An MSNBC host is drawing criticism for comparing Republicans and conservative Christians to the Taliban as the terrorist group continues to gain control of Afghanistan.
Joy Reid, who hosts the nightly MSNBC program “The ReidOut,” shared her reaction to a tweet detailing life on the ground in Afghanistan Saturday. Yalda Hakim, a BBC reporter, declared that “Women in #Herat, now under Taliban control are telling me when they tried to enter the grounds of their university today they were told to go home. Schools have been shut down. 60 percent of university students in Herat were women.”
Reid, who has established a reputation as an outspoken critic of Republicans and conservatives in the United States, described the situation in Afghanistan as “the real-life 'Handmaid’s Tale.'”
According to Reid, the Taliban gaining ground in Afghanistan presents “a true cautionary tale for the U.S., which has our own far religious right dreaming of a theocracy that would impose a particular brand of Christianity, drive women from the workforce and solely into childbirth, and control all politics.”
Reid expounded on her comparison of the “religious right” to the Taliban in a lengthy Twitter thread Sunday: “What we keep learning, forgetting, and relearning, whether in Afghanistan or here in the U.S., is that religious extremism, backed by a willingness to use violence to impose a particular sectarian belief system as governing law is incredibly dangerous -- anywhere in the world.”
In an attempt to compare the Christian right and the Taliban, Reid’s Twitter thread included links to articles emphasizing the Christian faith of the pro-Trump protesters who gathered in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, some of whom stormed the Capitol Building as Congress was certifying the votes of the 2020 presidential election. One of the articles, titled “They Invaded the Capitol Saying ‘Jesus is My Savior,’” included a picture of a Jan. 6 protester holding an “In God We Trust” sign.
Another article Reid linked to was accompanied by a picture of a Jan. 6 protester clutching a Bible. The MSNBC host then reposted a tweet by someone who claimed, “The Republicans are falling over themselves about what will happen to Afghan women, while in America they are actively working to strip women of their freedom to vote and make reproductive decisions. They’re more in line with the Taliban than Democrats on women’s issues.”
“It is pretty remarkable,” Reid replied in response to the comparison.
Curtis Houck of the conservative media watchdog NewsBusters wrote that the comparison was hyperbolic: “THIS is what Joy Reid thinks of conservatives and Republicans. We are JUST LIKE the Taliban. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t believe the press is the enemy of the people, but … far too many in the press (including Joy) think we’re enemies of the people.”
Reid’s tweets over the weekend were not the first occasions that she had compared Republicans or conservatives to the Taliban.
Last month, Reid responded to Washington Post opinion columnist Jennifer Rubin’s allegation that a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortions after six weeks gestation and allow private citizens to take legal action against those who perform and participate in abortions was a call for “bounties” on women who had abortions.
The MSNBC host proclaimed on Twitter: “This is Talibanism.” She then asked, “Are Republicans going to be spying on women of childbearing age and turning them in for the bounties?”
Reid is not the first person to compare Christians to terrorists. More than a decade ago, Robyn E. Blumner wrote a piece for the St. Petersburg Times arguing that “the religious right has spent more than 20 years chipping away at the wall of separation between church and state, trying in Taliban-like ways to inject religion into public schools and the operations of government.”
In 2010, Markos Moulitsas of the liberal blog The Daily Kos wrote a book titled, American Taliban that compared religious conservatives in the U.S. to the Taliban. Four years later, Al-Jazeera America published an opinion piece headlined, “What the Taliban and Christian Conservatives Have in Common.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org