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Josh Mandel, the former Ohio lawmaker and State Treasurer, has been running for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate on a platform of being a MAGA cultist who thinks the Bible should govern everyone’s lives.

He showed that yet again during a GOP primary debate night hosted by the Center for Christian Virtue.

The question was: What’s the greatest crisis facing our kids (and what, if anything, can you do about it)?

Mandel’s answer? They don’t have the Christian God forced upon them in school.

… I think the worst thing happening to kids today is that the Secular Left, the fake news media, the Uniparty in Washington, they’re trying to take God out of all aspects of society. And they’re trying to water down on the Judeo-Christian bedrock of America. And my personal feeling is we shouldn’t be watering down. We should be doubling down. We should be instilling faith in the classroom, in the workplace, and everywhere in society.

The secular left, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a lot of these Soros-funded organizations — they advance the argument that the separation of church and state exists, and, for that reason, you can’t teach kids about religion. My personal feeling is: There’s no such thing as separation of church and state.

The framers of the Constitution envisioned a country where, in the classroom, kids would learn about God. That in the classroom, kids would learn about good [versus] evil, and that Judeo-Christian ethic separates itself from Islam and atheism and all these other belief sets on so many levels, but one of the main levels is our acknowledgment of good vs. evil and teaching our kids to fight for good over evil.

Besides the ad hominem remarks, Mandel is flat-out lying about how we can’t teach about religion in school. You can take a Comparative Religions class. You can learn the basic beliefs of the most widely practiced religions in a Social Studies class. What you can’t do is force one belief system upon everyone. Mandel doesn’t care. He wants Jews and Muslims and atheists to be force-fed his version of the Bible.

He’s also implying that non-Christians are incapable of knowing the difference between good and evil — which is especially ironic coming from a guy who regularly promotes violence, the MAGA cult, insurrection, forced births, etc.

Imagine if a Muslim congresswoman said anything as incendiary as this. But on this panel? Not a single person took issue with anything he said because the Republican Party is fully co-opted by Christian extremists.

Someone who doesn’t respect the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause — or isn’t even familiar with the basics of the Constitution — has no business being in federal office, but for today’s GOP, ignorance mixed with confidence is practically a prerequisite, with candidates pushing each other aside to say the most wildly inaccurate statements imaginable — like claiming the (mostly non-Christian!) founders secretly wanted to create Christian indoctrination camps for kids.

Mandel, by the way, also said during the debate that the election was stolen (it was not).

But he’s very likely in the running to win this nomination because the GOP has given up on sanity. Our country will suffer if more people like Mandel get elected. His colleagues on that stage were hardly any better. The question is whether there are enough Ohio voters willing to vote for reason — and against insanity — next November in a race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.