I knew that Eric Cantor was Jewish and that his defeat resulted in the loss of one of the highest-ranking Jews in congress. What I had not realized was that he was the only non-Christian among all the Republican members in the US Senate and the House of Representatives. In other words, when it came to religious diversity in that party, Cantor was pretty much it.
It is not as if even with him the party had a good reputation for being welcoming of non-Christians. Its strong alliance with Christian fundamentalists has been long standing and deep. But the highly visible presence of Cantor had the effect of softening the edges of its Christian triumphalism, even in a token way. Now it will have not have even that minimal restraint and we can expect to see even more things like this Congressional hearing where congressman Louis Gohmert (R-Crazy Town) repeatedly questioned a witness as to whether he believed that belief in Jesus was necessary to go to heaven and whether those who reject Jesus will go to hell.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Tuesday repeatedly confronted a faith leader — who also happens to be a noted church-state separatist — about his Christian beliefs during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on religious freedom.
“Do you believe in sharing the good news that will keep people from going to hell, consistent with the Christian beliefs?” Gohmert asked Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
It was amusing to hear Gohmert say that of course people were free to believe what they wished because, as he says, god gave people the choice whether to believe or not believe, although of course they would go to hell if they chose not to believe.
Now that the Republicans don’t have to even look around to check if Cantor is in the room before they unleash their Christian id, maybe we can expect to have Benghazi-like hearings on whether Hillary Clinton was in some way responsible for Jesus’s crucifixion and require people who give congressional testimony to swear that they accept Jesus as their lord and savior.