Elijah, Ahab, Obama, and the Call For a New Falwell

Supplementing the growing conservative fascination with “missing white voters” who cost the GOP the 2012 elections (and whose return, it is implied, could mean better GOP performance among minorities would be unnecessary), there’s a sub-meme developing in Christian Right circles. It holds, without any particular evidence, that once again, “Christians” didn’t achieve their voting potential, which means a better mobilization of that segment of the electorate could produce future victory without GOP compromises on Culture War issues.

Check out this partial transcription of an interview of Franklin Graham by CBN’s David Brody:

David Brody: What is your message to folks who are wondering what just happened, and it looks like they feel a semi hit them?

Rev. Franklin Graham: We know that from of the statistics that I’ve heard that the majority of Christians in this country just did not vote for whatever reason. The vast majority of evangelicals did not go to the polls.

Graham: God is in control, and if Christians are upset, they need to be upset at themselves. We need to do a better job of getting our people – the Church – to vote. Now, I’m not trying to tell you how to vote, you can vote, but vote, my goodness, and vote for candidates that stand for Biblical values.

The transcript does not include a fascinating passage wherein Graham compares Obama-fearing evangelicals to the prophet Elijah fleeing from Ahab (husband of Jezebel), failing to understand initially that the Lord’s Hosts had been weakened by the failure to mobilize Jews who had refused to “bend the knee to Baal.” There’s also a characteristic identification by Graham of people who “believe in God” with those who “accept God’s statutes,” which in Christian Right terms means the whole right-wing agenda.

In a separate segment of the interview posted later, Graham tells Brody this:

We need someone like a Jerry Falwell to come back and resurrect the moral majority movement where you get people that have a moral background who are willing to come together and vote for moral issues that are important to this nation. If that would take place, we would see a great change in this country, but our country is in trouble. It’s in trouble spiritually. We’ve turned our back on God.

Just remember this little data point next time you hear that the Christian Right is disbanding and turning to more spiritual activities. Their leaders really don’t recognize the distinction between the spiritual and the political, and they will show amazing persistence in keeping up the fight against “Baal-worshipers.”

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.