Sharron Angle Interprets The Establishment Clause

by Jonathan Chait | June 15, 2010

Maniacal Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, learning from Rand Paul's lesson, is confining interviews to friendly right-wing outlets. Here she is talking to National Review:

On her primary win: “It became focused with the Tea Party Express endorsement,” she says. “The first endorsement that we got that was of great consequence was from Gun Owners of America. We knew that was of great consequence because it reached across party lines in Nevada. We’re pretty much a 90 percent Second Amendment state. We knew that we were now reaching into constituencies with independent voters as well as Democrat voters. Then this tea-party movement, that was moving across party lines. Then we got Phyllis Schlafly, and she was moving across party lines for us. Same thing with Mark Levin, the talk-show host. When those four really solidified, now we had conservatives from every passionate voter base.… That’s when we thought this thing was really doable.… I give God a lot of credit. Most everything has a providential side in American history.”

— On accusations about her sympathy to Scientology’s prison policy: “First, the disclaimer. I’m not a Scientologist,” she says. But she says the attacks bring up a bigger point. “What we’re seeing here is a very slippery slope. Whenever religion becomes the focal point — we saw this during John F. Kennedy’s race and also, to some degree, in Mitt Romney’s race — whenever this becomes the focus, we Americans should be very, very concerned. We have a First Amendment that guarantees us all the right to worship as we please. We as Americans should, even if we don’t agree, should defend their right to have that right. It shouldn’t come into play in any political arena.”

Note that in one question she credits God for her primary win -- I suspect Harry Reid might have had his prayer answered as well -- and then in the very next question uses the threat of a "slippery slope" to turn her support for a Scientology-packed program off-limits. And of course it's not a question about her beliefs but about a program she voted for as an elected official. Since the program was essentially created by a religious cult, we can't question her support for it without threatening the church-state divide. Meanwhile, God wanted her to win.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/75566/sharron-angle-interprets-the-establishment-clause