Paul Ryan’s Judeo-Christian Values

NBC:

“And in these critical battleground states, it’s going to make the big difference as to whether or not people are worried about where America’s headed, worried about whether we’re going to reassert our Constitution, or whether or not we’re going to go down the path the president has put us on,” Ryan said speaking on a Faith and Freedom Coalition tele-townhall with thousands of voters across the country.  

He continued, “It’s a dangerous path, it’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western-civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.”

A Ryan campaign spokesman told NBC News about Ryan’s comments: “He was talking about issues like religious liberty and ObamaCare—topics he has mentioned frequently during the campaign.”

These are standard religious right talking points, and nothing new. (See Shalom Goldman’s history of the use of the term “Judeo-Christian” here.) Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, has a formidable get-out-the-vote machine, and has claimed his evangelical base is the key to turning the election in the Republicans’ favor. This is all about Reed whispering in Ryan’s ear, telling him how to ring alarm bells for the base. Downfall of civilization because of contraception coverage? It’s a losing argument, even among Ryan’s fellow Catholics. Mainstream Jewish and Christian groups support the contraception mandate. And besides, according to the Pew Religious Landscape Survey, 88% of Jews believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. So he might just leave off the “Judeo-” part if he were to be accurate, but he’s trying to keep the myth of a big Jewish swing to the Republicans alive.

Ryan’s not talking faith or religion here; he’s motivating voters by trying to make them panic—the religious right’s electionpocalypse

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email