Politico Reporter Apologizes for ‘Clumsy’ Comments on ‘Christian Nationalists’ After Outcry

MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Heidi Przybyla, NBC News National Political Reporter, an
William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty

Politico reporter Heidi Przybyla wrote an article on Thursday apologizing for her comments painting those who believe their rights come from God as “extremists” and “Christian nationalists.”

Przyblya’s article was published after leading Christian organizations sent a letter to Politico leadership on Wednesday demanding an apology and accusing her of demonstrating a “disqualifying lack of knowledge of the United States of America’s founding documents and a profoundly prejudicial view toward American religious groups.”

“Due to some clumsy words, I was interpreted by some people as making arguments that are quite different from what I believe,” Przybyla wrote. “Excerpts of what I said were promoted widely in some political circles by some activists whose primary objection, I feel sure, was not my television appearance but my coverage in POLITICO about the tactics and agenda of political activists who subscribe to a philosophy they call ‘Christian Nationalism.’ Christianity is a religion. Christian Nationalism is a political movement. As I said on air, there is a big difference between the two.”

She continued: 

Reporters have a responsibility to use words and convey meaning with precision, and I am sorry I fell short of this in my appearance. To state the obvious, the above is not a good definition of Christian Nationalism. Many people have views about our rights as Americans that would coincide with those of many of our nation’s founders. In my full remarks, I noted that many other individuals and groups on all sides of the political equation have cited natural law, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who invoked the concept in his fight for civil rights. But, of course, the question of which policies and rights and values can be ascribed to natural law is in the eyes of the beholder.

She went on to claim she does not have a “bias against religion.”

“Those who complain must recognize that in a pluralistic society people on the other side of policy debates have religious or idealistic convictions every bit as sincere as their own,” she wrote. “Neither side should try to assert that they have unique insight to represent God’s will, or that the other side is in opposition to that will.”

WATCH — Politico’s Przybyla: Christian Nationalists, Not Christians, Believe Rights Come from God

Przybyla said on February 23 on MSNBC’s All In that Christian nationalists, not Christians, believe rights come from God, in what appears to be part of a continued crusade from the left to paint Christian values as a “threat to democracy.
Przybyla said:

The base of the Republican Party has shifted. Remember when Trump ran in 2016? A lot of the mainland Evangelicals wanted nothing to do with the divorced real estate mogul who cheated on his wife with a porn star and all of that. So what happened was he was surrounded by this more extremist element. We are going to hear words like “Christian nationalism,” like “the new apostolic reformation.” These are groups that you should get very schooled on because they have a lot of power in Trump’s circle, and the one thing that unites all of them, because there’s many different groups orbiting Trump, but the thing that unites 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. They don’t come from Congress. They don’t come from the Supreme Court. They come from God.

The problem with that is that they are determining — man, it is men — are determining what God is telling them. And in the past, that so-called natural law is, you know, it’s a pillar of Catholicism, for instance, it’s been used for good in social justice campaigns. Martin Luther King evoked it in talking about civil rights.

But now, you have an extremist element of conservative Christians who say that this applies specifically to issues including abortion, gay marriage, and it’s going much further than that, as you see, for instance, with the ruling in Alabama this week that judges connected to that Dominionist faction in talking about a lot of other issues, including surrogacy, IVF, you know, sex education in schools. There’s a lot in addition.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Catholic Vote President Brian Burch slammed Przybyla’s comments in their letter to Politico, calling them “deeply disturbing.”

It stated:

As a National Investigative Correspondent for Politico, Ms. Przybyla is charged with reporting accurately on American government, politics, and law. It is deeply disturbing, therefore, 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.

“Setting aside the inaccuracy of her commentary, she was manifestly trying to demonize the Christian community and sow fear through propaganda,” it added.

Perkins responded to Przybyla’s apology article on X, calling on her to “try again.”

“If this is an apology by Ms. Przybyla for slandering Bible-believing Christians for exercising their rights as Americans to be involved in the political process – she needs to try again,” Perkins wrote. “Her words on MSNBC were not ‘clumsy’ they were calculated. Politico needs to come clean on their religious hostility.”

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.


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