Bishop Robert Barron rebukes reporter for conflating God-given rights with Christian nationalism

'This is opening the door to totalitarianism'

Screengrab/Bishop Robert Barron/X
Screengrab/Bishop Robert Barron/X

Bishop Robert Barron publicly rebuked the Politico reporter who suggested believing in God-given rights is an indication of Christian nationalism, and warned that her worldview leads to totalitarianism.

Journalist Heidi Przybyla went viral last week for claiming on MSNBC that Christians and "Christian nationalists" are different, but that Christian nationalists are united by the belief "that our rights as Americans, as all human beings, don't come from any earthly authority."

"They don't come from Congress, they don't come from the Supreme Court, they come from God," she said. "The problem with that is that they are determining — man, men, and it is men — are determining what God is telling them."

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In a video he posted to social media Friday that drew nearly 2 million views on X as of Monday, Barron of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester condemned Przybyla's assertion as "one of the most disturbing and frankly dangerous things I've ever seen in a political conversation."

Barron noted that despite Pzrybyla's implication that people who believe their rights come from God are "weirdos," Thomas Jefferson understood such a principle forms the basis of American political thought.

The Catholic bishop cited the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence, which says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Barron went on to warn that because it acknowledges no authority higher than the state, a worldview that removes God as the source of rights is the seedbed of totalitarianism.

"Let me say everybody, it is exceptionally dangerous when we forget the principle that our rights come from God and not from a government," Barron said. "Because the basic problem is, if they come from the government or Congress or the Supreme Court, they can be taken away by those same people. This is opening the door to totalitarianism."

"This is not some kind of religious nationalism or sectarianism," he continued. "It's one of the sanest principles of our democratic governance, that our rights come from God. Yes, government exists to secure these rights, the Declaration says — not to produce them."

When a society ceases to be grounded in a transcendent source of law, Barron said, they fall into an "exceptionally dangerous" situation that exposes them to becoming "victims of a potentially totalitarian state that can take away the same rights that they gave us in the first place."

He concluded by observing that in their enthusiasm to oppose so-called Christian nationalism, the Left is increasingly taking aim against the foundations of American democracy and revealing their "extreme hostility" toward religion.

"As an American, I want to hold that my rights come not from something as vacillating and unreliable as Congress or the Supreme Court," he said. "They come from God."

Przybyla did not personally respond to Barron's message but retweeted a reply to it from an X user who wrote, "The question raised is much more complex than you are letting on. The problem is that Christian Nationalists are themselves deciding what God is telling them, or what the Natural Law says."

She also retweeted a thread by Andrew L. Seidel, an attorney with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who argued that Przybyla's comments on MSNBC were "absolutely correct."

"Rights given by a god can be taken away by men claiming to speak for that god," said Seidel, who featured in Rob Reiner's recent anti-Christian nationalist film "God and Country."

"That's exactly the fight we're in now. That's what the Alabama Supreme Court just did with IVF. That's Christian Nationalism," he continued, adding an excerpt from his book "The Founding Myth" that argued "the god-given rights fallacy is also moral relativism masquerading as moral absolutism."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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