No, Dave Brat, Conservatives Don’t Own the Bible

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You didn’t build that. Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek/AP/Corbis

It’s hardly news that Barack Obama can do no right in the eyes of his conservative critics. But this example really takes the cake: Dave Brat, the tea-party congressmen known for having upset then–House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 Virginia primary, is angry at the president for quoting the Bible, because conservatives “own” that holy book and the entire “tradition” surrounding it. That’s right: “own.”

Right Wing Watch reports that Brat was very plain in an interview with American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios:

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 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. He’s mocking his enemies in order to compel a larger federal state using the tradition of love.”

He said that the conservative movement “needs to reeducate its people that we own the entire tradition” of Christian love, because liberal professors “have rejected natural law” and religious ideas.

The idea here is that because some Ivy League professors had repudiated “natural law” tenets that people like Brat have imported into Christianity (not to mention the Constitution), those Brat chooses to associate with said professors are barred from quoting the Bible or, presumably, calling themselves Christian. Good thing we have Brat to avoid the travesty of anyone arguing that Jesus Christ wouldn’t have met those refugees at the border with an assault rifle. I guess there could be some friction with the 36 million or so Americans who attend the churches of the “liberal” Protestant denominations, or the roughly half of U.S. Catholics who aren’t conservatives, or the untold number of non-conservatives who attend conservative churches — or, for that matter, liberal Jews who for some strange reason feel they might “own” the Hebrew Scriptures more than Dave Brat does. But I guess we’ll all get over it and hand over the Judeo-Christian tradition in this country to those who are so sure they “own” it. 

Tea-Party Pol Attacks Obama for Quoting Bible