Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is applauded as our “Secularist of the Week” for protecting women from theocratic attempts to restrict abortion, while Oklahoma state Sen. Dusty Deevers is FFRF Action Fund’s “Theocrat of the Week” for a recent out-of-control Christian nationalist rant.
When appearing on the Christian nationalist podcast, “Conversations That Matter,” whose tagline is “Christian, Traditional, Masculine,” Deevers argued that all governance should be under “God’s will and reign.” Deevers, who was elected in 2023, is also pastor at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Elgin. His campaign website says, “First and foremost, I am a Christian, bought and redeemed by the blood of my Savior and King, Jesus Christ. My purpose in this campaign is to glorify God and fight for the causes I believe He would have me fight for.”
During his interview, Deevers added, “Either you are obeying God or you’re going to listen to the serpent.” He argued there is no neutral space and compromise in politics. Deevers said he will only “play politics” when “Jesus is king and we obey him, and anything he says to do is what is best. And it will happen in accordance with his will and his timing. I don’t have to worry about the results.”
The legislation that Deevers has crafted as state senator has faithfully followed these theocratic sentiments. Deevers recently filed Senate Bill 1958, which would abolish the option for Oklahomans to file for divorce “on the grounds of incompatibility,” or what is known as no-fault divorce. This bill would make it difficult to end marriages and require the reasons for divorces to be made public. It could take years to have a divorce finalized, and domestic violence victims would suffer as a result. In a recent article on the supposed moral failings of no-fault divorce, Deevers complained that “the state becomes the father-god, and the Creator God is cast off.”
Deevers also introduced hot-button legislation to prohibit the act of producing or disseminating pornography and broadly prohibit the sending of sexually explicit text messages by single people, where the sender could face up to 20 years in prison. Deevers defended the bills, saying they’re aimed “at strengthening the God-instituted bedrock of society — that is the family.” And Deevers was previously named “Theocrat of the Week” in December for claiming that parents who use in vitro fertilization (IVF) are “waging an assault against God.”
Christian nationalists are also running rampant in Wisconsin, where Assembly Republicans last week rushed through passage AB 975, which would ask Wisconsin voters to approve a 14-week abortion ban. Abortion clinics were shuttered for more than a year in Wisconsin after the Supreme Court’s Roe-reversing Dobbs decision. A few clinics only reopened last fall after a judge ruled Wisconsin’s so-called 1849 abortion ban invalid. That judgment is on appeal.
While debating the bill, state Rep. Christine Sinicki said she “couldn’t think of one situation in the bible where God forced a woman to have a baby contrary to her personal health.” As if trying to one-up this ludicrous statement, state Rep. Ron Tusler added, “For example, Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. Estimates are she was 88 years old when she was told she was going to have John the Baptist.”
The bill is expected to pass the Senate quickly, as well, but, thankfully, Gov. Tony Evers has promised to veto the bill if it reaches his office. During his State of the State Address, Evers vowed, “I want to speak directly to women in Wisconsin tonight. I will veto any bill that takes away your reproductive freedom or makes reproductive health care any less accessible in Wisconsin than it is today. Period.”
“We’re thankful that Gov. Evers is standing up to the zealots,” says FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor, who is based in Wisconsin. “But it is truly alarming to see so many open Christian nationalists occupying our statehouses and Congress, where they’re jeopardizing our rights.”
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.