Investigative journalist and longtime Americans United ally Frederick Clarkson has just released a new scoop on Project Blitz – and it’s a real doozy.

Project Blitz, you might recall, is a budding band of Christian nationalists who in 2016 launched a new strategy to remake the United States in their own theocratic image, one step at a time. The idea was to flood state legislatures with bills that would erode the principle of separation of church and state. They’d start with measures they believe most people would deem non-controversial, such as requiring the posting of “In God We Trust” signs in public schools and government buildings, and move up the ladder from there to more ambitious proposals such as anti-LGBTQ measures and bills promoting discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom”

There was one problem: Clarkson exposed the effort in 2018, and soon groups like Americans United, Political Research Associates (where Clarkson works) and others were well aware of what was going on and told the media. A spate of news stories followed. (Several of these groups later formed a website, BlitzWatch, which has lots of great resources.)

Now Blitz backers realize they have a problem. The group, led by former U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and endorsed by a bevy of Religious Right organizations, held a strategy call Oct. 24 to discuss what to do about it. 

One of the things they decided to do was rename Project Blitz. The effort is now known as – wait for it – “Freedom for All.” It’s quite the misnomer, considering they only promote religious freedom for a select few while undermining that same freedom for everyone else.

Clarkson reports that Lea Carawan, executive director of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), one the groups backing Project Blitz, tried desperately to spin the negative exposure of Project Blitz as some sort of reverse jujitsu that they had planned for all along.

Carawan added that Blitz backers in “nearly 20 states” have now “strategically” renamed Project Blitz, since, “the other side’s finally caught on to what you all were doing and the mass of legislation that was going forth across the nation, incredible successes … and they were scratching their head saying what in the world happened?”

She added, “They started talking about Project Blitz. And as soon as we understood that they knew they were onto us, we changed the name; shifted things around a little bit; now they’re talking about something that nobody else is really even talking about, we’ve renamed and moved on.” Seriously, who other than people who are up to no good admit things like, “They were onto us”?

During the call, Forbes boasted about CPCF creating a new “state of the art” facility he called a National Strategic Center that will presumably serve as a home for the Blitzers. Forbes described it as having 10,000 square feet of space – although he didn’t say where it is or who will work there. The center’s purpose, Forbes said, is to provide “strategic, legal, and grassroots support” to the theocratic push and analyze “strategies that are being used against you.” 

Clarkson was able to expose Project Blitz last year in part because much of the group’s material, including a detailed playbook laying out its strategy, was posted on the internet by CPCF itself. Blitz backers, which include CPCF, pseudo-historian David Barton’s WallBuilders and a Religious Right legal group called the National Legal Foundation, talked openly about what they wanted to do. Now that there has been a blowback to their scheme, they seem to think they can slip into stealth mode.

It’s much too late for that. Americans United and its allies are watching this movement closely, and we won’t let up exposing how its agenda is contrary to our country’s fundamental principle of religious freedom – that everyone is free to practice their faith, or no faith at all, without harming others. Sign up for our emails so you can learn how to help fight against the Project Blitz agenda – whatever they call it – in your state.

And by the way, the new name also won’t work. In “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare famously observed, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The reverse is also true: Even renamed, this theocratic dud still stinks to high heaven.