Believing in God-given rights indicates 'Christian nationalism,' Politico journalist says

Heidi Przybyla claims 'natural law' being misapplied to abortion, gay marriage

Heidi Przybyla
Heidi Przybyla | Screengrab/MSNBC

An award-winning investigative journalist for Politico claimed during an MSNBC panel on Thursday that believing rights come from God is a marker of "Christian nationalism."

Heidi Przybyla also claimed on "All In with Chris Hayes" that former President Donald Trump is surrounding himself with an "extremist element of conservative Christians" who are misusing "so-called natural law" in their attempt to roll back abortion and LBGT rights.

"Remember when Trump ran in 2016, a lot of the mainline Evangelicals wanted nothing to do with the divorced real estate mogul who had cheated on his wife with a porn star and all of that, right? So what happened was he was surrounded by this more extremist element," Przybyla said.

"You're going hear words like 'Christian nationalism,' like the 'New Apostolic Reformation,'" she continued. "These are groups that you should get very, very schooled on because they have a lot of power in Trump's circle."

Przybyla went on to make a distinction between Christians and "Christian nationalists," which she said are "very different." What unites all Christian nationalists, she said, "is that they believe that our rights as Americans, as all human beings, don't come from any earthly authority."

"They don't come from Congress, they don't come from the Supreme Court, they come from God," she added. "The problem with that is that they are determining — man, men, and it is men — are determining what God is telling them."

Calling it "a pillar of Catholicism," Przybyla noted that natural law "has been used for good and social justice campaigns," including in Martin Luther King Jr.'s fight for civil rights, but suggested "an extremist element of conservative Christians" are now misinterpreting natural law by applying it to abortion and gay marriage.

"And it's going much further than that, as you see, for instance, with a ruling in Alabama this week that judges connected to that Dominionist faction did," she said, referring to the recent decision from the Alabama Supreme Court that ruled frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization are human beings protected by state law.

Przybyla's comments echoed some of the assertions in her recent article for Politico titled "Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration," which argued that Christian nationalism is likely to play a major role in public policy if Trump takes back the White House.

The article, which was also written by Alexander Ward, defined natural law as "the belief that there are universal rules derived from God that can’t be superseded by government or judges," and likewise called it "a pillar of Catholicism" that has "been used to oppose abortion, LGBTQ+ rights and contraception" in recent decades.

The main target of the article was Russell Vought, Trump's former director of the Office of Management and Budget, who was among many on X who excoriated Przybyla on Friday for comments they claimed showed ignorance of basic American political thought as found in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence.

"Mike Johnson should put a resolution on the floor reaffirming that we are one nation, under God. Make the Dems vote against it or be called Christian Nationalists," Vought tweeted.

The Politico article also hit at former Trump administration official William Wolfe, labeling him a Christian nationalist because he "advocated for overturning same-sex marriage, ending abortion and reducing access to contraceptives."

"In a December post, [Wolfe] called for ending sex education in schools, surrogacy and no-fault divorce throughout the country, as well as forcing men 'to provide for their children as soon as it’s determined the child is theirs' — a clear incursion by the government into Americans’ private lives," the article said.

Wolfe also contributed to the firestorm on X in response to Przybyla.

"Apparently believing in the ideas set forth in our Founding documents now makes you a — you guessed it — 'Christian Nationalist,'" he wrote, adding, "Yes, Heidi, our rights do come from God. Again, the ignorance of these regime journalists is astounding. They know nothing about the American founding or Christian political thought."

Others took aim, such as Republican Texas state Rep. Brian Harrison, who wrote, "The very foundations of the America our founders built is under assault. Any elected Republican not doing everything they can to fight back is complicit."

"Politico has twice now, in print and with its reporter on MSNBC, raised flags about an idea central to the founding of the American Republic," journalist Erick Erickson tweeted. "This is troubling because it suggests a lack of education and understanding by its reporters."

"Believing rights come from God is now Christian Nationalism," wrote Andrew T. Walker, an ethics and public theology professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "This is a civics failure, a talent failure, an intelligence failure, a historical failure, an ethics failure ... shall I keep going? Elites we will always have. But my heavens, we need better elites."

Przybyla responded Friday to some of the flak she was taking on X, claiming her words were being misunderstood.

"While there are different wings of Christian Nationalism, they are bound by their belief that our rights come from God," she wrote.

"If you are Hindu, Jewish etc, this might help you understand the next part of my point, which is they are using this for a man-made policy agenda, which distinguishes this from other Christians who leave these God-given rights at our inherent right to 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' — vs banning abortion, contraception etc."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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