In This House We Believe Creeds Are for Church, Not Politics

Vivek Ramaswamy’s right-wing satire of the popular progressive yard sign has the same flaws as its target.

Vivek Ramaswamy emails me, as does half the Republican presidential primary field, because I am on the mailing list of a GOP fundraising outfit that does not honor unsubscribe requests.

Ramaswamy’s latest email stood out from the daily deluge, though, for the simplicity of its conceit.

“I am not afraid to say these truths,” ran the subject line. Inside, the fundraising pitch was short and blunt: “TRUTH. There’s only one. Not yours, not mine. Just pure TRUTH,” read the brief note festooned with links to donate.

In the middle were the 10 affirmations Ramaswamy has increasingly placed at the center of his campaign messaging, rattling them off every chance he gets:

Set aside, for a minute, the question of whether the list is as true as Ramaswamy claims, and look instead at the form. It’s familiar—or it should be, for Christians. This is undeniably a creed, and that’s precisely the problem.

Ramaswamy isn’t unique in taking a creedal approach to politics. The best-known contemporary example is the “In this house we believe” sign, which has become ubiquitous in many progressive neighborhoods in recent years.

As creeds go, In this house is remarkably efficient, dogmatic, and magisterial. Each line requires substantial knowledge of the faith: “Science is real,” for instance, invokes a whole host of beliefs about evolution, vaccination, climate change, masking, and more.

There are a few variants on the text—some later manuscripts, which I suspect are more common in states where oil pipelines …

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