Religious authenticity has mattered to Republicans since the rise of the “Moral Majority” in the 1970s (a conservative version of the counter cultural tendencies of the 1960s), which put Reagan and a gaggle of arch-conservative politicians in office and destroyed rational public discourse. Mr Carson is not all that different from GW Bush and his fellow theocrats Reverend Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Ted Cruz, who wear religion as a badge of honour and use it as a rhetorical club against political opponents. For these people, religion is instrumentalized as a tool for political demonology, whose familiar targets are feminists and “Hollywood” and “East Coast” liberals. At times, the more fanatical believers have gone beyond symbolic violence and engaged in physical violence, the murder of doctors providing reproductive health care services to women (see the domestic terrorist outfit “Operation Rescue”).
Whereas the Moral Majority and other social conservative organizations have been primarily comprised of Evangelical Christians, Mr Carson brings the cosmological nuttiness of Seventh Day Adventism to the mix, a sect that is a recent invention (dating from the 19th century). The cartoonish statements of faith uttered by Mr Carson are consistent with the historically undisciplined, self-willed spirituality of the Protestant sects.