Usually, when conservative Christians announce their candidacy for public office, they go out of their way to mention how religious they are. Mike Pence, for example, repeatedly said, “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican—in that order.” They just wedge it in there. It’s not the only part of the ad. But it’s definitely a part of the ad.
In Oklahoma, however, Republican Luke Holland launched his own campaign for U.S. Senate on Tuesday with an ad that only focuses on the Christian aspect. (Because why would anything else matter when you’re running as a Republican in Oklahoma?)
Lord, look at this place. Parents kicked out of schools. Paying people not to work. They even shut down my church.
Things are happening today that have never happened before. I know You’re still there. We just need more people to know You and be Your friend. I’m here. Guide us back. Guide us back.
I’m Luke Holland. I believe and approve this message.
Just to be clear, there are no policy proposals. No statements about what Holland would do if elected. It’s a smattering of lies mixed in with his attempt to convert non-Christians. If a Muslim politician attempted the same sort of ad, guys like Holland would never stop whining about it.
The most egregious lie, obviously, is the claim that they “shut down my church.”
Who’s “they”? What church? We aren’t told because Holland just made it all up. No one ever shut down any churches. He’s presumably referring to COVID restrictions that prevented all kinds of larger gatherings in indoor spaces where people typically linger and talk to each other. But most churches didn’t “shut down.” They temporarily transitioned online until it became relatively safe to meet in person again. That was the best way to protect their own congregations. But Holland acts like protecting everyone’s health was part of some evil liberal agenda.
The idea that our nation will be better off if more people became besties with the Christian God is also laughable. The conservative Christians who make everyone’s lives worse make up virtually all of Republican leadership, blocking sensible legislation from passing while embracing and endorsing conspiracy theories.
And “Guide us back”? To when? Usually when conservatives say that, they long to go back to some fictional era that existed before the Civil Rights Act was passed. You can pretend you’re moving the country forward when you’re constantly longing for a past that was much worse for so many people. Holland apparently wants to add to their misery by turning the clock backward. He’s literally calling for that.
Holland is hoping to replace retiring Senator James Inhofe, the climate denier who infamously brought a snowball to the Senate floor as evidence the planet wasn’t getting warmer because he didn’t understand how weather works. The 87-year-old Inhofe is leaving his seat early due to his health; Holland was previously Inhofe’s chief of staff and has his endorsement. (In fact, the conservative Washington Examiner says that the 30-second ad was created by Republican media strategist Fred Davis, who’s Inhofe’s nephew.)
But that doesn’t mean Holland will skate to victory in the GOP primary at the end of the month. There are roughly a dozen Republicans vying for that seat and a runoff between the top candidates is possible.
Whoever wins the primary, though, will almost certainly win the election in a deeply red state like Oklahoma. So it’s no wonder that Holland isn’t saying anything about what he would do if elected. It doesn’t matter. Republican voters aren’t interested in how he can possibly make their lives better. All they care about is whether he’ll use his power to push their brand of bigoted Christianity on the masses.