By John Connolly

MONTGOMERY, Alabama, February 18, 2008 ( – NBA star Charles Barkley condemned all conservatives as “fake Christians” in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on February 15.

The interview centered on Barkley’s plans for a political career in Alabama, where he recently bought a house. Barkley said he plans on running for governor of Alabama in 2014. His house was purchased in 2007, and Alabama law requires seven years of state residency before a citizen may run for public office.

During the interview, Barkley, 44, declared that he was pro-choice and in favor of gay “marriage.” He also said that conservatives could not be real Christians. Barkley, a basketball star in the 1990s, was a Republican until several years ago, when rumors of his plans for a political future began to circulate.

“I’ve got great respect for Sen. McCain, great respect, but I don’t like the way Republicans have taken this country,” said Barkley. “Every time I hear the word ‘conservative,’ it makes me sick to my stomach, because they’re really just fake Christians, as I call them. That’s all they are.”

When asked by Blitzer for clarification, Barkley used a single scripture quote to back up his claims. Using Matthew 7:1, Barkley construed that to be Christian, one must never judge the actions of another person to be good or bad.

“I think they want to be judge and jury,” Barkley said. “Like, I’m for gay marriage. It’s none of my business if gay people want to get married. I’m pro-choice. And I think these Christians, first of all, they’re not supposed to judge other people. But they’re the most hypocritical judge of people we have in the country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like they’re Christians. They’re not forgiving at all.

“They should read the part [of the Bible] where it says they’re not supposed to judge other people,” he continued. “They forget that one when it doesn’t fit what they want to say.”

“Charles Barkley revealed an unfortunate lack of understanding of the Bible and Christian morality by attacking pro-life and pro-family conservatives as ‘fake Christians,’” said Dr. Gary Cass, Chairman and CEO of the Christian Anti- Defamation Commission. “Barkley rips one phrase of the Bible from its context, and then asserts that anyone who is opposed to abortion or gay marriage is a ‘fake Christian.’”

“For Barkley to think that Christians cannot have an opinion about matters of public policy and personal morality is astonishing,” continued Cass. “Jesus forbids judging by hypocritical double standards, but he requires Christians to make just and sound judgments everyday according to biblical precepts.”

During the interview, Barkley was warned by Blitzer that he would likely get a lot of feedback for his claims.

“They can’t do anything to me, I don’t work for them,” Barkley responded. “I feel very comfortable saying I’m pro-choice and I’m for gay marriage. Very comfortable.” 

Dr. Cass, however, said that Barkley opened himself up to heavy criticism concerning the logic of his arguments, since in calling conservatives fake Christians he in fact was judging the lives of others on national television.

“Ironically, Barkley engaged in the very activity of judging others that he condemned in conservatives,” said Cass. “Barkley’s words reveal an unfortunate, irrational anti-Christian bigotry. We respect Barkley as an expert on basketball, but he is obviously not an expert on Christian moral theology. The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission calls on Barkley to apologize for his hateful remarks. We are hopeful that he will do the right thing.”

Barkley also said he supports Barack Obama for president, and that he will continue to vote Democrat in elections.