CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Sept. 3, at the Democratic National Convention here, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver used a biblical argument that seemed to urge his fellow Democrats to physically attack those who try to “defaith us” — a likely allusion to Republicans.
“We are in this country, men and women of faith, and we cannot and will not allow anyone to ‘defaith’ us,” Cleaver told a few hundred people gathered at the party’s Faith Caucus.
The statement prompted applause and cheers from the audience, which included many African-Americans. “I like that,” one audience member called out.
“We have over the last few years, in my estimation, remained silent and civil while people reached out and touched us as satanic,” Cleaver told the delegates, before slamming a Catholic priest for circulating an election-related letter in Missouri.
The letter “essentially says that if you vote for a Democrat, you’re going to hell,” Cleaver said.
Cleaver then launched into a biblically-themed criticism that was likely aimed at the GOP.
“The greatest challenge to the man we call Jesus came from the pharisees,” he said.
“They were men who Jesus said looked good on the outside — uh, huh — yet they were dirty and filthy on the inside,” he said, while the cheering audience loudly ended his sentence.
The pharisees “somehow promoted themselves to be Jesus Jrs., and the truth of the matters is that they were the ones — they were the ones — who actually who inspired [Jesus'] crucifixion,” he said, prompting more cheers and laughter.
Cleaver then suggested physical attacks against the GOP by offering a religious-themed fable that is not found in the Bible.
“This a true story —- [but] you won’t find it in the holy writ,” he said.
Moses was traveling, and invited a fellow traveler to share a meal, Cleaver said. But the man did not thank God before the meal, and “as soon as he took his first bite, Moses hit him with a solid right.”
“Moses jumped on top of him, and then hit him with his left, and then an uppercut, and then both fists directly into his face, and he told the man, after he wiped the blood from him, ‘Be on your way,’” Cleaver said.
Shortly after, God visited Moses and rebuked him for attacking the man. God said to Moses, according to Cleaver, “Moses, I guess you’re just more religious than me.”
The fable was greeted with more laughter and claps from the Democratic crowd.
The religious motivation important among the party’s most reliable voter bloc — African-American voters — is at odds secular progressives’ increasing clout within the party, as highlighted by the decision by top Democrats to drop God from the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform.