In August, fresh from a victory in the Iowa straw poll, Michele Bachmann was the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. While her numbers have since cratered, a new video from Al Jazeera English released Tuesday takes a sharp look at how the Christian conservative movement fueled her run and continues to dominate the Republican primaries.
"You have states like Iowa where the religious right is essentially in control of the state GOP apparatus," said Rob Boston, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, in the video.
The latest episode of the channel's "Fault Lines" show, titled "Politics, Religion, and the Tea Party," featured this summer's Iowa State Fair, where Bachmann claimed her poll win. Switching between scenes of enthusiastic right-wing voters at the fair and interviews with experts on both sides, the video paints Iowa Republicans as religiously-dominated and vaguely sinister.
"Our Constitution was designed for religious people, it was designed by religious people, and the principles of our law and our Constitution come directly from Moses and his system of government. And that information's not taught anymore," said Rev. Cary Gordon, an influential Sioux City pastor, in the episode.
The narrator claims that Gordon, who recently endorsed former Sen. Rick Santorum for the GOP nomination, "openly admits he violates the federal law banning tax-exempt organizations like churches from getting involved in political campaigns."
Another powerful Iowa Christian leader, Tamara Scott of Concerned Women for America, put the issue in similarly stark terms to Al Jazeera: "If we're not involved as Christians then we'll be ruled by the ungodly."
The video also suggests that the combined Christian and Tea Party movement had been co-opted by major organizations like the conservative group FreedomWorks to channel anger against the government.
"There's a symbiotic and useful relationship between people who demonize the U.S. government on moral issues -- in other words, you are evil because you allow abortion or whatever it may be -- and then the people who actually benefit from it, which are the folks sitting the corner offices of Goldman Sachs, the Koch brothers, our big banks," said Frank Schaeffer, a one-time Christian conservative activist and current critic of the movement, in the video.
Watch the full episode above.