". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


FRC Demands Apology from Reporter Who Defined ‘Rights ... Come from God’ as ‘Christian Nationalism’

February 28, 2024

Family Research Council and Catholic Vote demanded an apology Wednesday for comments made on February 23 by Politico National Investigative Correspondent Heidi Przybyla, who claimed those who believe rights come from God are “Christian nationalists.”

“Ms. Przybyla declared that the uniting belief of ‘Christian nationalists’ is that ‘rights as Americans, as all human beings, don’t come from any earthly authority,’ not once acknowledging that our own Republic was founded on the belief that our rights come from God, not earthly kings or government,” stated Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Catholic Vote President Brian Burch, in a letter obtained by The Washington Stand.

Przybyla went viral for comments she made during a panel discussion on MSNBC:

“The thing that unites them as Christian nationalists — not ‘Christians,’ because Christian nationalists are very different — is that they believe that our rights as Americans and as all human beings do not come from any earthly authority. They don’t come from Congress, from the Supreme Court, they come from God. The problem with that is that they are determining — men are determining — what God is telling them.”

“This understanding of the origin of human rights is clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence,” the letter protested, “and its proposition that ‘all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.’ And it has been reiterated and embraced by every President of the United States since George Washington.”

“No doubt that she was very sincere in what she was saying,” remarked David Closson, director of Family Research Council’s Center for Biblical Worldview, on “Washington Watch,” “and she was sincerely wrong.”

Perkins and Burch argued that Przybyla “demonstrated a disqualifying lack of knowledge of the United States of America’s founding documents” for someone “charged with reporting accurately on American government, politics, and law.”

“What the Founders realized is that government doesn’t grant rights. It merely recognizes rights. It secures those rights. It defines those rights, but it doesn’t grant any rights,” Closson pointed out. “Our Founders — a lot of them were believers, some of them were not, some were Deists — they all had this understanding. And even before them, this is the English common law tradition.”

Closson also criticized Przybyla for a later reference to “so-called ‘natural law,’” arguing that the notion of “natural law” results from “centuries of Christian thinking.” He added that “special revelation is most important, God’s revealed word through the Bible. But we also believe in natural law, that God reveals himself [through nature].”

To further this point, Perkins invoked Romans 2:14-15, where Paul wrote, “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts.”

“This has long been a part of our judicial system, our legal system, our understanding of the law,” Perkins said on “Washington Watch” Tuesday. But “the Left has controlled our educational institutions for so long that these foundational ideas now seem to be foreign. … There is a deficit of understanding and of knowledge among the elite in this country.”

“If we’re being deceived about who we are as a people and our foundation … we can be led who knows where,” Perkins warned. “It’s kind of like moving morals away from the gold standard. … That’s what we’ve done with our currency. That’s what you do with morals, with positive law. You move it away from any anchored truth.”

The controversy over natural law has been around for decades, Perkins stated. He recalled that, during the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the Left was “trying to repudiate and remove the whole concept of natural law, replacing it totally with positive law, which is man-made law.”

The letter also complained about Przybyla’s “prejudicial view toward American religious groups.” In particular, it argued that her “smearing of the Christian faith … constituted an attempt to spread misinformation about Christians by creating the perception that they hold unique beliefs that pose a distinct and, in her words ‘extremist,’ threat to our country. … She was manifestly trying to demonize the Christian community and sow fear through propaganda.”

Perkins and Burch added that Przybyla’s most recent comments represented “a consistent pattern of singling out Christian organizations and individuals,” a pattern which also includes her “recent articles targeting efforts to support a Catholic school and her selective interpretation of sources to advance an anti-Christian ideological agenda.” The letter connected Przybyla’s remarks to the increasing “hostility against U.S. churches,” pointing to a recent report showing that, “in 2023, American places of worship experienced more than double the amount of violence than the year prior.”

Przybyla “probably thought she was revealing some really deep, hidden conspiracy among the right wing,” Closson suggested. “I almost pity her that this lack of historical understanding is common.”

“We need to understand our past. We need to understand our history,” Closson explained. “And as Christians, we need to understand the whole storyline of Scripture from creation, fall, redemption, restoration.”

Closson appealed to the inscription on the “Future” statue in front of the National Archives. “What is past is prologue,” it reads. The inscription, he said, extends an invitation: “Come learn about the documents, look at the Constitution. Look at the Declaration of Independence. Look at the Bill of Rights. Understand why we have these documents, what they mean.”

Closson said those who know their history will come to understand what the Founders knew, that “These are rights that are inherent, that they were given to us by the Creator.”

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.