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August 04, 2014 12:26 PM Onward Christian Caucus

By Ed Kilgore

It just occurred to me that Eric Cantor’s abrupt resignation from the House means that the much-discussed hypothetical absence of a single non-Christian Republican Member of Congress is now a reality. It’s the first time since 1955, and one of just three times since 1879, there hasn’t been a Jewish Republican in either the House or the Senate.

Yes, there could be a restoration of a Jewish presence in the House in November, though only one candidate, Lee Zeldin of New York, can be considered a lively possibility, and he’s an underdog. This has to be a bit embarrassing to a party whose main foreign policy tenet is absolute solidarity with Israel, though that’s mainly a concession to conservative evangelicals who adore the Jewish State for its role in salvation history but commonly think individual Jews are consigned to eternal damnation.

The 100% (at least nominal) Christian congressional GOP does bring to mind the argument of Willie James Jennings articulated at Religion Dispatches that the Republican Party behaves more like a congregration than a caucus these days: albeit a “counterfeit Christian community [that] worships power, desires control, and imagines the world revolving around self-sufficient men (and a few women).”

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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