The “constitutional conservatives” of the GOP want to scrap the First Amendment Establishment Clause, a new poll reveals. (More)

If you hold your breath you’re supposed to turn blue, or so the expression goes, but this morning a lot of people turned a lovely shade of green as they held their breath watching Ireland chase down the United Arab Emirates in the Cricket World Cup. I did too, so I’ll keep this brief.

White evangelical Christians – call them the Religious Wrong – dominate the GOP, according to the New York Times’ Frank Bruni:

If you looked at the responses of all Republicans minus this evangelical subset, you saw a remarkably different party.

Among all Republicans, 35 percent favored the legalization of gay marriage, while 58 percent opposed it. But subtract the white evangelicals and the spread changes: 45 to 47. The party becomes almost evenly divided, in bold contrast to the decidedly negative stance that most Republican congressional leaders take.

Just 39 percent of all Republicans said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 58 percent said that it shouldn’t. Subtract the white evangelicals and again there’s another nearly even split: 48 to 49 percent. So the party’s anti-choice ardor makes sense chiefly in terms of evangelicals.

Bruni was reporting on this new survey from Public Policy Polling:

PPP’s newest national Republican poll finds a clear leader in the race for the first time: Scott Walker is at 25% to 18% for Ben Carson, 17% for Jeb Bush, and 10% for Mike Huckabee. Rounding out the field of contenders are Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5%, Rand Paul at 4%, and Rick Perry and Marco Rubio at 3%.

But the real shocker was this question:

(Republicans) Would you support or oppose establishing Christianity as the national religion?

57% Support establishing Christianity as the national religion
…..
30% Oppose establishing Christianity as the national religion
…..
13% Not sure.

Keep in mind that Republicans love to brand themselves ‘constitutional conservatives.’ I guess that doesn’t apply to this bit:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion[.]

That seems pretty straightforward to me, but Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute explains it, just in case:

The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.

Of course that’s just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo from unelected Supreme Court judges, while ‘historian’ David Barton insists the U.S. was founded as and must return to being “a Christian nation.” I put ‘historian’ in scare quotes because actual historians think Barton is a quack who makes up history to suit his ideology.

But that doesn’t stop him from being a favored advisor to prominent Republicans, and today’s PPP survey explains why. Barton feeds Republican candidates the talking points the evangelical base want to hear.

Until that changes, GOP candidates will continue to poll dance … and the rest of us will continue to cringe.

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Good day and good nuts