Christians Demand Apology After Reporter ‘Smears the Christian Faith’

Christian organizations sent a letter to Politico after one of its reporters, Heidi Przybyla, condemned the beliefs of Christian nationalists.

“The one thing that unites all of them … as Christian nationalists – not Christians by the way, because Christian nationalist is very different – is that they believe that our rights as Americans, as all human beings, don’t come from any earthly authority,” Przybyla said. “They don’t come from Congress. They don’t come to the Supreme Court. They come from God.”

The letter, signed by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Brian Burch of Catholic Vote, said that Przybyla “demonstrated a disqualifying lack of knowledge of the United States of America’s founding documents and a profoundly prejudicial view toward American religious groups.”

Przybyla’s view failed to acknowledge that “our own Republic was founded on the belief that our rights come from God, not earthly kings or government,” Perkins and Burch wrote. “This understanding of the origin of human rights is clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence 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.”

The Christian leaders called Przybyla’s unawareness of the Declaration of Independence “disturbing.”

Because of the reporter’s historically inaccurate statements, “[i]t is deeply disturbing … that she appeared unaware of the opening of the Declaration of Independence or to its references of ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.’”

“Equally concerning is Ms. Przybyla’s smearing of the Christian faith reflected in her comments. Her statements 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,” the letter added.

The letter concluded by urging Politico to confirm that offense is not a part of its structure. “Rhetoric like Ms. Przybyla’s, which demonizes religious groups, is profoundly dangerous. It can motivate disturbed individuals who may be predisposed to commit violence against faith communities,” it read. “We the undersigned believe that Ms. Przybyla’s comments reflect a pervasive bias that not only prevents her from accurately and fairly covering issues related to religion and religious communities, but Politico’s silence suggests it condones these attacks on people of faith. Ms. Przybyla owes people of faith an apology, as does her employer. Politico must confirm that such offensive comments have no place within its organization.”

Criticism against Christianity comes as attacks against churches have surged in the last year.

More than 436 hostile acts occurred against churches between January and November 2023, a number more than double the hostilities against churches in 2020 and eight times greater than in 2018.

“Our findings suggest that the rise in hostility we identified in our December 2022 report has neither slowed nor plateaued; rather, it has accelerated,” the report from the Family Research Council said. “This could be due in part to increased public reporting on crimes against churches, resulting in more available data than in the past.”

California churches saw the greatest number of hostilities in 2023, with 33. Texas had 28 incidents of hostile action, followed by Tennessee (26), Ohio (24), and Florida (23). Both New York and Carolina had 22 hostile events. Hawaii and Wyoming had zero hostile actions taken against churches throughout 2023.