“Project Blitz” is the Christian Right’s multi-pronged strategy to push their faith through the government. The name referred to the idea that if Christian politicians jammed legislatures with a variety of bills promoting Christianity in various ways, some of them would eventually pass. The playbook included draft legislation that politicians could stamp their names on and submit for debate and passage. It was the result of a collaboration between the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation (a Christian law firm), and pseudo-historian David Barton‘s ProFamily Legislative Network.
There were a few specific categories of bills discussed in the playbook: Symbolic ones (like putting “In God We Trust” everywhere), pro-Christian ones (like passing “Christian Heritage Week” resolutions), and anti-everybody-else ones (like bills that allow Christian business owners to discriminate against gay customers).
A funny thing happened a couple of years ago after Project Blitz got publicized, though: The people behind it took everything offline. There was no public playbook in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 even as Christian Nationalism hit a fever pitch.
But now, Frederick Clarkson, writing for Religion Dispatches, has found the missing playbooks. It’s like getting a copy of the away team’s strategies right in your hands. Here’s what he noticed about the new plans:
… The playbooks advise legislators to cloak their religious mission in the guise of more secular intentions and they’ve renamed several bills to make them sound more appealing.
But the newly-surfaced playbooks also tell a story of the resilience of democratic institutions and leaders in the face of movements seeking to undermine or end them.
In 2020, depending on how one counts, 92 bills were introduced, 8 of which passed. In 2021, so far, 74 bills have been introduced, 14 of which have passed, according to Blitz Watch. Whether the dip in the number of bills introduced is attributable to Covid-19, the toxicity of the Project Blitz brand, or some other combination of factors is hard to say.
He also says, in addition to the categories mentioned above, the proposed legislation also includes limiting reproductive health care access for women and LGBTQ people. They also talk about getting prayer in public spaces, like school board and city council meetings.
It will be up to reasonable legislators — and their constituents — to recognize and push back against these bills when they crop up. Again, no one on the church/state separation side wants to curtail the actual religious freedom of Christians. That’s never been the goal. But this legislation uses the guise of faith to promote harmful policies that treat religious “neutrality” as a four-letter word, disparage LGBTQ people, and give preferential treatment to Christians who want to push their beliefs on everybody else.
If Muslims released a similar playbook, you’d hear about nothing else on FOX News for weeks on end. But because this is an effort by the Religious Right, it has gone under the radar. That means some of these bills and resolutions have been brought up without controversy and that may happen again in the future. We may not realize what’s happening until it’s too late.
(Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were published earlier)