MSNBC on Friday featured liberal religious expert Frank Schaeffer to slam the "racist white bloc" of Tea Party Republicans who won't allow Barack Obama to succeed. Martin Bashir guest host Jonathan Capehart interviewed the author about religion and the 2012 GOP presidential nominees.
Schaeffer, whose father was the late evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer, smeared, "You have genuine fanatics, sincere about their belief like Michele Bachmann, who got into politics because she read my father's books in the 1980s when she was at ORU, Oral Roberts Law School."
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Citing a column by the New York Times' Timothy Egan, Capehart wondered, "For example, he prays for rain, they have an extreme drought. He holds prayer services and the markets tank. Is God listening to Rick Perry?"
Schaeffer blasted conservative Republicans who have opposed Barack Obama: "...a lot of ordinary Americans who aren't on the religious right understand something and that is as the first African-American president, he has been up against a racist white bloc in the Republican Party that has come dressed as the Tea Party..."
He also predicted the President would be reelected by "a wide margin" and added, "Most Americans understand that in a second term, [Obama] is going to come out swinging and do a lot more than in the first term when the obstructionists have been swept out of the way. And I predict that."
A transcript of the August 12 segment, which aired at 3:33pm EDT, follows:
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Much of the conversation surrounding the GOP candidates has been in regard to religion and how much of a role it plays in the in their personal lives and how much of a role, if elected, it will bleed into their role as President of the United States. And within the field of the possible candidates, perhaps the two most attached to faith, at this point, are Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. For more on this, I'm joined now by Huffington Post contributor Frank Schaeffer, author of Sex, Mom and God. Frank, it seems that in many way, religion has become one of the main focal points when it comes to the GOP candidates, especAially when speaking about Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.
FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yeah, you have two different types of candidates running in the primaries on the Republican ticket you year. You have genuine fanatics sincere about their belief like Michele Bachmann, who got into politics because she read my father's books in the 1980s when she was at ORU, Oral Roberts Law School. And then you have people who are pretending to be sympathetic to the Tea Party, to the religious right, to the far right, and those candidates, between those two groups, they all have to pay lip service to a kind of religious extremism that comes out of the anti-abortion movement, the Tea Party, the anti-Obama movement, but really, religion is a big deal in year's primary.
CAPEHART: Frank, Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to officially announce his run tomorrow, and Timothy Egan has an interesting column in the New York Times that pointed out that when Rick Perry prays to God, they tend to not get answered. For example, he prays for rain, they have an extreme drought. He holds prayer services and the markets tank. Is God listening to Rick Perry?
SCHAEFFER: Well, I'm not sure God like politicians very much in general, left or right. They tend to take his name in vain a lot for purposes if you took the religion he says he believes seriously, you know, you would assume that you shouldn't use God's name in this context anymore than I should say that God endorsed my latest book and so you should buy it. You know, his is not normally the way that religion is supposed to be used. And so when he calls a national prayer meeting and says he is a Christian, in his Bible is a passage saying that when you pray go into the closet, do it in secret and don't let other people see your good works.
And the Republican field, you know, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin sniffing around the edge, and these people use religion the way, you know, that old-time snake oil salesmen used to use their, their, you know, their patent medicine labels and it is rather disgusting from the point of view of religion. And that is where we are at. And, essentially, what we have got now is a bunch of people who use religion as a patent medicine to give themselves some kind of credibility with a bloc of about 20 percent of the American voters who believe, for instance, that the world was created in six days, that the earth is 6,000 years old, and that Israel has to be there because it foretells the coming of Christ.
There is a small group of Americans who are literal about this, and this little bloc of people happens to have the Republican Party in a hammer lock through the primary process.
SCHAEFFER: They don't represent the nation, but they represent the people who have GOT the primaries in a hammer lock.
CAPEHART: So, Frank, I know it is early, but can Michele Bachmann or any Republican can give the President a run for his money on election day, briefly?
SCHAEFFER: I don't think any Republican can. Barack Obama is going to be reelected and reelected with a big margin, because I think that people understand, a lot of ordinary Americans who aren't on the religious right understand something and that is as the first African-American president, he has been up against a racist white bloc in the Republican Party that has come dressed as the Tea Party, the religious right, all sorts of excuses. What they really want is to see him fail. Most Americans understand, he hasn't been given a chance to succeed because he hasn't been dealing with a normal political opposition of loyal opposition that has been putting the country first. He has been dealing with a group of Republicans who have been bound, as Rush Limbaugh said, from day one wanted to see him fail. That is what this is all about, and everything else is a footnote. Most Americans understand that in a second term, he is going to come out swinging and do a lot more than in the first term when the obstructionists have been swept out of the way. And I predict that.