Regular readers of Church & State are familiar with the Religious Right's new effort called Project Blitz (See "Bracing for the Blitz," November 2018 Church & State and "Blasting Back at the Blitz," March 2019 Church & State).
Project Blitz is the creation of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation and operates in partnership with WallBuilders, headed by Christian nationalist David Barton; and the National Legal Foundation, which was created by TV preacher and Religious Right figure Pat Robertson.
The project promotes Christian nationalist-oriented legislation in state legislatures, some of it subtle, such as bills authorizing so-called "Bible literacy" courses and the posting of "In God We Trust" in public schools; and in other cases bills that are more revealing of its agenda to affirm the Religious Right's vision of a Christian America, such as protecting "conversion therapy" aimed at members of the LGBTQ community.
Minneapolis' City Pages called Project Blitz a "Christian nationalist [legislative] bill factory" after the Minnesota Senate passed an "In God We Trust" bill last year. City Pages is correct: Project Blitz's 148-page playbook contains 21 model bills and was distributed to 750 state legislators last year. Many of these legislators are conservative Christians who have organized their own state prayer caucuses to promote this Christian nationalist agenda.
Recently, I personally experienced the power and wrath of a state prayer caucus. In March, I gave two presentations as part of the Minnesota Historical Society's History Forum, an annual lecture series that brings scholars from around the country to Minnesota for an exploration of U.S. history and its relevance to modern life.
The Minnesota Historical Society invited me to give lectures on my 2015 book, Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding. It was published by Oxford University Press, the world's leading academic publisher, and has received widespread acclaim for its scholarly and balanced examination of this issue.
Before I could give those lectures, members of the Minnesota Prayer Caucus got wind of the invitation and tried to derail my appearance. In a series of letters to the Minnesota Historical Society, the Caucus objected to my upcoming lectures, calling my book biased and one-sided --though admitting they had not read it--and demanding that the Society cancel the events.
According to one letter signed by 25 state senators and...