In what Bill Maher joked was “a Christmas miracle,” Friday marked the first-ever episode of “Real Time” that’s aired in December. For the occasion, Maher opted to do a Christmas-themed edition of “New Rules” at the end of the show.
But the point wasn’t really Christmas — it was a warning about the threat to American values posed by the growing number of Republican politicians who have rejected America’s founding principles and openly, by their own admission, want to force Americans to become Christians.
“Does anyone in that party remember what f–king country you’re living in?” Maher asked with exasperation. Watch the video above now.
But before that point, Maher started by talking about “something I’ve always wanted to expound upon in this show”: the myriad religions predating Christianity that feature central gods born on or around Dec. 25. But he also asserted how much he enjoys Christmas.
Maher noted how much he loves his Christmas memories with his family, while also joking, “It’s the only time of the year when it’s OK to put alcohol in milk.”
“Yes, I love Christmas and always have,” Maher said as he got to his real point. “Just don’t try to make me take it seriously. And that is what has been going on a lot lately here in America.”
Maher brought up Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, who Maher accurately noted has claimed — falsely, it needs to be said — that America is a “biblical” republic.
Maher noted that Johnson falsely claims “the separation of church and state is a misnomer. And Congresswoman Lauren Boebert concurred, saying she’s ‘tired of this separation of church and state junk.’ So too Marjorie Taylor Greene who says, ‘I say it proudly, we should all be Christian nationalists.'”
“Now I know it may seem like this is just a few crazies,” Maher said, acknowledging a common response from people who don’t take the threat seriously, “but I gotta tell you, dumbass Republicans who believe horrible ideas are like ants. There’s always more than you can see.”
Maher noted that “these ideas are no longer the fringe,” citing a recent poll that found more than half of Republicans are at least sympathetic to the concept of Christian nationalism. “They agree with statements like, ‘The U.S. government should declare America a Christian nation,’ and ‘Being Christian is an important part of being American,’ and ‘God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of American society.'”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want anyone exercising their dominion over me unless I pay them and we’ve established the safe word,” Maher quipped in response.
“Republicans,” Maher continued, “Jesus f–king Christ. First you stopped believing in democracy. Senator Mike Lee said it, among others. Trump lives the idea every day. And here we have the speaker of the House saying it, and now Republicans also don’t believe in the separation of church and state. Does anyone in that party remember what f–king country you’re living in?”
Maher celebrated America’s constitutional tradition of secular government, noting, “We’re the place that stakes so much of our greatness on being the first to specifically prohibit having a state religion. There are dozens of countries that have an official religion. There’s 13, where being an atheist is punishable by death.”
Maher then took a detour to ding activists who have recently celebrated the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas as some kind of revolutionary movement, though he also acknowledged that unlike the Republican politicians he’s talking about, those activists have no actual power in America.
“I get it, you kids like to switch things up. But I can only handle one side at a time being ridiculous about religious fanaticism, and right now I’ve got my hands full with Mike Johnson,” Maher said. “Johnson has the power to actually make laws, and I don’t want my global warming policy decided by someone who was rooting for the end of the world so we can get on with the Rapture.”
“Mike says we began as a Christian nation,” Maher continued. “We didn’t. Did you miss that day in homeschool Mike? If you don’t know that the Pilgrims came here to get away from the Church of England, then you don’t know literally the first thing about our country.”
“Mike says being a Christian nation is our tradition and it’s who we are as a people. It’s not,” Maher said as he neared his conclusion. “We’re the people who have a First Amendment which says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. And we have an Article Six, which says no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office.”
“So I take these people at their word when they say that they think we should be Christian nationalists. But then they have to take John Adams at his word, when he wrote, ‘The government of the United States of America is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.’ But I still love Christmas!”