’s skittish liberal readership: “The Far-Right Christian Quest for Power: ‘We Are Seeing Them Emboldened’ — Political candidates on the fringe mix religious fervor with conspiracy theories, even calling for the end of the separation of church and state.”

Dias was introduced to Pennsylvania by Doug Mastriano, a controversial Republican governor candidate.

Doug Mastriano declared God’s power three weeks prior to his victory in the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania governor.

“Any free people in the house here? Did Jesus set you free?” he asked, revving up the dozens before him on a Saturday afternoon at a Gettysburg roadside hotel.

Mr. Mastriano, a state senator, retired Army colonel and prominent figure in former President Donald J. Trump’s futile efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results, was addressing a far-right conference that mixed Christian beliefs with conspiracy theories, called Patriots Arise. Instead of discussing issues such as taxes, gas prices, or abortion policy, Mastriano weaved a story about the country’s true Christian identity, and why it was important for Christians, all of us, to claim political power.

If Mastriano is so dangerous, isn’t it irresponsible for Democrats to be elevating his campaign with expensive television ads, thinking he would be easier to defeat in the general election? (h/t Tim Graham)

Dias projected Mastriano’s views onto mainstream conservative Christianity as a whole, including popular stands regarding classroom instruction on gender. Apart from Roe v Wade being overturned, Dias noted that:

….A Florida law prohibits classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in early elementary school, and Texas has issued an order to investigate parents with transgender children for possible child abuse.

She warned that:

Andrew Seidel from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an American vice president, stated that some of those who support this marginal view are already in lower-ranking elected positions, but they now seek higher office, where they have greater power.

How are they doing in state to state? They’re mostly losing, though those results are downplayed by Dias, perhaps to make the right-wing fringe appear more threatening. Dias accused “Christian nationalism” of having “encompassed extremist ideologies” in the past, making a Nazi link based on a fringe party nomination from 74 years ago, and in turn bringing in Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump gained power in large part by offering to preserve the influence of white evangelicals and their values….

Dias made a solitary trip to join dots that connected extremists of Christian identity. We learn “A sense of religious grievance is deepening in the ultraconservative wing of the Southern Baptist Convention,” and that ideological metaphors of guillotines and swords are disturbing, at least when employed by the right. (This is the same paper that glossed over non-metaphorical left-wing violence in the form of summer 2020’s BLM riots, as well as the attempted assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.)

 

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