The groups behind Project Blitz, a Christian nationalist effort to pass theocratic laws in the states, hope to adopt a lower profile.
The idea behind Project Blitz, which was launched in 2016, was to flood state legislatures with bills that would erode the principle of separation of religion and government. Blitz backers planned to start with measures they believe are less controversial, such as requiring the posting of “In God We Trust” signs in public schools and government buildings, and move up the ladder to more ambitious proposals such as anti-LGBTQ measures and bills promoting discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom” (See “Bracing for the Blitz,” November 2018 Church & State.)
Journalist Frederick 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 began informing the public. A spate of news stories followed, public support dwindled and fewer Project Blitz bills were proposed this year compared to 2018.
Now Blitzers hope to dial back the media attention. 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 next steps. Clarkson publicized a recording of the call.
One of the things they decided to do was rename Project Blitz. The effort is now known as “Freedom for All.”
Clarkson reported that Lea Carawan, executive director of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), one the groups backing Project Blitz, tried desperately to spin their negative exposure. She asserted 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?”
Carawan 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.”
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.”
Blitz backers, which include CPCF, pseudo-historian David Barton’s WallBuilders and a Religious Right legal group called the National Legal Foundation, may want to adopt stealth tactics, but Americans United says it’s too late for that and vowed to keep a spotlight on the group.