Surprise! Michele Bachmann is a Religious Rightist

The Daily Beast reports today that Michele Bachmann, the queen bee of congressional tea partiers, is also a conservative Christian, mentored by Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women for America.

Bachmann’s religiosity is not a news flash by any stretch of the imagination — Bachmann has long been a favorite on the Values Voters Summit platform, and a prominent promoter of “Christian” government, arbiter of “normal people values,” and purveyor of religious right conspiracy theories. But in the current reporting environment, figures like Bachmann are portrayed as tea partiers first, and then the reporter looks beneath for the religion.

But Bachmann’s trajectory in fact provides yet more anecdotal evidence for the findings of the Public Religious Research Institute poll: she is a creature of the religious right, one uniquely poised to seize the tea party moment.

The Daily Beast blandly notes:

Despite her impressive fundraising, Bachmann remains anything but your usual politician. Her deep Christian values have guided her career and home life. Bachmann and her husband have five biological children and have had 23 foster children in their home, all teenage girls.

But the roots are far, far more political than that:

Beverly LeHaye said Bachmann got her start when she received a letter in the mail from LeHaye’s group, Concerned Women for America, a conservative, pro-life, women’s organization.

Bachmann shares those CWA roots with tea party activists at the Values Voters Summit, as well as with Christine O’Donnell. But calling CWA “a conservative, pro-life, women’s organization” obscures what ties the tea party and religious right together.

LaHaye, and her husband Tim, author of the Left Behind series, are not just major figures in the founding of the political apparatus of the religious right; they are major figures in promoting the conspiracy theories about socialism, communism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Christianism that animate both the religious right and the tea party. When Bachmann talks about the United States headed toward a “one-world currency,” it’s straight out of a LaHaye-esque fantasy about the end-times. When she ponders the alleged anti-Americanism of Barack Obama, it’s straight out Tim’s fears — before the 2000 election — about the “anti-Christian, anti-moral, and anti-American philosophy” that is “antithetical to the bible” and which “flies under the banner of ‘liberalism,’ but in reality it is atheistic socialism at best and Marxism at worst.” When she introduces legislation to allow sectarian, Christian prayer in the military, she’s fulfilling of Beverly’s dream that “Christian values should dominate our government” because “politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.” That’s Bachmann, guided by “her deep Christian values.”

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