As the Real Time host began tonight’s show-ending monologue about Barrett, he joked that he had nothing against Catholics “except my entire upbringing.” (He grew up in both Catholic and Jewish traditions but now identifies as an atheist, as even casual viewers of the show would know.)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats “won’t make Barett’s religion an issue – but they should,” Maher said. “’cause being nuts is relevant.”
If Barrett is confirmed, Maher noted, seven of the court’s nine justices would be Catholics. “If faith is this super-important element of life,” the famously atheist Maher remarked, “shouldn’t we have a greater balance of it on the nation’s highest court?” The fastest-growing group among those declaring a religious affiliation, Maher said, are “the ‘nones,'” meaning those who reply to survey questions about which religion they follow with “none.” They represent 26% of the U.S. population.
Religion isn’t the only rock in Maher’s shoe when it comes to Barrett. He noted her description of climate change as a “controversial” set of scientific findings, as well as her general reluctance to answer any questions during confirmation hearings. He also sought to dispel any lingering doubts that Barrett would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision legalizing abortion, saying she has been picked explicitly for her willingness to do so.
“She’s like the Terminator, a robot programmed to fulfill one task,” Maher said, “except she wasn’t sent from the future, she was sent from the past.”
While most Catholics are not “doctrinaire,” Maher said, “there’s another strain of uber-conservative Catholics who have an agenda and an enormous and growing influence to achieve it. It’s really about pining for a return to the Middle Ages, when the church was the state.”
As examples, he cited U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the Federalist Society, the Knights of Malta and Opus Dei.
“These old-school Catholics, they play the long game,” Maher said. “Amy Coney Barrett has been on their radar since forever because she was raised in an extremist Catholic community” called People of Praise. “These are the folks who make Jehovah’s Witnesses say ‘Shhh, don’t open the door!'”
Among the practices of the group, Maher said, is speaking in tongues. He played a clip illustrating the practice and fumed, “and now it’s on the court!”
In a T-shirt-ready quip that summed up the segment, Maher insisted, “It’s not wrong to call out nuts when sh-t is nuts.”