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Speaker Mike Johnson had some strong words for political consultant James Carville, who called him a Christian nationalist and said he was worse than al-Qaeda. Carville appeared on Bill Maher’s HBO show and was asked by Maher what he thought of him as a Louisiana native himself. “Mike Johnson and what he believes is one of the greatest threats we have today to the United States. I promise you, I know these people,” he said. After affirming to Maher that he was talking about “Christian nationalists,” he said, “This is a bigger threat than al-Qaeda to this country.” He stated that the influence of Christian nationalist was rampant through the US. “And let me tell you something: The Speaker of the House, they got probably at least two Supreme Court justices, maybe more, don’t kid yourself.” He called Christian nationalism “a fundamental threat to the United States.” “[Christian nationalists] don’t believe in the Constitution. They’ll tell you that. Mike Johnson himself says what is democracy but two wolves and a lamb having lunch? That’s what they really, really, really believe.” He stated Christian nationalists have “been doing it forever.” “They’re funded. They’re funded. They’re relentless and, you know, they probably won’t win for a while but they might. And if they do, the whole country blows a gasket.”

Johnson took to X to respond to the criticism. “It’s twisted and shameful that a leading Democrat strategist says millions of Christians in America are a greater threat than foreign terrorists who murdered more than 3,000 Americans,” he wrote. “The Democratic Party should condemn this. But they won’t.” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council called the statements “absurd and irresponsible.” “To call Bible-believing Christians an enemy of the state is not only reckless but shows a profound misunderstanding of our nation’s founding faith,” he concluded. The Babylon Bee, a Christian satire site, posted the exchange and mocked Carville’s comments on its news site, Not the Bee. “HE LIKES TO PRAY TO JESUS AND HE LIKES SAVING BABIES! GASP!” Not the Bee wrote. “Yeah, Mike Johnson, who thinks abortion is a holocaust, the Bible is the Word of God, and knows Jefferson’s meaning of Church and State is a ‘threat’ to America and the values it was founded on!”

This is not the first time Johnson has had such an extreme accusation leveled against him on Maher’s show. Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger compared Johnson and Christian nationalism to the Taliban, saying, “There is no difference between Christian nationalism — which is what [Johnson’s] representing — than the Taliban.” Maher has also been highly critical against Johnson, comparing him to the Maine mass shooter, who killed 18 people and injured 13. “When you’re this much of a religious fanatic, there is no room for real democracy. That’s not what you believe in,” he said.

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