“People of Faith” Want… Guns?

Today four Democrats voted with Senate Republicans to kill a bipartisan amendment that would have closed loopholes in gun laws to require background checks for gun sales. Three of the four are up for reelection in 2014. One of them is the Bible-thumping Senator from Arkansas, Mark Pryor.

Five years ago, Pryor was trotted out by Democratic activists as a great supporter of what was then a new effort: a political action committee named for a Bible verse, specifically Matthew 25. You know, the the one about caring for the least of these? Because with the families of the slaughtered children at Newtown on hand, Pryor voted to protect his own hide, so his constituents who fall for NRA lies won’t drive him out of office.

Just in case I’ve never made this clear before, legislation shouldn’t be based on the Bible. But if you’re going to co-chair the National Prayer Breakfast, and give a big speech about how pious and wonderful you and your praying Congressional colleagues are, you can’t also run around acting like a bought and paid for coward without people reaching for their Bibles to search for where you might have found the scriptural basis for your self-serving gutlessness.

“We just need to start acting better, and Jesus gives us the place to start,” was a gem from Pryor’s 2012 Prayer Breakfast speech.

As Pryor himself has said, you don’t need to pass an IQ test to serve in the United States Senate:

I don’t want to hear anymore about “people of faith” want this or want that as a liberal corrective to the religious right. How about people of reason, and people of actual compassion, not some phony religiously-inflected pabulum?

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