The Ohio Republican Senate primary has been a race to the bottom. I wrote a few weeks ago how J.D. Vance bragged that he didn’t “really care what happens in Ukraine one way or the other” praised Vladimir Putin. Now, over the weekend, Josh Mandel seemed to implode.
First, Mandel almost got into a fight with Mike Gibbons, another candidate at a debate on Saturday night. CNN provides context for the moment, which concluded with Mandel calling Gibbons a “p-ssy.”
Stay classy, Josh.
In another debate, Mandel went on record saying, “I don’t think we should be watering down on those Judeo-Christian values. I think we should go the other direction. We should be doubling down. We should be instilling faith in the classroom, in the workplace, and everywhere in society.”
While I can agree that Judeo-Christian values are a good thing, the obvious problem is here is the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of religion. And that’s what Mandel is calling for when he calls for religion to be taught in schools.
There are other problems with this as well. Which version of Judeo-Christian values would be taught? There are a great many denominations that have very different views on theology. This is evident by the fact that some churches are okay with social justice, Critical Race Theory, and even abortion while others consider these to be antithetical to the Bible and Christian doctrine. I think there is a particular brand of political Christianity that Mandel and his supporters would want as the basis for the curriculum.
Even if some Christians don’t believe that the Bible supports social justice and abortion, other Christians can legitimately believe that it does. The same is true of the “theology” against masks and vaccines.
And while we are on the subject of Critical Race Theory, there are numerous movements in red states to ban the “indoctrination” of children into CRT, but Mandel is now openly calling for indoctrination of students into Christianity without seeming to understand that some parents don’t want the state to be dabbling in matters of personal faith. Even conservative, Republican parents can hold this view.
And what of the fact that Republicans widely consider public schools to be poorly led and managed with teachers who are liberal atheist social justice warriors? If they believe this to be true, would Republicans really want such people teaching their kids about Judeo-Christian values? Probably not.
Maybe that’s why Mandel tweeted last October that government schools should be shut down while churches and synagogues were entrusted with education. He doesn’t mention whether other faiths would be required to teach their children Judeo-Christian values.
I’m a Christian and I believe that Judeo-Christian values are good and true, but I also realize that Christianity cannot be forced on people. Christianity is about free will and choices, not about imposing your values on others by force.
What Mandel is doing is not evangelism. It’s pandering. Trailing in the polls, Mandel is making a desperate attempt to pick up enough Christian voters to put him over the top.
But what he doesn’t realize is that the radical statements that he is making now will be used against him - and the whole GOP - in the general election, not to mention against Christianity itself. Most voters don’t want to turn schools into churches or churches into schools.
And they shouldn’t. As America has become more diverse, we’ve settled into a system of government neutrality towards religion. That works for us and we should stick with it.