The Spiritual Reason Democrats Call Christians ‘A Bigger Threat than Al-Qaeda’
Longtime Democratic strategist James Carville made headlines over the weekend, when he accused Speaker of the House Mike Johnson of being a “Christian nationalist” who poses “a bigger threat than al-Qaeda.” But Carville’s calumniations served a deeper purpose: They point out the profound spiritual void that causes liberal politicos to dehumanize faithful Christians for believing in eternal, pre-political morals.
“Mike Johnson and what he believes is one of the greatest threats we have today to the United States. I promise you, I know these people,” Carville raged on the “Overtime” segment of Bill Maher’s HBO show, which (confusingly) airs on CNN.
“You’re talking about Christian nationalism,” said Maher.
“This is a bigger threat than al-Qaeda to this country,” asserted Carville.
To hear the former Clinton strategist tell it, America stands one election away from becoming the United States of Gilead. Christian nationalists, he averred, control “the Speaker of the House; they got probably at least two Supreme Court justices, maybe more. Don’t kid yourself.”
Democrats worrying over Christian congregants while their left-wing base recently made the words of Osama bin Laden go viral seems misplaced. Physician, heal thyself. Yet Carville continued.
“This is a fundamental threat to the United States,” he insisted, because Christian nationalists “don’t believe in the Constitution.” But his only proof is the fact that Speaker Johnson rejects pure, Athenian democracy — a concept explicitly rejected by the U.S. Constitution. Pure democracies with no guardrails allow a majority to trample the rights of a minority, while a constitutional republic safeguards citizens’ unalienable rights, including the freedom of religion. “Mike Johnson himself says, ‘What is democracy but two wolves and a lamb having lunch?’” Carville pointed out, apparently oblivious to the fact that the phrase hardly originated with Johnson. The Founders believed in a “Christian moral philosophy [but] also put a provision in the Constitution to guarantee that the political leaders would never be able to establish an official national” church, explained Ken Klukowski, a former Justice Department official under President Donald Trump, on Monday’s “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.”
To make matters worse, the panel offered no illusions that they intended to target all believing Christians. Moments before the exchange, host Bill Maher described the Bible as “a book that subscribes to conspiracy theories and homophobic insults,” as panelist Dave Rubin, who identifies as gay and conservative, smirked and nodded. In the view of at least two members of the panel, anyone who believes the Scriptures is indistinguishable from Osama bin Laden.
“It’s twisted and shameful that a leading Democrat strategist says millions of Christians in America are a greater threat than foreign terrorists who murdered more than 3,000 Americans,” replied Johnson. Proving his foresight, Johnson accurately prophesied, “The Democratic Party should condemn this. But they won’t.”
Indeed, putative Republicans did not defend Johnson. Former Rep. Liz Cheney insisted that Trump intends to make 2024 “the last election that you ever get to vote in,” before smearing Johnson as a Trump “collaborator” — a term applied to Nazi sympathizers. Cheney is a past master at belittling the Holocaust by applying terms such as “The Big Lie” to her and her father’s political enemies. (Her father got “p**sed off” when George W. Bush embraced marriage protection amendments, which gave their reelection its razor-thin margin of victory, in 2004.) A few real Republicans pushed back against equating constitutionalists with fascists. “All of these articles calling Trump a dictator are about one thing: legitimizing illegal and violent conduct as we get closer to the election,” insisted Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio).
If that is true, it makes the Left’s decision to conflate millions of average Americans with the Taliban all the more concerning. Most recently, President Joe Biden’s handlers had Independence Hall transformed into dark black and crimson red backdrop as the president — flanked by military personnel — charged the 70% of “MAGA Republicans” who support President Donald Trump with having “fanned the flames of political violence.” Their mere existence, Dark Brandon claimed, represents a “threat to American democracy.”
In a phrase with chilling biblical echoes, Biden claimed that his political opponents, like Satan, “live not in the light of truth but in the darkness of lies.”
The Left has been stoking the comparison of Christians to Islamist terrorists or National Socialists for decades. At the turn of the millennium, leftists accused George W. Bush of allegedly stacking his administration with “Christian dominionists” — a term equally as threatening and amorphous as today’s “Christian nationalists.” One day after the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Rosie O’Donnell informed the audience of “The View” that “radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America, where we have a separation of church and state.” (Radical Christianity convinced Mother Teresa to tend to the lepers of Calcutta; radical Islam convinced Mohammed Attah to bring down the Twin Towers.) As the Left has marched through the institutions, the idea that an ever-secularizing America hobbles on the precipice of full-blown theocracy has marched with it. There’s a reason the only book young people know aside from the Harry Potter series is “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
The Nazi metaphor has endured since at least the days of Barry Goldwater, an ethnic Jew who wanted to reduce the size and scope of government. Bill Clinton, today misremembered as a champion of bipartisanship, viscerally disdained his opponents. In his book “All Too Human,” George Stephanopoulos — then and now a Democratic campaign asset — remembered how, after a Republican won a special election in 1994, Bill Clinton screamed, “It’s Nazi time out there. We’ve got to hit them back.”
Why would the Left resort to such over-the-top metaphors? In part, because they are sore losers. Liz Cheney, formerly the upwardly mobile holder of the fourth most important seat in GOP House leadership, feels slighted by Mike Johnson, whose good humor and competence won him the post to which she felt entitled. Bill Clinton would go on to lose the House in 1994 and his wife, two presidential bids; Joe Biden has gotten little of his agenda enacted, even with a Democratic congress. And during the formal program “Real Time with Bill Maher,” James Carville attacked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “stupid, crooked, ignorant, [and] negligent,” failing to mention that he and two other Democratic operatives tried and failed to help then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres defeat Netanyahu in 1996, at Bill Clinton’s direction. Their pride (read what the Bible has to say about that!) requires them to believe only quasi-supermen could defeat such champions of democracy as themselves.
Clearly, such hateful ad hominem attacks aim to “create division and paint people in a light that tries to denigrate what they’re standing for,” said Christy Stutzman, author of the new book, “The Spiritual Price of Political Silence,” on Monday’s “Washington Watch.” Yet Democrats, who regularly attacked Donald Trump for “punching down” at less powerful critics, suddenly deciding to tar-and-feather Christians as the love children of bin Laden and Goebbels goes further than polls and elections.
Democrats are now dehumanizing conservatives, saying they embody the same threat of “violence” as the masterminds of 9/11. Liberals do this whether in or out of power. In doing so, the Left follows one of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals (rule #13, as it turns out): “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” History proves the side dehumanizing others never means well, short- or long-term. “What happens to terrorists? They must be eliminated,” noted Bishop Vincent Mathews Jr. of the Tabernacle Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in Southaven, Mississippi. “This is the precursor to Christian persecution.”
A closer analysis shows that the Left’s anti-Christian animus goes further than conventional politics, because their view of politics goes beyond mere politics. Ironically, the inarticulate Joe Biden said it best in his Philadelphia speech: “I believe we were in a battle for the soul of this nation.” Equally ironic, comedienne Joy Behar of “The View” once referred to Liz Cheney as “the Joan of Arc standing up to the heretics” of “the QAnon Party.”
If the other party’s political platform is “heresy,” politics has become your god. And so it has for the Left. Politicians have rightly condemned the criminalization of political differences, as the Left seeks to cancel, then incarcerate its electoral foes. But little has been said of the Left’s idolatry of power. Without a God to give them solace, they seek their meaning and purpose in creating a “better” society through the political process. Without a Christian view of human nature, they believe the government can eventually refashion the human soul into the Left’s image.
Liberals, who are far more likely than conservatives to disbelieve in God, have substituted “social justice” as an idol for our age — an all-consuming passion for temporary political advantage that shoves aside eternal principles of right and wrong. Their worldview replaces a devil threatening to seduce your soul with political opponents holding back the otherwise-inevitable triumph of their utopia on earth. The same hatred drove those who believed in a “worker’s paradise,” and a “New Order … in accordance with the basic principle of the blood,” and the Great Leap Forward, and every other political mania that has torn the world apart.
The only way to triumph over idolatry is to defeat it, to drive it from the political realm — or more appropriately, to drive the political realm back to the proper confines of the political realm. In this, Christians like Mike Johnson must use their power to blunt their offense, stymie their attempts to transform the political and electoral landscape, and drive back government until the Leviathan shrinks back to its constitutional dimensions.
Most importantly, Christians must preach the gospel of the One, true and ever-living God upon Whose shoulders rests this and every government (Isaiah 9:6). Then we will deny the cult of government its next generation of fanatics — and swell the ranks of those who worship the One Who alone deserves our adoration.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.