HBO host Bill Maher on Friday blamed the Capitol riot on Christianity and conflated those who believe the QAnon conspiracy theory with those who have faith in religion.
“As long as we’re going to go to the trouble of another impeachment trial, we might as well be honest about what it’s really about,” Maher began. “The events of Jan. 6 were a faith-based initiative.”
“And Trumpism is a Christian nationalist movement that believes Trump was literally sent from heaven to save them,” Maher added, playing a clip of Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) claiming God sent Trump.
“There’s a lot of talk now in liberal corners about how Republicans should tell their base who still believe the election was rigged that they need to grow up and move on, and stop asking the rest of us to respect their mass delusion,” Maher continued. “And of course it is a mass delusion, but the inconvenient truth here is that if you accord religious faith the kind of exalted respect we do here in America, you’ve already lost the argument that mass delusion is bad.”
“It’s fun to laugh at QAnon, with the baby-eating lizard people and the pedophile pizza parlors, but have you ever read the Book of [Revelation]?” Maher said to a smattering of applause. “That’s the Bible. That’s your holy book, Christians.”
Maher went on to scoff at the symbolic content of Revelation, which he seemingly assumed was meant to be taken literally.
“Magical religious thinking is a virus, and QAnon is just its current mutation,” Maher argued. “That’s why megachurches play QAnon videos. It’s the same basic plot: Q is a prophet, Trump is the messiah, there’s an apocalyptic event looming, ‘the storm,’ there’s a titanic struggle of good versus evil, and if you want to win, just keep those checks coming in.”
Maher claimed that the reason “the Trump mob believes in him” is because they are religious. “They’ve already made space in their heads for sh*t that doesn’t make sense. When you’re a QAnon fanatic, you’re also a fundamentalist Christian. They just go together, like macaroni and cheese or chardonnay and Valium.”
Maher likened the Capitol riot to “a revival meeting,” mocking the people who were praying at the event and displaying religious signs. He pointed out that the senators who voted to object to the election results in Arizona were evangelical Christians, comparing their claims of election fraud without proof to the claims of religion.
Pointing to Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason,” Maher concluded that religious people are going against the intention of the Founding Fathers to base the nation on reason instead of faith.
“So respectfully, I direct you to your own T-shirt: F*ck your feelings,” Maher added.