THIS WEEK IN GOD…. First up from the God Machine this week is a look at the religious right movement’s considerable interest in the midterm election cycle. While religious right groups and activists have intermixed faith and politics — often in legally dubious ways — for many years, one example this week captured the larger trend with unique salience.

The activist is David Barton, a pseudo-historian who regularly partners with deranged media personality Glenn Beck, who this week made a veiled threat of divine punishment to evangelical Christians who might be tempted to vote the “wrong” way.

David Barton has released a nearly nine minute video explaining to Christians that God will only bless this nation if we are righteous and that our national righteousness is determined by our public policies. As such, if we want God to bless our nation, we have to give him a reason to do so and that is why Christians must vote.

But not only do Christians have an obligation to vote, Barton says, but they will one day have to answer to God for exactly how they used that vote.

“One day,” Barton insists, “we’ll stand before [God] and He’ll say, ‘What did you do with that vote I gave you?’ And we’ll have to answer…. If we stand before God and He says, ‘Why did you vote for a leader who’s attempting to redefine my institution of marriage and who wills the unborn children that I knew before they were in the womb?’ If He asks us that and our answer is ‘Because that leader was good on jobs and the economy,’ He’s not going to accept that.”

Yes, David Barton feels comfortable claiming to know what his God finds acceptable and unacceptable, and then relaying that information along to the rest of us.

By the way, isn’t the implication here that Barton thinks pro-choice candidates who support marriage equality are also better stewards of the economy?

Either way, expect similar rhetoric in conservative Christian churches nationwide tomorrow.

Also from the God Machine this week:

* Still more fallout from the scandal involving the Roman Catholic Church and the sexual abuse of children: “Attorneys for nearly 150 people who claim sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests made nearly 10,000 pages of previously sealed internal church documents public Sunday, revealing at least one previously unknown decades-old case in which a priest under police investigation was allowed to leave the U.S. after the Diocese of San Diego intervened.” (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip)

* Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under Donald Rumsfeld, continues his hysterical evangelical crusade, and this week released a video claiming that the Affordable Care Act is evidence of a “Marxist insurgency” and the looming threat of “Brownshirts.”

* In preparation for a possible presidential campaign, disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is continuing to reach out to the religious right, and delivered a bizarre series of remarks this week at Liberty University, the Virginia school created by deceased radical cleric Jerry Falwell.

* Military chaplains who don’t like gays are deeply worried about the possible repeal of DADT.

* And a recent survey asked Americans about Christianity’s greatest positive and negative contribution to society in recent years. Well over a third (36%) “either did not think or could not think of any positive contributions Christianity had made.” Ouch. (thanks to D.J. for the heads-up)

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.