Shot And Chaser: Barry Goldwater Was Right Edition

Barry Goldwater saw what the so-called "religious right" would become decades ago.


“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.


There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.'” – Barry Goldwater, prophet.


One of Donald Trump’s most prominent Christian supporters will argue in a book due out before the 2020 general election that American evangelicals “have a moral obligation to enthusiastically back” the president.

The book’s author, Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed, became a loyal foot soldier for Trump immediately after he nabbed the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 — commanding hordes of white evangelical voters from his perch on the candidate’s religious advisory board to trust that the New York businessman would grow the economy, defend religious freedom and dismantle federal protections for abortion, if elected.

According to the book’s description, obtained by POLITICO, the original title for the book was “Render to God and Trump,” a reference to the well-known biblical verse, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” The message from Jesus in Matthew 22, has been used in contemporary politics to justify obedience to government — or in the case of Reed’s book, to Trump.

Regnery Publishing confirmed the book’s existence but said the title is “For God and Country: The Christian case for Trump.” The publisher declined to comment on the reason for the title change.

In his book, Reed will “persuasively” argue evangelicals have a duty to defend the incumbent Republican leader against “the stridently anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and pro-abortion agenda of the progressive left,” according to the description.

He will also rebut claims by religious and nonreligious critics that white evangelical Protestants “revealed themselves to be political prostitutes and hypocrites” by overwhelmingly backing Trump, a twice-divorced, admitted philanderer, in 2016.

“Critics charge that evangelical Trump supporters … have so thoroughly compromised their witness that they are now disqualified from speaking out on moral issues in the future,” the description reads.

Reed, who once said Trump’s comments about women in the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape were low on his “hierarchy of concerns,” belongs to an informal group of evangelical leaders — including Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jeffress and Paula White — who have become some of the president’s most devoted fans and vocal defenders since he took office. They have cast his foray into politics as divinely inspired; equated him to biblical figures such as Esther, an Old Testament heroine; and frequently cited Scripture to rationalize his most controversial policies — actions that other religious scholars and leaders have found particularly cringeworthy.

“I think evangelical efforts would be far better spent critiquing their own shortcomings than sanctifying a president,” said Matthew Rowley, a research associate with the Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies at Clare College.

You were more correct than you realized, Senator

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Politicians, Religion, 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


  1. Kathy says:

    [..]the original title for the book was “Render to God and Trump,”[..]

    That title is not only a gross blasphemy, but it completely misunderstands the meaning of the Biblical phrase it attempts to reference.

  2. Slugger says:

    The hardening of the position of the fundamentalists may simply reflect their declining number of adherents.
    As participation declines, the casual followers stop following first. This leaves the hard-core in charge. They might seek influence and allies wherever they can.

  3. Jay L Gischer says:

    See, now the thing that I always wonder about is just how is it that Trump is going to roll back abortion? Just what has he done on that line, and what will he do?

    I think this whole thing is a con job. I think Casey is very settled law (Thank you Justice Stevens!)

    I say this understanding that some people’s opposition to abortion is entirely sincere and deeply held. I don’t think that’s true of Trump. I’m not sure it’s true for Jerry Falwell, Jr, or Brett Kavanaugh, for that matter.

  4. CSK says:

    One of the pastors (I forget which) explained the fundies’ love for Trump this way: “We tried the nice, moral guys and they got us nowhere. At least a dirty guy like Trump will fight for us.”

    No. He’ll hump you and dump you, eventually.

  5. grumpy realist says:

    @Jay L Gischer: What causes me to snort is the number of so-called “religious people” who are perfectly happy to support the adulterous lying Trump for the sake of a possible maybe-we’ll-get-abortion-outlawed-down-the-road gambit.

    Shows exactly how seriously they actually measure adultery and lying as sins. As the old joke ends: “what you are has already been established–now we’re just haggling over the price.”

  6. Teve says:

    Roe and Casey are dead men walking.

  7. Scott says:

    The radical Christian right are exercising minority rule in this country right now. In foreign policy, zealots like Pence and Pompeo are End Times Christian death cultists determined to get us into a bloody war with Iran. The court packing of judges are not “constitutional conservatives” but theological authoritarians who will use the machinery of government to impose their beliefs. This country is not in a good place right now.

  8. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist: Some of them purport to believe that every bad thing you’ve heard about Trump is a lie invented by the haters, libturds, and the MSM. Ridiculous, but it’s the only way they can assuage their consciences.

  9. al Ameda says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I think this whole thing is a con job. I think Casey is very settled law (Thank you Justice Stevens!)

    Con job? I do not think that Roe or Casey is settled at all.
    I they’re both settled law for now.
    I happen to believe that this Supreme Court will begin upholding various restrictive laws in the states, that is, they will effectively turn abortion rights into a states’ rights situation.

  10. David S. says:

    A YouTuber who goes by Maggie Mae Fish posted this yesterday, about the Christian movie “I’m In Love With a Church Girl”, which first explains how these films are meant evangelical propaganda pieces, and then moves onto actually exploring the message of the movie: people who perform Christianity are meant to be above the law:

  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    Funny how the mutation of American conservatism has liberals, both classical and American progressives pining for conservatives like Goldwater and Reagan.

  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    The problem is that Goldwater initiated the Southern Strategy that made such a takeover inevitable.

  13. Pylon says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    There is no “settled law” for SCOTUS. Stare decisis is given lip service, but doesn’t exist at that level. And even if it did, there are always end runs.

    I do agree Trump’s position is completely for convenience and is not belief based. In fact, I’d put a fair amount of money on a wager that Trump has funded an abortion in his time.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If this keeps going, you’ll see liberals missing Bush the younger.

    But there is an important point. Democracies work best when there is a diversity of ideological positions, underpinned by agreed-upon fundamentals. No one is right all the time, and everyone is blind, to an extent, to their own biases and prejudices.

    In the US entrenched two-party system, this has often meant factions within “big tent” parties. Primary elections have slowly eroded this, as the party bases have come to dominate. So while the electorate may remain diverse, the elected politicos have to pander to an ever more radical base. Essentially fanatics are taking over the parties. This can be seen more clearly on the GOP side, perhaps because the base is exclusionary.

    The Democratic base is far more inclusive, which is always a good thing, a moderating influence, even. but I don’t relish the thought of fanatics taking over that party. it won’t be pretty.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    I’m not sure that I would call the Dem base inclusive, but the party is an amalgamation of interest groups that is willing to lend support to other groups in order to receive support for their own narrow interest. This does have a moderating effect on the overall party.

  16. Jay L Gischer says:

    @al Ameda:

    I happen to believe that this Supreme Court will begin upholding various restrictive laws in the states, that is, they will effectively turn abortion rights into a states’ rights situation.

    You, and other commenters on this thread with similar views, could well be right, and I have misread the situation. But I recall finding a quote by Kavanaugh himself, back in the days when he worked for Ken Starr along the lines of “we could tell them we’re going to overturn abortion”. That is not exactly the thing someone says who really believes.

    I’m quite certain that someone is getting scammed. Maybe it’s the evangelicals, maybe it’s the other Republicans, the kind who want lower taxes and less regulation and a free hand for their mega-corporation, who would rather keep abortion available who are getting scammed.

    You are familiar with the type of person who says its “settled law”, I think. You just don’t believe them, and I get that. However, I think a lot of those people think like Goldwater, and just aren’t that interested in being dictated to by religious people who have their orders from God. They aren’t about to roll over for the evangelicals, whom they probably privately think of as nutjobs.

    But yeah, I could be wrong. I just note that during the times during the last 20 years when the R’s controlled all three branches, they didn’t really advance the cause much, did they?

  17. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: I would demur a little bit. I think that Dems are in fact more unified on policy than Republicans are. Dems pretty much all agree on things like universal health care, progressive taxation, and civil rights.

    The thing that Republicans agree on, and there’s only one thing as far as I can tell, is that they hate Democrats/liberals. That’s it. I’ve had them brag to me about what a big tent their party is, how diverse it is ideologically, and I kind of agree with them. You can advance any opinion at all on Republican message board, as long as you first insult liberals. That’s the key to the kingdom. It’s the sort of thing Steven mentions when he says people vote more on identity than on policy.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    Goldwater says, “But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. ”

    Daniel McCarthy came up last Sunday in a post by Dr. Joyner, The End of Consensus. I have, in these threads, quoted a piece by McCarthy in 2009 in The American Conservative, What Would Burke Do? He talks about conservatives as High Church or Low Church. I’m not sure there are any High Church conservatives anymore, but McCarthy described five characteristics of Low Church Conservatives. My brief summary:

    1. Values faith over works. What counts is intentions and what’s in the heart. Which can’t be known, so professions of purity suffice.
    2. Anti-clericalism. Limbaugh carries greater authority than Russell Kirk or Bill Kristol. Limbaugh has been affirmed by the congregation.
    3. Cultural separatism. “conservative” movies, Conservepedia, FOX News, etc.
    4. “the eschaton is imminent”. Every political battle, no matter how trivial, is a part of the final conflict between light and darkness.
    5. Right makes might. “Moral truth is easily known, and nothing should stand in the way of its application in policy.”

    Is this not spot on? 4. and 5. account for the unwillingness to compromise. But McCarthy is not describing Evangelicals. It’s a conservative thing.

  19. An Interested Party says:

    Are there any prominent Republicans left who aren’t religious or who don’t lean on it a lot…I mean, of course Trump is a heathen but I guess these evangelicals like cozying up to the Antichrist…

    The court packing of judges are not “constitutional conservatives” but theological authoritarians who will use the machinery of government to impose their beliefs.

    Hence why Democrats need to start packing the courts as soon as they are able to…

  20. Teve says:



    As a former physics person my favorite conservapedia entry is this one:


    E=mc² asserts that the energy (E) in an unmoving particle is equal to the square of the speed of light (c²) times the mass (m) of that particle.[1] The complete form, when applied to moving objects, is E²=(mc²)²+(pc)², where p represents momentum,[2] It is a statement that purports to relate all matter to energy. In fact, no theory has successfully unified the laws governing mass (i.e., gravity) with the laws governing light (i.e., electromagnetism), and numerous attempts to derive E=mc² from first principles have failed.[3] Political pressure, however, has since made it impossible for anyone pursuing an academic career in science to even question the validity of this nonsensical equation. Simply put, E=mc² is liberal claptrap.

    The formula asserts that the mass of an object, at constant energy, magically varies precisely in inverse proportion to the square of a change in the speed of light over time,[4] which violates conservation of mass and disagrees with commonsense.[5]

    the stable geniusness continues here

  21. grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: Oooh….I wonder what these brilliant geniuses think is the critical mass of plutonium….?

    Snicker. And probably KA-BOOM!

  22. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: Phyllis Schlafly’s idiot kid Andy is behind that site.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Good gawd. What’s their problem? Do they see it as “Jewish physics”?

  24. steve says:

    If you read the religious conservatives like Dreher they are in an absolute panic. They are convinced they are going to be persecuted for their beliefs and not allowed to practice their faith. Only Trump stands between them and a trip to the coliseum with the lions.


  25. DrDaveT says:


    They are convinced they are going to be persecuted for their beliefs and not allowed to practice their faith.

    Speaking as someone who was raised a Southern Baptist, this makes no sense at all to me. It is not persecution to be prohibited from being mean to people. Being mean to people is not a mandatory sacrament of any Christian faith. Self-described Christians need to be confronted with this.

  26. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: IDK. I know why some conservatives get into evolution denial and climate change denial, relativity denial is a weird one.

  27. joe Martinez says:

    @Sleeping Dog: When people get nostalgic for Nixon, America is in real trouble

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Maybe it ties into their denial of the Big Bang? Weird.

  29. Marc Parella says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Of course they are pinning. Goldwater stood for ideals few Conservatives now promote, like diversity of ideas, conscience, and integrity in public office. Another remarkable prediction Goldwater made was when he was on Firing Line back in 1966. He predicted the abuse of the Office of President exactly for the reasons we see today.

  30. Stormy Dragon says:


    It should be noted that when Conservapedia was announced, a lot of non-conservatives found it hilarious and signed up to write ridiculous articles as a way of mocking conservatives. So there’s a Poe’s Law issue that makes it nearly impossible to determine how much of the stuff in an article such as the one you quote is actually believed by conservatives and how much of it is people trolling conservatives.

  31. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: that is true, and I even know a guy who got booted for futzing with some of their pages.

    The E=mc² is liberal claptrap page has been mocked for a decade and they responded by doubling down and expanding it–when it was first posted it was like one paragraph long. I think Andy himself wrote that entry because I’ve seen him use phrases like “liberal abortion evolution claptrap” and one time when it was mocked he replied:

    No Nobel Prize has been given for this implausible formula, so no meaningful experimental verification of it has occurred. There is utterly no logical explanation for the formula. It’s in the realm of science fiction at best, and not as good as other types of science fiction.–Andy Schlafly

    Unfortunately basically everyone, friend and foe, lost interest in conservapedia and it stalled years ago.

    ETA: have you ever seen a sequitur so non in your life as “No Nobel Prize has been given for this implausible formula, so no meaningful experimental verification of it has occurred.”? There is no planet on which that makes any sense.

  32. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: Anti-evolution Catholics like Denyse O’Leary have actually turned it around and claimed that the Big Bang proves christianity. Georges Lemaitre blah blah blah.

    It doesn’t matter what you find. If you find x, creationists will claim it proves God. If you find not x, creationists will claim that proves God. They’ve got their answer, and the evidence must always be bent in its support.