Francis Chung/Courtesy of E&E News and Politico
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) claimed that "without the Bible, there is no America" at NatCon this week.
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) gave a speech that was "more like a sermon" at the National Conservatism Conference on Monday, claiming that, "without the Bible, there is no modernity. Without the Bible, there is no America," according to Salon
The three-year-old conference, often called NatCon, is about the future of the conservative movement and nationalism.
According to Salon
, organizer Yoram Hazony — chair of the Edmund Burke Foundation, which sponsors the conference — encouraged speakers to talk more about Christianity at the gathering on Monday. "When politicians come and stand on this stage," he asked, "do they mention the Bible? No, never."
Hazony, who lives in Israel and is the author ofThe Virtue of Nationalism
and Conservatism: A Rediscovery
, is Jewish, but believes a return to Christian values is the only way to fight against "woke neo-Marxism" Salon writes.
Hawley took the stage an hour after Hazony's remarks and spoke extensively about the Bible. The topic of his speech was the left's efforts to "unmake history."
Hawley started his speech quoting Democrat John F. Kennedy who said that the rights of man come from God, not the state. When Hawley rhetorically asked where that idea came from, he answered "the Bible."
The reason, he said is that the Bible created the idea of the individual. "We are a revolutionary nation precisely because we are the heirs of the revolution of the Bible," Hawley said. "This was a revolution that began with the founding of the nation of Israel at Sinai that continued with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth in the days of ancient Rome."
Hawley then did some mental gymnastics to argue that the book people most often use to justify denying gay people rights, subjugate women and maintain hierarchies of power, is actually about equality and recognizing the value of the common man.
Hawley went on to say
that the left is trying to remake the country by targeting "the inheritance of the Bible" in doing things like saying that the country is racist, arguing that slavery is a key element of the nation's history, or fighting for trans rights. (Despite just
saying that everyone has rights bestowed by God.)
"What they particularly dislike about America is our dependence on biblical teaching and tradition," Hawley said. "What they particularly dislike about our culture is the Bible's influence on it. And now they want to break that influence for good."
The speech went on to relate biblical stories about Abraham and Jesus and extensively quote the Bible to explain how the Bible is responsible for modernity (despite also being responsible for the Dark Ages, which was not acknowledged in the speech).
Hawley went on to say that "the revolution of the Bible is worth defending. It is worth preserving. It is the true source of what we know of the rights of man. It is the true source of the liberties we cherish. ... The Bible has made us who we are, and it is critical to our future."
It may be surprising to hear an elected leader in a non-theocratic society talk like this, but this is not the first time Hawley's speech at NatCon has made headlines. In 2021, he said that the left was trying to "unmake manhood
" and blamed feminists for young men being addicted to pornography and video games.