Within the GOP we see very clear Religious Factions. It is important to understand these factions and how they affect public policy here in the 6th District.

Roll Call had a story on this the other day.

“I would say that Ted Cruz is leading in the ‘Jerry Falwell’ wing, Marco Rubio is leading the ‘Billy Graham’ wing and Trump is leading the ‘Jimmy Swaggart’ wing,” Moore said, meaning that Cruz has largely followed the classic Moral Majority model that was the face of the conservative movement — he has received endorsements from figures such as Focus on the Family founder James Dobson — while Trump “tends to work most closely with the prosperity wing of Pentecostalism” which tends to believe that God would financially reward believers.

As far as Rubio’s outreach to the “Billy Graham” wing, this week the presidential hopeful announced a religious liberty advisory board that includes Rick Warren, the founding pastor at the influential Saddleback Church.

I think Roll Call’s description of three different factions within the GOP is excellent and worth further discussion.

Three Religious Factions in the GOP according to Roll Call

  1. Jerry Falwell Wing – Classic Moral Majority – Ted Cruz
  2. Billy Graham Wing – Moderates – Social Liberal leaning – Marco Rubio
  3. Jimmy Swaggart Wing – Pentecostalism and the Prosperity Gospel – Donald Trump

Question #1 – Are They Basically the Same?

The short answer to this question is Yes.

Question #2 – What are the Differences in the Factions?

I’ll talk about three difference within the GOP.

  1. The difference between those that truly believe it is the obligation of Christians to force their world view on others through “Public Policy.”  And those in the GOP that believe that forcing America back to Christ is “idol worship of some kind.”  This divide in factions can mostly be seen in “Traditional Marriage.”  One factions believes the Christian Community has a constitutional right to force everyone in the community into traditional marriages if they are the majority in the community.  And that using either the force of law or “political correctness” to prevent them from exercising this right takes away their freedoms.  The more moderate faction is ok with letting non-traditional marriages exist in the community independent of who is in the majority.
  2. The difference between what the “the sanctity of life” means.  One faction thinks the sanctity of life ends at birth (because that is when life is no longer “innocent.”)  The other thinks the sanctity of life extends to death.  An example of this is how the “Welfare State” is implemented.  One factions is ok with Social Security and Government provided health care, the other faction is totally against it.
  3. Another key difference is with the Prosperity Gospel wing of the GOP.  This faction, lead by Donald Trump is more interested in “Witnessing” and “Testifying” by making money.  They see financial success as sign of God’s love and as long as they are making money there is no need to force other public policies.

Conclusion:  How this applies to the GOP Primary

Here is what one right wing blogger sees as the takeaway from all this:  (read full post here)

The way this shapes up is that Cruz’s evangelicals are convinced Cruz will fight on their issues and Rubio will not. While the Rubio’s evangelicals are convinced Rubio will make decisions grounded in their shared worldview, while Cruz will just turn people off to their cause.

Who the GOP finally picks for a Presidential nominee and who supports them and how strongly they support them will be a good indication of which faction is controlling the GOP.