Josh Hawley, the U.S. senator who gave the Capitol insurrectionists a thumbs-up, is receiving FFRF Action Fund’s “Theocrat of the Week” for tweeting out a fake Christian nationalist quote on July 4 and refusing to admit it’s fraudulent. In contrast, a refreshing tweet celebrating reality by drag queen Trixie Mattel wins her the “Secularist of the Week.”
Last month, Hawley embarrassed himself and our nation by tweeting on Juneteenth: “Today is a good day to remember: Christianity is the faith and America is the place slavery came to die.” In a recent continuation of the same behavior, Hawley tweeted for the Fourth of July an overtly fake quote attributed to Patrick Henry: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
While Henry was a Christian, he did not make that statement. It came from a segregationist publication, The Virginian, in 1956, as Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta capably documents in his article, “How Josh Hawley lied about America.” It’s no surprise that the mendacious attribution was distributed by the notorious Christian nationalist and misquoter David Barton in his discredited book The Myth of Separation. Barton later admitted the quote is unsubstantiated (although that didn’t stop Newt Gingrich from gleefully spreading it in his writings).
However, Hawley hasn’t got the integrity to acknowledge his mistake, and his tweet has already been viewed by 3.3 million people. “Think of the damage that’s done to the truth — all in the name of Christian nationalism, which itself of course is predicated on the lie that the United States is a Christian nation,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Action Fund president.
FFRF Action Fund salutes its pick of the week for “secularist,” Trixie Mattel, for making known her dissent from narrow religious dogma. When Vice TV recently asked Mattel “What about people who think it’s just plain wrong, God made men men and women women and there shouldn’t be any gender fluidity?” Mattel replied, “God’s not real, and I am.”
Mattel, a stage name for Brian Michael Firkus, is a TV personality and singer-songwriter who competed in the seventh season of the drag competition, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” finishing sixth. She went on to win in the third season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” in 2018.
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues. FFRF Action Fund serves as the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 40,000 members and works to keep religion out of government and educate the public about nontheism.