We have seen this before. It is yet another example of what happens when fear drives evangelical approaches to public life.
In Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, I wrote about the response of some New England congregationalists after the election of Thomas Jefferson. Because Jefferson did not believe in certain aspects of orthodox Christian belief–the deity of Christ, the resurrection of Jesus, the inspiration of the Bible–many of the region’s evangelicals were afraid of what he might do once he assumed the presidency. Some thought that Jefferson or his henchman were going to come into their towns on a mission to confiscate Bibles and close churches.
I thought about this story when I read Peter Lawrence Kane’s piece in San Francisco Weekly. The title says it all: “Evangelicals Convince Themselves California is About to Ban the Bible.” Here is a taste:
As we’ve documented many times, several strains of conservatism insist — against all evidence to the contrary — that California is an abject failure. It’s usually that we’re teetering on the brink, we’re hopelessly “ungovernable,” or we must be destroyed in order to be saved. Unquestionably, the state faces existential crises that pertain to the cost of living and to the future of the Sierra snowpack that keeps the world’s most productive agricultural region afloat and lets 40 million people flush their toilets. But we never stop hearing the end of the lies and distortions: high environmental standards caused the Mendocino fire complex, it’s a sanctuary state bleeding the federal coffers dry, we’re a corrupting force on Real America, they’re never coming back here and they really really mean it, et cetera, et cetera.
This is largely because of three undeniable facts: California is diverse, California rejects Republicanism and (almost) all that it stands for, and California recovered from the Great Recession to find itself well-prepared to face the next fiscal cliff. Although the Golden State retains the dubious distinction of being the only U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage and then take it away, it’s since become a strong protector of LGBTQ rights — and this week’s top right-wing lie wormed out of the news that California is about to join a dozen other states in banning ex-gay torture — sometimes known as “gay conversion therapy” — for adults. (The state has banned it for minors since 2012.)
In light of the state Senate passing AB 2943, many evangelicals have convinced themselves that California just banned the Bible.
Read the entire piece here.