Sharron Angle: Conservative ? Or, Theocrat ?

Sharron Angle's views about the role of religion in politics are disturbingly similar to those of people who believe that the Bible itself should be the law of the land.

As Steven Taylor noted a few days ago, Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle recently raised eyebrows when she stated that the Obama Administration was violating the First Commandment by forcing Americans to worship government rather than God. It was an odd comment to make, but, as it turns out, not so odd once you realize just what kind of religious-political beliefs Angle actually holds:

When Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle told a Christian news interviewer this year that “entitlement programs (are) built to make government our God,” she voiced a central tenet of Christian Reconstructionism, according to academics who study the movement.

Christian Reconstructionism is a political-religious movement formed in the 1960s and ’70s that seeks to return American society to the rule of biblical law. Any attempt to expand government beyond the dictates in the Old Testament — for example, by establishing Social Security benefits, education policy or property taxes — turns government into a false idol, reconstructionists believe.

(…)

Many of Angle’s religious and political beliefs appear to align with the tenets of Christian Reconstructionism. She’s supported eliminating Social Security and Medicare, is a home schooling champion, sees the separation of church and state as an unconstitutional doctrine that was never meant to protect the state from religious belief, and believes public policy should support the traditional family structure as defined in the Bible.

She also helped resurrect the Nevada affiliate of a national party founded by a prominent Christian Reconstructionist and has raised campaign money from reconstructionists.

But Ingersoll said Angle’s comments on government as a false idol come directly from the movement’s founder, R.J. Rushdoony, an orthodox Presbyterian minister.

“Since this spring you’ve had all this flap over the degree to which you might suggest Angle was influenced by the Reconstructionist movement,” Ingersoll said.

“But if you really sum up Rushdoony’s philosophy on government, that’s it. That really is it.”

But Rushdoony’s view on the role of religion in government went far beyond that:

Rushdoony’s Institutes was arguably his most influential work. In the book, he proposed that Old Testament law should be applied to modern society and that there should be a Christian theonomy, a concept developed in his colleague Greg Bahnsen‘s controversial tome Theonomy and Christian Ethics, which Rushdoony heartily endorsed. In the Institutes, Rushdoony supported the reinstatement of the Mosaic law’s penal sanctions. Under such a system, the list of civil crimes which carried a death sentence would include homosexuality, adultery, incest, lying about one’s virginity, bestiality, witchcraft, idolatry or apostasy, public blasphemy, false prophesying, kidnapping, rape, and bearing false witness in a capital case.[8] Although supporting the separation of church and state at the national level, Rushdoony understood both institutions as under the rule of God,[9] and thus he conceived secularism as posing endless false antitheses, which his massive work addresses in considerable detail. In short, he sought to cast a vision for the reconstruction of society based on Christian principles.

The book was also critical of democracy. He wrote that “the heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state … Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.” He elsewhere said that “Christianity is completely and radically anti-democratic; it is committed to spiritual aristocracy,” and characterized democracy as “the great love of the failures and cowards of life.”[5]

Just how similar are Angle’s views of the proper role of religion in government to those of Rushdoony and other Christian Reconstructionists ? It’s a fair question given Angle’s statements, and her continued refusal to answer questions about her past statements just raises more questions about her.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. wr says:

    Cue Steve Plunk: “But she’s closer to the mainstream than Reid!” Because the vast majority of Americans believe that Social Security is an affront to God…

  2. Rich says:

    I would still take her over Reid any day. He definitely needs to go. How much damage could she really do anyway? We have Obama as President and look who he sat with for 20 years and described as a mentor and family member. I am sure we could put up with her for 6 years as a junior senator till the next election to be rid of Reid.

  3. mpw280 says:

    When Obama attends a Black Liberation Theology church for 20 years nobody cares, just look the other way its not important. But a conservative of Christian belief that thinks that worshiping the government is against the first commandment, which it is for christians, and the end of the world is approaching. The end of the Union will happen because of a christian but not a black liberation theologist. Talk about over reaction. What about the closet mormon in the race, you know the one that belongs to that evil church, oh but that is when a conservative is a mormon not a liberal is a mormon. There is just another case of lefty bias in the press, make a big deal out of others being mormon but not Reid, because well you know he is a democrat.  mpw

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Why is it Doug, you have no questions for Reid?  Angle may be answering the calling of God.  It becomes pretty certain Reid is not, when one asks when is the will of the people he supposedly represents and how that matches his actions.  Doug, you the same nationality as Markos Moulitsas?  You seem to hold the truth in the same disregard.

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    Thanks for the introduction wr.
     
    The article takes one statement by Angle and then associates her with a movement.  That’s weak.  There are many secular conservatives who see government trying to instill itself as the eminent power and decision maker.  That’s what organizations do, gather and consolidate power.
     
    She would be one of a hundred senators and some people act like she’s going to install some of theocratic government.  Please, settle down and act like grown ups.  Our current president has had more controversial statements attributed to him without being labeled a kook.  This is shaping up to be just like the Sarah Palin candidacy.  Not the best candidate but not nearly as bad as those who attack her say she is.
     
    Social Security is not an affront to God regardless of what wr thinks.

  6. PD Shaw says:

    I think Christian Reconstructionism is far more radical than Ingersoll lets on.  A hot debate topic for Christian Reconstructionist is whether to legalize slavery.

    Other hot issues are whether it is permissible to execute sorcerors and unitarians through modern technology or is stoning the only way to go.

    They believe in balanced budgets and genocide, which is more radical?

  7. wr says:

    The new conservative campaign slogan: Sure, she’s an insane religious freak who believes the only proper role of government is to make sure that sluts are forced to give birth if they have sex out of marriage, but heck, she’s only one out of a hundred. And besides, who cares if she believes crazy things? Obama listened to someone who believed crazy things, and clearly there’s no difference between espousing an idea and listening to it.

  8. Herb says:

    This is why I’m not a Republican. Because when faced with the milquetoast liberal and the firebrand nutter with extremist tendencies…I prefer the milquetoast liberal. They do less damage.

  9. Rich says:

    And yet she is still a better alternative to Reid.

  10. reid says:

    “And yet she is still a better alternative to Reid.”
     
    Okay, I’m convinced.  Seriously, I’ve heard a lot of specific scary things about Angle’s extremist views, but nothing but vague assertions about how Reid (ahem) is awful and hated.  What’s so wrong with him?  And I don’t count voting for the stimulus and monkey methadone clinics as a negative.

  11. Herb says:

    “What’s so wrong with him? And I don’t count voting for the stimulus and monkey methadone clinics as a negative.”

    He doesn’t have an R next to his name. When you have an R next to your name, it doesn’t matter how bad you suck. Or so it seems….

  12. sam says:

    As, an “aristocracy” … perhaps the definitive account of the fortunes of an aristocracy in this county is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HW4mPZmKPM
    With particular attention to family values.

  13. reid says:

    Herb, that’s what I was afraid of.  Good old tribalism.

  14. wr says:

    Reid’s a fairly conservative Democrat, but since he’s the majority leader, we’re supposed to pretend he’s some flaming liberal. The Right thinks he’s Satan  because he’s gotten a few bills passed despite Republican obstruction.

  15. floyd says:

    Pearls before swine… big mistake, if for no other reason than all that squealing noise![lol]

     Pdshaw ;
          PSHAW!
    Wr;
     ong

  16. anjin-san says:

    She would be one of a hundred senators and some people act like she’s going to install some of theocratic government.  Please, settle down and act like grown ups.
    Hmm. Perhaps you could explain why she had to scrub her own website and why she went to  court to try and hide her own content from public view.

  17. tom p says:

    He wrote that “the heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state … Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.” He elsewhere said that “Christianity is completely and radically anti-democratic; it is committed to spiritual aristocracy,” and characterized democracy as “the great love of the failures and cowards of life.”[5]

    Insert Islam for Christianity, and where have I heard this before?

    Harry Ried, may or may not be as bad as you think he is, and Sharon Angle may or may not hold to the tenets of Christain Reconstructionism, but if she does, there is a question one has to ask oneself:Is Harry Ried really worse than Osama Bin Laden?

  18. wr says:

    I’m still chuckling over the right’s campaign slogan — Elect Angle, she’s only one of a hundred, how much harm can she do? Nothing I’ve seen shows the contempt for our democratic system this beautifully.

    On the other hand, it worked to elect W. Things ran so well under Clinton — even with rabid R’s trying to destroy him from day one — he could run on the platform that it didn’t matter who was in the office, so you might as well elect the guy who’s fun to have a beer with.

    I hope people are a little wiser now…

  19. Juneau: says:

    Angle is simply following the footsteps laid out by the Democrats – they just elected their version of a messiah to office. The only difference is that the one Angle follows believes in giving, not taking.

  20. Robert C. says:

    She’s an idiot bible-thumper who thinks a book of fiction should determine our laws and yous all aren’t alarmed?  Keep drinking the kool-aid.

  21. wr says:

    Good going, Juneau. When you can’t defend the Republican scumbag of the day, pull out the “messiah” card. Ooh, Dems voted for the black guy, so any moron capapble of pulling breath into her lungs is worthy of my support.

    Well, sorry, friend, I don’t believe in messiahs. I voted for Obama because I thought he was the best and smartest person running for president. Maybe you want to make a case for McCain or Hillary — knock yourself out.

    But I voted for a politician running for office. You are pledging your support to a nutjob who wants to force her political beliefs on the entire nation. And you can’t find a way to support her, except to say that people who voted for Obama are sheep.

    I doubt you’ve ever met an Obama voter. I doubt you know anyone with an IQ over 40, for that matter, so I’m sure you’re all Sarah Palin fans.

  22. Juneau: says:

    @wr
    Good going, Juneau. When you can’t defend the Republican scumbag of the day, pull out the “messiah” card.
    My comment was tongue-in-cheek.  However, rest assured I can defend everything I stand for without  breaking a sweat.  By the way, what exactly makes Angle a “scumbag?”
    You are pledging your support to a nutjob who wants to force her political beliefs on the entire nation.
    Considering the “fist-in-your-face” approach of the current administration in regards to legislation, I find your statement above highly amusing – and utterly devoid of  any self-awareness regarding how ironic and contradictory it is.

  23. Juneau: says:

    @ Robert C
    She’s an idiot bible-thumper who thinks a book of fiction should determine our laws and yous all aren’t alarmed?
    You mean the same “work of fiction” that formed the foundation for British Common Law, and therefore the basis of our judicial system?   You should do some historical lineage studies about the subject before you make sweeping statements which are verifiably unfounded.

  24. wr says:

    The “fist in your face approach”? Oh, you mean months of negotiation with the Republicans, who then vote against bills that contain everything they asked for? Grow up, little boy.