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September 2, 2014

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Sharron Angle’s views rooted in biblical law

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U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle thanks supporters during the state GOP convention Friday, July 9, at the Green Valley Ranch in Henderson.

When Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle told a Christian news interviewer this year that “entitlement programs (are) built to make government our God,” she voiced a central tenet of Christian Reconstructionism, according to academics who study the movement.

Christian Reconstructionism is a political-religious movement formed in the 1960s and ’70s that seeks to return American society to the rule of biblical law. Any attempt to expand government beyond the dictates in the Old Testament — for example, by establishing Social Security benefits, education policy or property taxes — turns government into a false idol, reconstructionists believe.

“The problem is that government becomes an idol when it overspills its biblically proscribed boundaries, and people start looking to government for salvation,” said Julie Ingersoll, a religious studies professor at the University of North Florida, in explaining a tenet of Christian Reconstructionism.

In April, Angle said her Democratic rival, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, along with President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was remaking the federal government into God.

“And these programs that you mentioned — that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward — are all entitlement programs built to make government our God,” she said told the TruNews interviewer. “And that’s really what’s happening in this country, is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”

Her comments are getting widespread discussion and a counterattack this week by the Reid campaign.

Many of Angle’s religious and political beliefs appear to align with the tenets of Christian Reconstructionism. She’s supported eliminating Social Security and Medicare, is a home schooling champion, sees the separation of church and state as an unconstitutional doctrine that was never meant to protect the state from religious belief, and believes public policy should support the traditional family structure as defined in the Bible.

She also helped resurrect the Nevada affiliate of a national party founded by a prominent Christian Reconstructionist and has raised campaign money from reconstructionists.

But Ingersoll said Angle’s comments on government as a false idol come directly from the movement’s founder, R.J. Rushdoony, an orthodox Presbyterian minister.

“Since this spring you’ve had all this flap over the degree to which you might suggest Angle was influenced by the Reconstructionist movement,” Ingersoll said.

“But if you really sum up Rushdoony’s philosophy on government, that’s it. That really is it.”

Angle’s campaign has largely refused to comment on her religious beliefs. Spokesman Jarrod Agen said he wasn’t familiar with Christian Reconstructionism or Rushdoony.

But he said Americans are frustrated by the omnipotence of the federal government.

“Only the supreme arrogance of Sen. Reid would believe that he has a divine right to rule over mere mortals by ramming through Obamacare (and) billions in reckless spending,” Agen said.

“The fact is, Reid has acted like he’s all-powerful and accountable to no one. People are frustrated because, like Sharron, they understand Washington has become a giant, unseen, omnipotent force whose presence is felt in all our lives, whether we like it or not.”

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