Bills that that are popping up in Tennessee and other states which seek to discriminate against LGBTQ people and bring religion into the public sphere are no coincidence; they're the result of a coordinate effort by Project Blitz -- a consortium of three Christian nationalist groups: the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation, and the Wallbuilders.
Washington Monthly spoke to Fred Clarkson, who's been studying the Christian right for decades, and he says that these bills "reflect the theocratic vision that’s animated a meaningful portion of the Christian Right for some time." According to Clarkson, Project Blitz's strategy is to divide their "model legislation" into three categories, depending on how much opposition each bill is expected to receive:
"The first category, intended to appear the most innocuous, included bills to promote 'In God We Trust' license plates and the display of the 'In God We Trust' motto in public schools," Clarkson told Washington Monthly. "The next batch of bills centered on emphasizing 'Christian heritage' and 'the importance of the Bible in history' to promote the notion that the U.S. is a Christian nation. The third category, which organizers noted might be 'the most hotly contested,' sought to empower licensed professionals to deny health care and other services based on religious beliefs and to enable adoption agencies to reject adoptive families on religious grounds."
The idea is to slowly open the door to promoting religion in public institutions, which paves the way for making the second category more acceptable, then ultimately arriving at legislation in the third category. Knowing that the legislation will ultimately be rejected by the courts, Project Blitz will then argue that their efforts to deny adoption rights to LGBTQ people is based on "data" that says "LGBTQ people tend to be diseased, dysfunctional or both—and that they pose a threat to children and to society."
In states where Republicans completely control the government, Project Blitz's agenda is likely to be the most successful.