WASHINGTON, May 10, 2014 — Bill Maher may be a major financial supporter of the Democratic Party, but he is anything but a blind follower.
Last Friday night, Maher used his usual brand of intellectual, scathing sarcasm to challenge his liberal guests about Islamic violence during a discussion of Nigeria’s Boko Haram.
Maher took his audience, and panelists Arianna Huffington and comedian Baratunde Thurston, off-guard when he pushed them on the role of Islam in justifying Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 300 young women and threatening to sell them on the open market. He questioned why liberals do not openly condemn Islamic violence, and pointed to the strong link between current day terrorist attacks and the religion.
Maher noted, “There’s no mention here of connecting this to the religion, which is always what I am seeking to do because I think that’s the elephant in the room. And that in the religion at large, women are seen as property, second-class at best, often as property.”
Both Huffington and Thurston challenged Maher, warning him against blaming an entire religion for the work of a few extremists.
Thurston’s statement that Islam does not have a monopoly on extremism prompted a swift retort from Maher, who noted, “Kind of, they do.” Maher pointed out that while other religions may have occasional instances of extremism, Islam seems to have large numbers of radicals.
Maher’s reply to Thurston’s statement that Christians also commit acts of violence was equally scalding, “If this was the 14th century,” said Maher, “I would be coming down on the Christians because that’s when they were too violent.” Then he added, “Religions and cultures change.”
Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza then backed Maher, noting that most modern day terrorist attacks have some tie to Islam, making an odd team of Maher and D’Souza versus Huffington and Thurston.
Maher’s most scathing comment was in response to Huffington, after she asserted that it is dangerous for people to stereotype all Muslims as terrorists.
Maher noted, “Where it becomes dangerous is that liberals like yourself do not stand up for liberalism. Liberalism means, one, mostly, equality of women.”
Religion is one of Maher’s favorite topics, and in 2008, he released the movie Religulous, directed by Larry Charles, which provided a satirical look at the world’s religions. Breitbart.com describes the movie, saying:
“Bill Maher made a comedy/documentary called “Religulous” that’s most famous for mercilessly mocking Christianity. But what people forget is that the last twenty-minutes or so of the film make a damning case against Islam. Bill Maher made a film that mocked Islam.”
The talk show host is notoriously liberal, and is also a rabid backer of the Democratic Party. In 2012, Maher publicly disclosed that he gave $1 million to President Obama’s Super Pac.
Despite this allegiance, however, Friday’s show was not the first time Maher has attacked liberals or democrats. No one is safe from Maher’s inspection.
For example, in February, Maher challenged New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for what he called “slut-shaming from the left.” Maher slammed de Blasio as a hypocrite for firing Lis Smith, the woman poised to become his spokesperson, because she was dating Eliot Spitzer. According to Maher, de Blasio was painting Smith with a scarlet letter, although she had done no wrong and committed no crime. She was, he pointed out, an adult free to date anyone she wanted.
Maher is not known for treading lightly or for anything close to political correctness. His television show, Politically Incorrect, was cancelled by ABC in 2002 after nine years, when he called the U.S. more “cowardly” than the 9/11 attackers for using long-distance cruise missiles against them.
In 2003, Maher started Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.
Maher obviously does not limit his attacks to democrats. Republicans are often targeted in derisive and even offensive ways. He has called Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann offensive names that make event their opponents uncomfortable, and even harangues their family members and supporters.
He verbally eviscerates his opponents, and frequently crosses the line between slightly scandalous humor and just plain bad taste.
While his delivery can be repellent, Maher does provide a reminder to those blindly following political ideology sprinkled with the fairy dust of celebrity politicians: don’t believe everything you hear. Just because your party says so, doesn’t mean it’s accurate.