Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle sees her campaign as a battle to stop Democrats in Washington who want to expand entitlement programs and "make government our God."
In an interview with a Christian radio network, Angle describes her effort to oust Majority Leader Harry Reid as a religious calling in "a war of ideology, it's a war of thoughts and of faith."
Reid, President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have pushed "entitlement programs built to make government our God," says Angle, who has called for privatizing Social Security and Medicare for younger workers.
"What's happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment," Angle told Trunews in the April interview, which is posted on the network's website.
"We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We're supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government," she said.
Reid's campaign said in a statement Wednesday that Angle's statements are "frightening." Since Angle won the GOP nomination in June, Reid's campaign has depicted the tea party favorite in TV ads as an extremist who would gut federal programs and turn her back on those in need.
"The fact that Sharron Angle believes she's on a religious crusade to eliminate critical programs like Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance that help hundreds of thousands of Nevadans in need is both dangerous and extreme," the statement said.
Angle's campaign pointed out that Reid, too, has spoken about the relationship between politics and his Mormon religion. In a speech at Brigham Young University in 2007, he said, "My faith and political beliefs are deeply intertwined. I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it."
Angle spokesman Jarrod said in a statement that "people are frustrated because, like Sharron, they understand Washington has become a giant, unseen, omnipotent force whose presence is felt in all our lives whether we like it or not."
Angle, a Southern Baptist, has called herself a faith-based politician and prays daily. Among her positions, she opposes abortion in all circumstances, including rape and incest.
In the Trunews interview, she talked widely and with candor unusual for a politician about her religious views and how they relate to her life as a politician.
"In this political walk that I'm walking — and I think it is a calling that God has on my life — I have watched Him walk with me through politics and help me to see the pitfalls of the political machinery, the seduction of the party and even those outside the party, the lobbyists, all of that," Angle told the network.
"The Lord shows me daily where he wants me to walk," she said.
Asked why she would enter a race to challenge the most powerful Democrat in the Senate, Angle said, "We're at war in this country, for our freedom, our culture, for our liberty, our Constitution."
Angle, who has called for dissolving some federal agencies and shifting their powers to states, including the Department of Education, warned of growing dependency on Washington.
"We know that once we have a majority that are dependent upon the government, we will lose our freedom," Angle said. "That's the next stage. Our Founders warned against this."
"I know people are very frightened about what's going on in this country," she added.
The campaigns have previously tangled over statements Angle made on the separation of church and state.
In a June interview on Nevada's KVBC's news interview program "Face to Face with Jon Ralston," Angle answered "no" when asked if separation of church and state arises out of the Constitution. She said Thomas Jefferson is often misquoted and that he wanted to protect churches from being taken over by a state religion. The drafters of the Constitution "didn't mean that we couldn't bring our values to the political forum," she said.
Reid's campaign said Angle's remarks showed she believed church-state separation is unconstitutional. Angle's campaign said Reid was "figuring out ways to twist a larger historical statement Angle was making about the origins of separation of church and state."
Meanwhile, Angle released a new TV ad faulting Reid for the state's troubled economy. Nevada leads the nation in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies.
The ad points out property values have plummeted on Reid's watch. "The only thing he's delivered for Nevada is hardship," a narrator says.
© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.