On Friday, Bill Maher launched into an anti-prayer, anti-God rant so offensive, even a stray Democrat or two might have to attack him. Maher managed to mock President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence (like always), evangelist Billy Graham, Oprah Winfrey, evangelical Republican candidates for president, and God Himself.
“Trump has actually accomplished one good thing, he’s ruined the phrase ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ forever,” the HBO host quipped. “Thoughts are the opposite of prayers — one is from the Enlightenment and one is from ‘The Exorcist.'”
Maher declared, “Prayer doesn’t work, because if it did, every drug test would come back clean and there’d be no need for the morning after pill.”
The host’s rant heavily slammed Trump. “When the world’s most ungodly man has been thoroughly embraced by our most religious people, the evangelicals,” Maher said that piety has ceased to be a “third rail” in American politics.
The “comedian” did not stop with calling the president “the world’s most ungodly man,” however. He also joked that Trump “has been to church four times in his life, three of them to get married. The only time he touches a Bible is for depositions, and if he ever went to confession, they’d have to take a meal break.”
While Trump has said he never asked God for forgiveness, and he has a morally checkered past, these jokes went too far. (After all, Trump swore the oath of office on two Bibles.) Even so, Maher continued. “He’s into golden showers, not the Golden Rule,” the host quipped, referencing a particularly disgusting charge in the Trump-Russia dossier. “He does not tweet people the way he wants to be tweeted.”
Some of these jokes were at least partially true and if nothing else, slightly clever. When Maher came to Billy Graham, his “comedy” went completely flat and beyond the pale. “My entire life I’ve watched presidents from both parties suck up to this blow-hard like he was the American Gandhi,” the “comedian” said. “But when he died last month, it got covered like Olympic curling.”
“America’s pastor,” Graham fought for civil rights, started organizations that concretely helped millions of people, and preached the gospel across the world. Shortly after the great evangelist died — and received the honor of lying in state in the U.S. Capitol Building, an honor only granted to one other civilian — Maher started dragging him over the coals.
But Maher also mocked Mike Pence, quoting former “Apprentice” contestant Omarosa Manigualt, and even Oprah Winfrey, for their prayers and asking God for a sign.
“A lot of America said, ‘Oh please, not the ‘I have to check with my imaginary friend’ excuse,'” Maher quipped.
Noting that various former Republican presidential candidates — Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc), Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Ben Carson, Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Herman Cain, and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) — also spoke about “God’s plan for me” on the campaign trail, the host said, “God is a nice guy, but he doesn’t follow politics.”
“I used to be a lonely pioneer here, calling religious thinking a neurological disorder, but now it’s like anal — everyone’s doing it,” Maher disgustingly quipped.
Perhaps the most ironic thing about the host’s mocking God — as an “imaginary friend,” as the opposite of the Enlightenment, and as the product of a “neurological disorder” — is that Maher was just getting warmed up to attack the Second Amendment.
“The Second Amendment is just words humans made up at a certain moment in history when they felt right. It’s an amendment, not a commandment,” he said. This may be true, but given Maher’s earlier ravings, it seems he has even less respect for commandments (the first is “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me”) than amendments.