A front page piece in today’s Tennessean (the daily here in Nashville) riffs off the recent publication of a book by a Christian broadcaster to explore the Tennessee presence of “Teavangelicals,” defined as “politically active conservative Christians.” The piece, headlined “Faith Drives New Political Movement,” highlights a group called the 9.12 Project Tennesseeand quotes its organizer J. Lee Douglas (who indicates he’s never heard the word “Teavangelical” but let’s not let that get in the way).
Reporter Bob Smietana conveys Douglas’s predictable far-right nostrums: government debt is immoral, same-sex marriage is sinful, and healthcare reform is unconstitutional. (That last one does seem a little tangential to the Biblical vibe, though perhaps there is some piece of the New Testament I haven’t seen that covers the commerce clause.) What Smietana doesn’t do in the piece is tell us how thoroughly retrograde the 9.12 Project Tennessee really is, to judge from its website:
We’re committed to the late 18th century American values of equal application of the law for all men and women with privilege for none.
By “late 18th century values” related to “equal application of the law,” we have to assume that the 9.12 Project Tennessee is amenable to reviving a society in which only free white men with property can vote and in which slavery is legal. Moreover, since one of the group’s core “9 principles” holds that “my spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government,” we might infer that the 9.12 Project Tennessee regards filicide as morally and legally acceptable.
The first of their principles reads, “America is good.” So a good American is free to own other humans as property and kill one’s offspring? One shudders to think what would make America “great.” Memo to Tennessean editors: It’s usually a good idea to look a little deeper at a fringe group one plans to feature on the front page of the paper.
This post appeared on the Nashville Scene‘s Pith in the Wind blog.