During a high-decibel rant at the right-wing Turning Point USA conference Monday afternoon, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) delivered her usual stump speech, full of insane attacks on Democrats. But one line in particular, about the “godless,” was particularly egregious. It was a lie even more obvious than all her other ones.
… I am tired of having godless people who hate America run this country!
This is shocking. Who knew there were godless people running the country?!
Religious Americans rule the country
The answer, of course, is that we’re not. President Joe Biden is Catholic, as is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is Jewish. Vice President Kamala Harris is Baptist. There is quite literally one open atheist in Congress: Rep. Jared Huffman. Even the Congressional Freethought Caucus — with 14 members representing Secular Americans — has only one openly non-theistic member (Huffman).
Am I cherry picking here? Not at all. According to the Pew Research Center, the current Congress is made up almost entirely of Christians (88.1%), followed by Jewish members (6.2%), a few other minority faiths (2.0%), and a handful of members who don’t share their religious information publicly (3.4%).
(Huffman is included in the “Other” category while the sole “Unaffiliated” member is Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who is known for evading answers on anything that matters.)
So let’s be clear: The “godless” aren’t running the country. By and large, it’s Christians who are in the positions of power. Boebert should be delivering that speech in a mirror, not on a stage.
Boebert’s actual intentions
But let’s be honest: Boebert wasn’t referring to demographics or actual beliefs. She wasn’t actually making some kind of theological argument. She was using “godless” as a slur against everyone who’s not a conservative Christian like her. It’s not like she believes progressive Christians and Catholics share her faith. There’s all heretics to different degrees. And yet that rhetoric, as slanderous as it is, barely got any attention outside of a handful of tweets.
We’ve just come to expect Republicans to trash everyone who’s not them as un-American, un-patriotic, and un-Christian. To put it another way, if (liberal, Muslim) Rep. Ilhan Omar used similar language to denounce conservatives, it would be headline news everywhere, especially right-wing media, but because Boebert constantly treats anyone to her left like complete shit, it’s a non-event for most reporters.
The Christian Nationalist movement continues to embrace her because she talks about Jesus, no matter how disgracefully she speaks about her colleagues and how incompetent she is at her actual job. Christian Right leaders don’t have the courage to call her out on it, either. It’s not like Colorado megachurch pastors are going to condemn her words. That’s because they either believe it themselves or they don’t want to alienate the extremists in their own congregations.
Boebert is a liar. She’s a despicable person who uses her power to hurt others. It’s all justified because she believes Jesus gives her permission to treat everyone else as the enemy — and if that’s untrue, then let’s hear it from all those Christian leaders who choose to remain silent.