The Congressional Prayer Caucus wants state legislatures to enact “In God We Trust” laws and so far, just this year, five states — Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee — have passed laws requiring public schools to post the motto “In God We Trust” in prominent places. For the Congressional Prayer Caucus, that’s just the beginning. With their campaign, “Project Blitz,” the CPC plans to codify religious liberty laws around the country.
Project Blitz exists “To protect the free exercise of traditional Judeo-Christian religious values and beliefs in the public square, and to reclaim and properly define the narrative which supports such beliefs.”
Under their somewhat vague purpose statement, CPC gives a three-pronged mission statement for Project Blitz:
-To provide research, information, and analysis to support lawmakers who may be enacting specific legislation to fully protect religious liberty and the free exercise of our faith in the public square by eliminating paths for legal retribution or government interference; and to see the public discourse related thereto understood and defined on our terms.
-To encourage numerous key conservative legislators at the local, state and federal level who are submitting legislation and public policy positions, while building a broad coalition of citizens supporting them with public relations, messaging and grassroots activists on multiple fronts.
-To reclaim and properly frame the narrative and the language of religious liberty issues.
Last year, the CPC released the 116-page “Report And Analysis on Religious Freedom Measures Impacting Prayer and Faith in America.” The report includes 20 bills intended for state legislatures to copy. Some of the model bills are, “National Motto Act,” “Items for Inclusion in a State Proclamation Recognizing the Year of the Bible,” and “Student Prayer Certification Act.”
As mentioned above, encouraging states to implement the “National Motto Act” has been the group’s biggest success so far. Predictably, some are not happy about Project Blitz.
Frederick Clarkson, a senior research analyst with Political Research Associates, a social justice think tank based in Somerville, Mass., spoke with RNS about his concerns over Project Blitz:
“Religious freedom in the sense that Project Blitz means it is not what the rest of us understand as the revolutionary aspiration of religious equality for all,” Clarkson said. “It’s more of a cover for some conservative Christians to promote their religious and political views via public policy and public institutions, and as a justification for broad exemptions from the law.”
According to RNS’s article, “Americans United for Separation of Church and State has been keeping track of Project Blitz legislation. It found that there were 76 bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide in 2018 that were either identical or used similar language to the Project Blitz manual.”
If the American United for Separation of Church and State can be trusted, five states passing laws requiring the posting of the national motto is just the tip of Project Blitz’s coming success in influencing state legislatures.