April 23, 2022

The pretext for this round of poutrage from the Network of the Perpetually Aggrieved, aka Fox News, were Raskin’s comments during an April 21 discussion at Georgetown University. From Religion News Service:

Raskin, a humanist and a member of the Congressional Free Thought Caucus, said [GOP] behavior is evidence that some Republican House members are “acting much more like members of a religious cult,” and said he has “literally been consulting deprogrammers to try to figure out how to talk to them and how to pull them away.”

The lawmaker said deprogrammers told him to be “as warm and affectionate and as personable as you can” to his colleagues to “make them remember what life was like before they got into the cult.

That’s right, Raskin said he plans to treat Republicans with warmth, affection and pleasantness.

But Chaffetz, along with guest Sean Duffy, dishonestly suggested that Raskin planned to somehow brainwash conservative Christians into changing their beliefs. “The left doesn’t want to just censor conservatives, now they want to completely reprogram them,” Chaffetz sneered. After playing a clip of Raskin’s dastardly plot to be warm-hearted, Chaffetz added, “He was very serious about wanting to deprogram religious guys like you.” He and Duffy snickered maliciously.

For extra maliciousness, “Christian” Duffy threw in some QAnon dog whistling: “Isn’t this the party that wants to talk about sex and transgenderism with five, six, seven-year-old kids in school?”

“Or are these the ones who are calling parents who are protesting CRT at school boards, are calling them domestic terrorists? And Republicans are in a cult? This is the insanity,” Duffy added.

Yes, it is insane, but not in the way Duffy meant. First of all, it’s Republicans who can’t stop obsessing about kids, sex and race – and are now passing laws about that. More importantly, Raskin was talking about how to work better with House Republicans, not anything these guys were ranting about.

In his comments, J6 committee-member Raskin also cited the role of “some white Christian nationalist groups” in the January 6th insurrection. More from Religion News Service:

The reference to Christian nationalism comes in the wake of a report, published in February by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, detailing the significant role the fusion of faith and politics played in the attack on the Capitol. Authors of the report briefed members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus last month about their findings — including Raskin, who co-founded the caucus.

But Chaffetz who, like Duffy, is a former House Republican who served with Raskin, claimed there was some “religious undertone” and “prejudice” in Raskin’s comments. “If somehow you believe in God or Jesus Christ, or that you believe in religion, that somehow, you're inferior, it must be a cult,” he said.

Duffy called that "a really smart point.”

Duffy upped the hate-filled ante to dishonestly suggest that Raskin and all Democrats are targeting Christians.

DUFFY: I think what they are now alluding to is the fact that you are going to have, as a religious believer, if you are a Christian, now you can be part of an extremist group and therefore, maybe the FBI can target you. But for sure, Democrats can target you. if you're a Christian - and this is the slippery slope where you don't believe in the Constitution. You don't believe in basic freedoms, you certainly cede the First Amendment in speech, the Second Amendment with our guns and now they're going after religion as well. And again, this is a frightening new frontier where Democrats are going with regard to their attacks and assaults on average Americans. But again on people of faith? This country was based on people of faith, they're based on believers. And Democrats again, they've left. They have left that train station a long time ago. And maybe they are a bunch of atheists, I don't know, Jason.


CHAFFETZ: It's just so demeaning and degrading to think that they are actually trying to deprogram people like you and me.

The fact that Chaffetz and Duffy would distort and demonize a gesture of reconciliation tells you not just how deeply dishonest, disingenuous and poisonous they are, but it also points to Raskin being spot on about the GOP acting like a cult. In his checklist of cult characteristics, Psychologist Steve Eichel lists this: “The group has a polarized us- versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.”

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