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Biden team goes to extreme lengths to condemn conservative Christians

A woman wears a red robe from A Handmaid's Tale while participating in the Women's March on January 19, 2019 in New York City.
A woman wears a red robe from A Handmaid's Tale while participating in the Women's March on January 19, 2019 in New York City. | Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The Left increasingly views conservative Christians with a combination of fear and disgust. If those knuckle-dragging Bible-thumping cross-heads get their way, leftists warn, women will lose the right to vote, to work, to own property. Powerful men will force fertile women to be “handmaids,” systematically raping them to produce children.

That sounds insane, right? Yet this is exactly the argument that pro-abortion zealots use to demonize attempts to protect life in the womb, and President Joe Biden's campaign recently wielded this argument against the threat of “Christian nationalism” supposedly infiltrating former President Donald Trump's campaign.

Biden campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt drew absurd conclusions when commenting on a Politico report about “Trump allies” working to “infuse ‘Christian nationalism’” into a hypothetical second Trump administration.

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“This is straight out of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’" Hitt said in a statement Tuesday. “Nationwide abortion bans, attacks on same-sex marriage, and restrictions on contraception — this is the horrifying reality being openly discussed by Team Trump and the likely architects of his second term agenda.”

Hitt had been responding to a lengthy report about Russell Vought, former director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump. Politico claimed to have uncovered a document drafted by staff at the nonprofit Vought leads, the Center for Renewing America. The document “includes a list of top priorities for CRA in a second Trump term,” Politico's Alexander Ward and Heidi Przybyla write. They claim the document has a few bullet points, including one titled “Christian nationalism.”

Ward and Przybyla cite two anonymous sources in claiming that “Vought hopes his proximity and regular contact with the former president ... will elevate Christian nationalism as a focal point in a second Trump term.”

Ward and Przybyla did not reveal the documents they reportedly obtained, and they state that besides one bullet point, the documents “do not outline specific Christian nationalist policies.” Yet they delve deeply into what they characterize as Vought's Christian nationalist agenda, from immigration restrictions to limits on abortion and reduced access to contraceptives.

“The so-called reporting from Politico is false and we told them so on multiple occasions,” Rachel Cauley, communications director at the Center for Renewing America, told The Daily Signal when asked about the report.

The Politico report frames many conservative policies as elements of Christian nationalism and omits key context about conservative issues.

It cites Trump out of context, noting a campaign speech in which the former president lamented attacks on Catholics and pledged to fight “anti-Christian bias” at the Justice Department but failing to mention that Trump had been responding to the FBI's reliance on the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center to demonize “radical-traditional Catholic hate groups.”

The report also casts aspersions on the natural law tradition, omitting the fact that it heavily influenced America's founding documents. “Natural law is the belief that there are universal rules derived from God that can't be superseded by government or judges,” Ward and Przybyla write. “While it is a core pillar of Catholicism, in recent decades it's been used to oppose abortion, LGBTQ+ rights and contraception.”

Ward and Przybyla also note that Vought “makes clear reference to human rights being defined by God, not man.”

It seems neither of these seasoned reporters has read the Declaration of Independence, which also grounds rights in “the laws of nature and nature's God.”

Yet these insinuations apparently had their intended effect. The Biden campaign followed the Politico article's deceptive framing in going overboard to condemn Trump — and more specifically Vought, the man Politico frames as the former president's top advisor.

Many on the Left have compared the pro-life movement to “The Handmaid's Tale,” but it bears repeating just how absurd this rhetorical attack is.

The Handmaid's Tale, a dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood and adapted into a Hulu series a few years ago, depicts a Christian movement known as “Gilead” taking control of America following a calamity that makes most women infertile. Gilead removes women's property, fires them from their jobs, and forces them into a stratified society based extremely loosely on one particular Bible passage.

The government assigns fertile women to the position of “handmaids,” silent servants who are systematically raped in order to bear children.

Gilead finds justification for this in Genesis 30, where Rachel, anxious for children, tells her husband Jacob to have sex with her handmaid Bilhah. In response, Jacob’s other wife Leah tells Jacob to have sex with her handmaid Zilpah.

The Bible does not praise this wifely rivalry as a good thing, and God's ability to bring good things out of evil acts is a major theme in Genesis. Bible passages from Genesis to Revelation state that men and women were designed for one another in the covenant of marriage, between one man and one woman. Many Christians read Genesis 30 as a warning against polygamy, not an instruction manual on how to compete with your sister to have more kids.

Margaret Atwood, no fan of Trump or of pro-life policies, rightly rebuked an Esquire reporter who prompted Atwood to compare Trump's administration to Gilead.

“People are saying Trump is re-creating Gilead. That’s not true,” Atwood said in 2019. “If it were, we’d not be having this conversation.”

Trump's administration did not bring about Gilead, and conservative Christians have no remote desire to create Atwood's dystopian vision. Allowing Catholic nuns to opt out of funding contraceptives and protecting babies in the womb has nothing to do with systems of female slavery and forced rape.

Comparing Christians to Gilead enflames the irrational hatred against followers of Jesus that some sociologists have termed “Christianophobia.

Biden, who campaigned on restoring the soul of America in 2020, should know better than to spread such malicious falsehoods.

Tyler O’Neil is the managing editor at The Daily Signal, the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation and author of “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center.” The Heritage Foundation is listed for identification purposes only. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect any institutional position of the Heritage Foundation, The Daily Signal, or the Heritage Board of Trustee.

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