white noise

by Jordan Green


As the Republican primary revs up in early election states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, the mainstream press has delved, mostly uncomfortably, into the religiosity of candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Bachmann has been the subject of a spate of articles and online chatter in this regard. The piece that goes the deepest is Ryan Lizza’s Aug. 15 profile in The New Yorker. The article ambles along before getting to its point, touching on the campaign’s strange request that the press corps not transmit images of the candidate in street clothes and a dustup with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, among other trifles. Lizza’s article relates that in 1977 Bachmann and her husband experienced a “life-altering event: They watched a series of films by the evangelist and theologian Francis Schaeffer called ‘How Should We Then Live?’” Bachmann aborted an interview with the writer when he asked her about Schaeffer’s influence on her thinking because, as a press secretary later explained, she “wasn’t comfortable with the line of questions.” But Frank Schaeffer, the theologian’s son, explains that the movement’s passion flowed from the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision: “It wasn’t a theory anymore. Now ‘they’ are killing babies. Then everything started getting unhinged. It wasn’t just that we disagreed with the Supreme Court; it’s that they’re evil. It isn’t just that the federal government may be taking too much power; now they are abusing it. We had been warning that humanism followed to its logical conclusion without Biblical absolutes is going to go into terrible places, and, look, it’s happening right before our very eyes. Once that happens, everything becomes a kind of holy war, and if not an actual conspiracy then conspiracy-like.”