Catholic group demands MSNBC apologize for Joy Reid's 'white Christians' comment

MSNBC host Joy Reid has frequently likened the Christian right to the Taliban terrorist group in Afghanistan.
MSNBC host Joy Reid has frequently likened the Christian right to the Taliban terrorist group in Afghanistan. | Screenshot: YouTube/MSNBC

A Catholic advocacy group is calling on MSNBC to apologize after the network’s on-air talent made disparaging remarks about Christians while covering the results of the Iowa caucuses.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, wrote a letter to MSNBC President Rashida Jones and Comcast President Michael Cavanagh Wednesday. Donohue’s letter comes two days after MSNBC opinion host Joy Reid complained on air that Iowa is “overrepresented by white Christians” as the Iowa caucuses that kicked off the presidential nominating season for the 2024 presidential election were slated to begin. 

Additionally, Reid recalled a conversation she had with Robby Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute, a polling company, ahead of the Iowa caucus vote: “He said the following to me: Iowa is about 61% white Christian. The country as a whole is approximately 41% white Christian. And in Iowa, we’re talking about Evangelical white Christians.”

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Reid added that when she asked Jones what white Evangelical Christians get out of supporting former President Donald Trump, who ultimately won the caucuses with 51% of the overall vote and 53% of the white Evangelical vote, the researcher responded, “They see themselves as the rightful inheritors of this country, and Trump has promised to give it back to them.”

The MSNBC host opined that “all the things that we think about, about electability, about … what are people gaming out … none of that matters when you believe that God has given you this country, that it is yours, and that everyone who is not a white, conservative Christian is a fraudulent American” and a “less real American.”

Reacting to Reid’s analysis, Donohue wrote, “If it were said that atheists believe anyone who is not a believer is a fraudulent American, there would be repercussions.”

Donohue also mentioned comments made by Tara Setmayer of the anti-Trump advocacy group The Lincoln Project on MSNBC Tuesday, where she referred to Christians as a “death cult” and singled out Evangelical Christians in particular: “Not only have they failed America, but they’ve failed Christianity.”

Once again, Donohue suggested that a double standard existed as he expressed concern that the political commentator did not receive any blowback because she directed her comments at Christians as opposed to another group: “If a guest or host on MSNBC said that Muslims are a ‘death cult,’ there would be repercussions. If it were said that Jews have failed both America and Judaism, there would be repercussions.” 

“Why have there been no repercussions regarding the anti-Christian remarks made by MSNBC guests and hosts?” he asked. “Bigotry against any demographic group should never be given air time on television.”

Donohue concluded the letter by calling on the head of the cable news channel as well as the leader of the network’s parent company to provide “a response to this serious issue.” He had started the letter by requesting a “vigorous network response” to the comments.

Monday’s primetime programming was not the first time Reid had used her platform on MSNBC to bash Christians. Following President Joe Biden's withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the country's fall to the Taliban, Reid took to X to suggest that “what we keep learning, forgetting and relearning, whether in Afghanistan or here in the U.S., is that religious extremism, backed by a willingness to use violence to impose a particular belief system as governing law, is incredibly dangerous.”

In another post on X, Reid reacted to news that women were no longer allowed to attend college classes in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan by once again invoking a comparison between the Taliban and American Christians: “This is the real-life Handmaid’s Tale. A true cautionary tale for the U.S., which has our own far religious right dreaming of a theocracy that would impose a particular brand of Christianity, drive women from the workforce and solely into childbirth, and control all politics.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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