Onward Christian Caucus

It just occurred to me that Eric Cantor’s abrupt resignation from the House means that the much-discussed hypothetical absence of a single non-Christian Republican Member of Congress is now a reality. It’s the first time since 1955, and one of just three times since 1879, there hasn’t been a Jewish Republican in either the House or the Senate.

Yes, there could be a restoration of a Jewish presence in the House in November, though only one candidate, Lee Zeldin of New York, can be considered a lively possibility, and he’s an underdog. This has to be a bit embarrassing to a party whose main foreign policy tenet is absolute solidarity with Israel, though that’s mainly a concession to conservative evangelicals who adore the Jewish State for its role in salvation history but commonly think individual Jews are consigned to eternal damnation.

The 100% (at least nominal) Christian congressional GOP does bring to mind the argument of Willie James Jennings articulated at Religion Dispatches that the Republican Party behaves more like a congregration than a caucus these days: albeit a “counterfeit Christian community [that] worships power, desires control, and imagines the world revolving around self-sufficient men (and a few women).”

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.