Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw has been getting “biblical” in the last few days, first taking on a pastor who spoke at a Democratic National Committee event for his attempt to retrofit socialism to the New Testament, then coming to the defense of allowing religious literature, particularly the Bible, at Veterans Affairs facilities.
In response to progessive pastor Rev. William Barber trying to make the argument that socialism is endorsed by the Bible at a DNC event last week, Crenshaw pointed out the essential difference between biblical teachings on charity and “moral” socialist principles.
“When we embrace moral language, we must ask, does our policy care for the least of these? Does it lift up those who are most marginalized and dejected in our society? Does it establish justice? That is the moral question,” Rev. Barber told the Democratic crowd. “If someone calls it socialism, then we must compel them to acknowledge that the Bible must then promote socialism. Because Jesus offered free healthcare, and he never charged the leper a co-pay.”
The final line prompted DNC Chair Tom Perez and other DNC officials on the stage to give Barber a standing ovation. But Crenshaw wasn’t impressed by Barber’s biblical interpretation.
“Deliberate misreading of Biblical principles by DNC to promote socialism,” the freshman congressman tweeted Saturday. “The Bible teaches charity with one’s own time and money. Socialism teaches charity with other people’s time and money. So….not the same thing.”
Crenshaw started off the week by weighing in on another religious issue: the question of separation of church and state. The conservative congressman made sure to work in a quote from Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch to drive home the point.
As reported by The Daily Signal on Monday, the VA has recently changed its policies on religious literature and symbols at its facilities. The change was made in part as a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on a cross-shaped World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, which the court ruled did not violate the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.
“The VA revised directives to permit religious literature, symbols, and displays at agency facilities following a string of incidents in recent years in which individual medical centers banned Christmas carols and a Christmas tree, chapels removed Bibles, and chaplains faced restraints on religious expression. Generally, the VA had inconsistent policies across the country,” The Daily Signal reported. “Officials designed the changes to protect the religious freedom of veterans and their families. The new guidelines, which went into effect last month, referred to the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing a cross-shaped memorial to World War I dead to continue standing on public land in Bladensburg, Maryland. The high court’s decision highlighted the important role that religious symbols plays in the lives of Americans and their consistency with constitutional principles.”
In response to the report, Crenshaw tweeted a quote from Justice Neil Gorsuch: “‘Offended observer’ theory of standing has no basis in law.” The representative then provided his translation: “Being offended doesn’t give you the right to stop others from worshiping. Bibles, or any religious scripts, never should’ve been banned in the first place.”
Before being elected to Congress in 2018, Crenshaw served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy SEALs, serving multiple deployments to the Middle East, including one in which he lost his left eye after being hit by an IED during a mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.