Here’s What Christians in Washington, D.C. Have to Face
An Arlington, Virginia voter, later identified as a federal contractor, went viral on Tuesday for cursing out a Republican poll greeter outside a precinct. In video of the incident, which has been viewed nearly 12 million times as of Friday morning, the contractor cursed out Republicans as “Bible-beating bigots and freaks” and “rapists” for supporting pro-life, pro-family policies.
The video shows the voter, who we’ll call “Voter” although his identity is known, confronting the poll greeter after exiting the voting precinct. An opposition research group allegedly identified the man as a technical administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ foster care system. “The guy started before he went in, and I assumed he would keep it going when he came out … so I hit record,” explained Matthew Hurtt, the greeter, who works for a D.C.-area nonprofit providing professional development opportunities to young, conservative staffers.
Hurtt was offering sample Republican ballots to any voters who wanted one — likely a small number — as they entered the polling station. In 2020, the liberal D.C. suburb voted 81.3% for Joe Biden and 17.2% for Donald Trump, and Republicans in other races lost by similar margins. In seven of the nine offices up for election, the Republican sample ballot Hurtt offered showed no Republican candidate. In other words, Arlington leans so far to the Left that Republicans pose virtually no electoral threat to Democratic dominance.
“You ******* people tried to overthrow the election,” the voter began. (His favorite adjective/adverb began with “f” and is censored throughout this article.) “You might as well have been walking up to my head on the way to the polling station and putting a gun to my head, trying to tell me how to vote.”
While there is no video of the voter’s first encounter with Hurtt, another voter walked by in the video and provided a sample interaction:
Greeter [to another person]: Hi sir, how are ya? Headed in to vote?
Greeter: Can I get you a sample Republican ballot?
Greeter: Sure, thank you.
That’s some real gun-to-your-head tactics on display, right there.
“The other guy was the actual Democrat[ic] poll greeter,” Hurtt explained. “Super nice guy. We were having a pretty reasonable conversation before this guy arrived.”
But, for this one voter, finding a Republican greeter at his deep-blue polling location made him furious. “[Do] you expect me to not take that ******* personally? You ******* try to overthrow elections with violence, and then you’re out here, among decent people?”
The voter evidently confused generic Republicans with the fringe groups that entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021, implausibly seeking to invalidate the 2020 election results. This is not the sort of mistake a civically informed voter is likely to make, for the very simple reason that the DOJ has put nearly everyone involved with the January 6 fiasco in jail for a very long time.
Unable to provoke Hurtt, the angry voter continued to seek out an argument and increased his use of foul language. “What do you have to say to that, huh? And what’s on your ******* [sample ballot] — what are your policy prescriptions? … ******* rapists, right? Involving yourself in people’s ******* families, in their ******* bedrooms. You ******* animal.”
Having just voted, the man should have known that the sample ballot did not include “policy prescriptions” because Arlington voters had no ballot questions to vote on in the 2023 election.
In any event, this exchange shows that, aside from the January 6 straw man, what progressives most hate about Republicans — or at least most of them — are their policy preferences, specifically their biblical understanding of sexuality and marriage and their defense of unborn babies from cruel death by abortion. For daring to endorse public policies consistent with morality and flourishing families, progressives like this man hold pro-life, pro-family Republicans to be “rapists” and “animal[s].”
The voter began to walk away, but immediately stepped back to threaten the poll greeter, despite just accusing the poll greeter of threatening him. “You try to steal my vote next year, I’m going to ******* remember you personally,” he said. “In fact, I’m taking a ******* picture of you.” Americans have historically worried about partisans intimidating voters at the polls; here is a voter intimidating a partisan at the polls.
Then the voter’s progressive reflexes kicked in, and he remembered the Left’s emphasis on not taking someone’s picture without their consent, which has been used to prosecute undercover journalists exposing abortion centers’ gruesome practices.
So, the voter quickly added, “Is that alright? Do I have your permission?” Hurtt responded, “Yeah, that’s alright. It’s a one-party-consent state.” By that, he meant that it is not illegal in Virginia to photograph someone without their permission. But the voter wasn’t thinking in those categories at all. Apparently, he thought Hurtt was complaining that Democrats run everything in Virginia because after a gratuitous insult he responded, “Yeah, ‘one-party state.’ You want a one-party country is what you want.”
The voter did not seem to recognize the irony of that last statement. By delegitimizing the entire Republican Party, and by being offended by the very presence of a Republican outside his voting precinct, he revealed that he was the one who wanted a one-party country — one where only left-wing Democratic politicians can win elections.
Hurtt tried to end the conversation by engaging another prospective voter who just then walked down the sidewalk, in the exchange relayed above. The disgruntled voter at first walked away, but then he came back again and spoke to the other man.
“Try not to be buddy-buddy with these people,” he warned, “because they put on the face of a good neighbor, but they support lynch mobs and the ******* KKK. Or they’re ******* Bible-beating bigots and freaks. And they’re not good neighbors.
Clearly, the man had saved his worst insults for last. Republicans are all violent racists, he alleged incorrectly — not to mention contrary to the evidence. They might seem mild-mannered and polite, but drape them in a bedsheet and you’ll see their true, nasty, hateful selves really come out! Then the man thought of another brand he associated with Republicans, one which deserved mentioning next to the KKK because he apparently considered them to be just as vile: people who believe the Bible.
Notice how the man describes Christians: “Bible-beating bigots and freaks.” A bigot is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.” A freak is “one that is markedly unusual or abnormal.” Despite the negative connotations, this angry, progressive voter is describing people who believe the Bible contains absolute truth and are unwilling to compromise on that — in short, Bible-believing Christians.
Of course, his characterization is uncharitable and largely incorrect. The term “bigot” applies to people who unreasonably insist on opinions they haven’t thought through, but many Christians have thought deeply about their faith. As G.K. Chesterton said in his autobiography, “The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” As to the term “freak,” it’s true that born-again Christians are unusual, but they are not abnormal to a moral compass pointing to true north. They only appear that way to people who see the world the wrong-way round. Finally, while “Bible-beating” is an evocative phrase, what Christians do to the Bible should be far closer to “believe, obey, and submit” than “beat.”
Again, note the irony. From this brief exchange, it seems unlikely that this enraged voter has ever met a Christian, or for that matter a Republican. He called Bible-believing Christians “bigots,” but he is the one displaying uninformed prejudice toward another group of people.
In a recent interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, House Speaker Mike Johnson discussed the hostility he has faced in Washington as a result of his Christian faith. “There are whole industries, as you know, that are dedicated to taking down public officials like me,” he said. “They can’t stand the idea that someone would openly acknowledge their faith. That’s not in vogue in Washington anymore — hasn’t been for a long time.”
That anti-Christian bias seems to have spread beyond select industries to infect a large part of the federal bureaucracy. So, when Christians go to Washington to advance pro-life, pro-family policies, or even basic morality, they are bound to face near-crushing opposition.
Perkins connected the hostility faced by Christians to the rising wave of anti-Semitism across America. During his time as Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Perkins said, they heard testimony from a U.N. official overseeing efforts to counter anti-Semitism in Europe, who warned that “we need to be paying attention because it’s the canary in the coal mine,” said Perkins. “When you look at what’s happening here in the United States, it’s not going to stop with this anti-Israel, Anti-Jewish [hatred]. I mean, it moves to Christianity next. History tells us that.”
“I really thought that a large wave of anti-Semitism was not something that we would see in America,” said Johnson. “But wow, I mean, it’s been shocking to see how this kind of uprising of anti-Semitism has just infected the whole country.”
On Monday, news broke that a pro-Palestinian protest in Los Angeles had reached a new low, when a protestor struck a 69-year-old man on the head with a bullhorn, knocking him to the ground. The man later died at the hospital, and his death was ruled a homicide.
Only days after anti-Semitic protestors struck and killed an elderly Jewish man, a federal contractor near the nation’s capital indulged in a profanity-laced rant against Bible-believing Christians. While the two incidents share no direct causal link, both are symptoms of a rising tide of intolerance and hostility towards religion — particularly those based in the Bible.
“That’s a part of the cancel culture: to try to suppress, repress, to make people of faith feel like they’re isolated and alone, so they’ll go silent,” Perkins responded. “And that’s all the more reason we need to speak up.”
“We saw the trend happen, the cultural shifts in America. … They’ve convinced a generation or two of Americans that [the separation of church and state] means that faith can have no influence in the public square,” Johnson continued. “Of course, the original meaning of the First Amendment was that the government cannot encroach upon the church.”
“The Founders were so clear,” he argued. “They wanted a vibrant expression of faith in the public square, because … they knew that to maintain a constitutional republic of, by and for the people, you had to have a basic consensus, a sense of morality and virtue that undergirded the Republic.”
Johnson’s wife “Kelly is a woman of strong faith,” he said. “She knows — she believes God called us to this. And so she’s being sustained by the prayers and support and encouragement of lots of friends and people that we don’t even know around the country who are praying for us.” Still, he said, barbed words can wound, so “we appreciate all those prayers and that encouragement and support.”
Peter instructed his exiled readers, “This is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15). That’s what Speaker Johnson aims to do, but he earnestly needs prayer, too. Paul instructed Christian churches to pray for “all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:2) even if they aren’t Christians. How much more should we pray for a man like Mike Johnson, who is inevitably going to face intense spiritual and political attacks!
“It’s no fun to be lied about and maligned and misquoted,” Johnson admitted. “It’s no fun to have your family, you know, attacked in the way they are. But they have a strong sense about why we’re here, and we’re sticking together.”
Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.