Republican 7th District congressional candidate Dave Brat gestures as he speaks in front of his headquarters in Richmond, Va., on June 19, 2014.
Steve Helber/AP

This Week in God, 1.16.16

First up from the God Machine this week is a quote from a controversial congressman, who believes he and his like-minded allies “own” a faith tradition.
 
Rep. Dave Brat (R) is perhaps best known for his 2014 upset of then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) in a Virginia primary. But now that the far-right freshman is in Congress, Brat is adding to his political profile with bizarre remarks. Right Wing Watch reported this week:
President Obama can never seem to win with Republicans, who seem to attack him for not talking about the Bible enough and then attack him even harder when he does.
 
Take, for example, American Family Radio host Sandy Rios’ interview yesterday with Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., in which Brat expressed his anger that Obama cited Christian teachings when he criticized Republicans for their attempts to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S.
The president, Brat said, is “using the Christian tradition and he’s trying to bring about compassion by bonking Republicans over the head with the Bible. It’s almost a comedy routine on what compassion and love is.” The GOP lawmaker added that Obama is “mocking his enemies in order to compel a larger federal state using the tradition of love.”
 
The solution, Brat went on to argue, is for the conservative movement to claim moral authority over Scripture. “Our side, the conservative side, needs to reeducate its people that we own the entire tradition,” he said, adding, “If you lose the moral argument, you’ll lose the policy argument every time. We need to regain the moral argument where we’re so strong.”
 
Perhaps now would be a good time to remind Brat that the idea that a political ideology – and a member of Congress – can claim ownership of “the entire tradition” of Christian compassion seems rather ridiculous?
 
Indeed, in context, Brat’s implication was that President Obama shouldn’t cite Scripture in defense of vulnerable families at all – as if it were some kind of copyright violation.
 
Wonkette added, “We’re going to go out on a limb here and say his suggestion that somehow conservative Republicans have the market cornered on being Christlike toward the Syrian refugees is maybe just a tad questionable.”
 
Also from the God Machine this week:
 
* Anglican Church: “After 13 years of rancor over conflicting views on homosexuality, the archbishops of the Anglican Communion have voted to impose sanctions for three years on the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Communion, for its decision last summer to allow clergy to perform same-sex marriages, church officials said Thursday.”
 
* An interesting civil suit in Michigan: “A Michigan dentist who streamed contemporary Christian music in her dental office and held prayer meetings for staff members is being sued by four former employees for religious discrimination.”
 
* Seems appropriate: “David Bowie’s death has rightfully sparked a multitude of tributes, but this could be the most spine-tingling of them all. Bells at a 634-year-old church tower in the Netherlands rang out the tune of his 1969 classic ‘Space Oddity’ on Monday.”
 
 

Dave Brat, Rachel Maddow Show This Week in God and Religion

This Week in God, 1.16.16