Let’s pour one out for the political artistry of Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, a grand charlatan of conservative Christian values and democracy. He has an uncanny knack for tip-toeing between fact and fiction, masquerading his self-preservation as love of an insurrectionist mob, all while nursing his own insecurities.
On Independence Day, Hawley gifted us a spectacle of historical make-believe. He attributed a quote about America’s Christian founding to Patrick Henry. But fact-checkers highlighted that the quote actually originated from a 1956 edition of The Virginian, a publication infamous for its antisemitic and white nationalist leanings. How delightfully fitting for a man who perpetually sees the kettle as whiter than the pot.
Despite this glaring error, our audacious senator pushed ahead, assembling a pastiche of cherry-picked quotes from early US leaders to prop up his narrative of Christian nationalism. It’s as if he’s playing corn hole while claiming he’s completed a jigsaw puzzle.
Or as Princeton historian Kevin Kruse put it, “Someone linked to the Religious Right claims that America really is, or should be, a ‘Christian nation’ and we’re off on a thrilling game of Quote/Counterquote as conservatives and liberals go on a scavenger hunt looking for lines from letters and speeches to justify their own position on the role of religion in American government. The wide range of opinions trotted out in these debates never leads to any consensus, which, of course, is why we play this dumb game over and over again.”
Hawley seems to understand that, in the current political climate, hate-infused woke catchphrases can seduce the Right better than any sweet nothings.
Remember his now-iconic raised fist in supposed solidarity with the January 6th mob? As it turned out, he’s all huff and puff with no substance. This was simply another scene in the wider play of conservative power-grabbing, less about faith and more about courting the limelight.
And who can forget his dramatic performance at the National Conservatism conference? Delivering a soliloquy laden with misquotes and distortions, he melodramatically proclaimed, “Without the Bible, there is no modernity. Without the Bible, there is no America.” This spectacle was a clear illumination of Hawley’s love for attention and his contempt for diversity, multiculturalism, and the democratic freedoms that power our nation. Simply put, Hawley thrives on peddling hatred.
Hawley’s disdain for our foundational principles of individual freedom and autonomy is far from surprising. He challenged the results of a legitimate election while donning the cloak of conservatism, paradoxically railing against the very freedom he purports to champion.
So, let’s cut through the theatrics. Josh Hawley, our faux champion of Christian values, is just a politician willing to twist history, besmirch our democratic institutions, and sacrifice truth for personal advancement. His so-called Christian nationalism is as transparent as a flimsy as his masculinity which is simply a limp veil for his authoritarian ambitions.