A far-right Republican South Carolina candidate for Congress has shocked many after vowing to hunt down and charge with treason American citizens who hold beliefs he deems "un-American."
Mark Burns, a televangelist, Christian nationalist and die-hard MAGA conservative, told White nationalist and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon he plans to "re-energize McCarthyism" and revive the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)—the cabal led by Republican Senator Joe McCarthy which blacklisted Americans under the guise of suspicion of being members of the Communist Party.
Instead, McCarthyism targeted Jews, LGBTQ+ people, racial and ethnic minorities and feminists far more than any actual communists.
Burns made his comments during an appearance on the conservative streaming service Real America's Voice.
See it below.
Burns told Bannon:
"When I'm elected, I am going to help formulate and re-energize a committee called 'HUAC.'"
"HUAC is the House of Un-American Activities Committee [sic]. This is a committee... that existed in the 40s and 50s.
"But it's a committee that its sole purpose is to identify Americans, media, elected officials who are doing un-American activities and to hold them for treason here in America."
HUAC was formulated in 1938 to surveil and investigate private American citizens suspected of disloyalty and treason, which was defined by the committee as having leftist political affiliations like membership in the Communist Party.
McCarthy's committee would often pressure friends and family of the supposed traitors to tell on them, and if they refused, they were presumed to be Communists themselves and were punished accordingly.
If this sounds eerily similar to the "witch hunts" in the play The Crucible, that's because playwright Arthur Miller wrote the play as an allegory for HUAC's initiatives, which disproportionally targeted people in the entertainment and media industries. This included many Black figures like singer Lena Horne and athlete Jackie Robinson, as well as actors like Lucille Ball and Charlie Chaplin, who fled the U.S. back to his native England because of HUAC's and McCarthy's attacks.
The notion of such a committee being revivified itself is distinctly un-American, but that of course has never stopped the far-right from agitating for its fascist vision for the country.
On Twitter, people found Burns' plans for America profoundly disturbing.
Speaking of "un-American activities," prior to these horrifying comments, the good reverend Burns was most well known for lying about his biography including misrepresenting his military service--which is a crime.