“Jesus, Guns, Babies” are the three words you need to know if you want to understand the ideology and rationalizations of the modern GOP, which is now a radicalized and weaponized movement seeking to create and impose a white Christian utopia in America and abroad.
“Jesus Guns Babies” is the campaign slogan of Kandiss Taylor, a Republican candidate for Governor in Georgia, who was also an educator for over two decades and doesn’t believe in commas. In fact, the ethos of “Jesus Guns Babies” was recently further expanded upon by Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who is running the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in his publicly derided 11-point plan to “save America.” His brilliant vision devotes separate bullet points for God, guns (the second amendment), and, of course, babies and the promotion of a nuclear, heterosexual family, which he believes is “crucial to civilization.” Apparently, he also believes in hurting those very same families with increased taxes and killing off Medicare and Social Security, which explains why his plan was greeted like a wet fart in the wind.
Taylor’s three-word campaign slogan went viral last week on Twitter and was the subject of much well-earned mockery. However, it’s unwise for the majority to simply ignore it and Scott’s plan as a silly punchline of the week and an example of the right-wing fringe. Instead, they efficiently and exquisitely capture the motivations of white Christian nationalism, which according to the contributors of a blistering and important new report released in February, was used to “bolster, justify and intensify the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol” and is a portent of future violence and political unrest.
You have to understand Christian nationalism to both understand the modern right-wing movement and their admiration for brutal authoritarian Russian leader Vladimir Putin. When Lauren Witzke, the Delaware GOP’s candidate for Senate in 2020, says, “I identify more with Putin’s Christian values than I do with Joe Biden,” and praises “his Christian nationalist nation” during the week where Russia illegally invaded Ukraine, it behooves us to take these statements literally and seriously.
Let’s break down each part of the three-word slogan to see how it connected the modern conservative movement and its embrace of a zero-sum power struggle to replace a multiracial democracy with a romanticized white Christian utopia that exists in their fevered imagination.
You might know him as the Messiah, the son of God, a prophet of God, or an enlightened and selfless radical who defied the oppressive powers of his time to champion the rights and dignity of the poor and marginalized. For the right-wing, he’s the ideal mascot for their political movement and forever culture war, a hype man sent from the Heavens who rubber stamps their ensuing cruelty, which is justified as necessary to save them, the real victims, from the oppressive secular “Deep State” which seeks to replace them.
This is manifested clearly in Rick Scott’s 11-point plan to “save America,” where he promises that when Republicans regain power, “Americans will be free to welcome God into all aspects of our lives,” and they will fight back against the “new religion of wokeness that is increasingly hostile toward of people of faith, particularly Christians and Jews.” There is no mention of Muslims, who endured a literal ban during Trump, or other religious minority groups, which means only some Americans “will be free” in this utopia.
However, that’s all part of the plan. According to Christian nationalism, America is a “Christian nation,” divinely favored by God, and whose enduring success is due to white, Christian men like Rick Santorum and his ancestors who “birthed this nation from nothing” and brought forth civilization, progress, and freedom as part of their Manifest Destiny. The rest of us, apparently, are tenants, who should be grateful we’ve been given some living space and super-sized menu options.
Unfortunately, this increasingly radicalized movement is mobilized to use violence to impose their perverse vision on the majority according to the report “Christian Nationalism and the January 6 Insurrection,” which documents how Christian nationalist symbols and references were ubiquitous at the insurrection. In fact, two-thirds of white Americans who strongly support Christian ideology believe the big lie, and 40 percent of them believe that violence might be necessary to save the country.
By using Jesus and God, white Christian nationalists have rationalized every perversity and sin, such as slavery, which explicitly runs afoul of Jesus’ teachings and conduct. This also explains their fervent support for Donald Trump, a corrupt vulgarian who has probably read Mein Kampf more than the Bible. That doesn’t bother MAGA, because to them Trump is a “modern-day Cyrus,” the flawed Persian pagan king, whom God nonetheless used as an instrument to fulfill his Divine will and fight against his enemies.
Similarly, Putin of Russia is also a “lion of Christianity,” which is how Bryan Fischer, a former spokesman of the American Family Association, once described the brutal murderer who poisons his critics and steals his country’s wealth. Evangelical leader Franklin Graham met with Putin in 2017 and praised him for protecting traditional Christianity. Putin is doing that by cracking down on LGTBQ rights, defending traditional marriage, promoting gun rights, and protecting Western civilization from Islam. During a discussion on Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, Steve Bannon and Blackwater founder Erik Prince praised Putin’s homophobic policies, saying, “Putin ain’t woke. He is anti-woke.”
In order to save Western Christian civilization, you need a political movement, but you also need a weapon.
The Pope is Catholic. Water is wet. Republicans love their guns, and the Second Amendment is apparently the 11th Commandment. We don’t need to belabor the obvious. Even though Jesus wasn’t known to open carry, guns have historically been the weapon of choice for white Christian men to maintain their vicious, brutal supremacy over Black and indigenous people in America. Every election, GOP politicians scare their base into thinking liberals will take away their guns, and by extension their freedoms, when the majority simply attempts to introduce common-sense gun reform in a country where school shooting drills are normalized due to the prevalence of mass shootings. Naturally, Scott devoted one of his 11 points to reiterate that any “attempt to deny our 2nd Amendment freedoms” would be rejected by the GOP and he ominously concluded, the GOP “will defend our gun rights always, at all costs.”
Voting rights, however, can be sacrificed.
Guns also allow the GOP’s base, which is still suffering from massive “economic anxiety,” to stand their ground against liberals and people of color who are apparently taking over the suburbs and invading the border. This explains the adulation of Mark McCloskey, who along with his wife, illegally brandished weapons against peaceful BLM supporters and was rewarded with a pardon and an invitation to address the RNC in 2020. He is now running to be a Senator. This explains the elevation of Kyle Rittenhouse, who brought a gun to a BLM protest, killed two people, was acquitted, and is now free to live his life as a modern-day conservative hero and sue Lebron James.
Putin understands the conservative gun obsession and exploits it for his anti-American purposes. That’s why top officials from the NRA traveled to Moscow in 2015 at the invitation of Russian agent Marina Butina and her handler Alexander Torshin, where the NRA’s top members met with Putin’s government. According to a 2019 Senate Report, the NRA ended up acting as a “foreign asset” for Russia leading up to the 2016 election, in which Russia interfered to help Trump become President.
Republicans really care about babies, specifically those that are still in the womb. However, based on their policies, it’s clear that once the baby is born, it’s “fuck them kids.” This explains their attacks on masks and vaccine mandates at schools during a pandemic, their opposition to gun control despite numerous school shootings, and their refusal to support the child tax credit which briefly lifted millions of children out of poverty. However, to protect an unborn baby, they are perfectly fine supporting a draconian bill in Texas that essentially kills Roe v. Wade, takes women’s rights back fifty years, and empowers vigilantes to threaten and intimidate anyone helping facilitate an abortion.
Protecting babies is also a major flashpoint in the culture wars and fuels conspiracy theories like QAnon. It helps mobilize the right-wing and portrays all liberals as literal “baby killers,” even as Trump and Mike Pompeo praise Putin’s savviness, which will result in dead Ukrainian kids and orphans. As Scott said in his plan, “The nuclear family is crucial to civilization, it is God’s design for humanity, and it must be protected and celebrated. To say otherwise is to deny science… Men are men, women are women, and unborn babies are babies.”
I mean, who can argue with that sound logic, except scientists, non-traditional families, women who demand autonomy and freedom over their bodies and lives, and those who identify as transgender and non-binary?
But, they are not important, because they don’t belong in a white Christian nationalist utopia. At best, they are sidekicks or useful villains to be tolerated. Or, they’ll be banned or oppressed to the point where they’ll pack up and leave, and then they can simply exist as a footnote.
And so will you, unless you subscribe to “Jesus Guns Babies,” which is why a ridiculous slogan should not be ignored when it’s clearly a terrifying roadmap for an America in which Republicans gain power in 2024 and finally implement their vision for a white Christian America.