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Image: House Republicans Call Introduce Bill Limiting Donations From Mark Zuckerberg
Rep. Lauren Boebert in Washington on July 1, 2021.Alex Wong / Getty Images file

GOP rep accuses Boebert of wanting a ‘Christian Taliban’

Rep. Lauren Boebert insisted that “the church is supposed to direct the government," and one of her Republican colleagues just couldn't let that go.


Rep. Lauren Boebert was already one of Congress’ most controversial members, but after the Colorado Republican argued this past weekend that “the church is supposed to direct the government,” GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger apparently couldn’t let that go. HuffPost noted:

Kinzinger likened Boebert’s vision to that of the Taliban, the militant group that violently imposes an extremist interpretation of Islam on much of Afghanistan. “There is no difference between this and the Taliban. We must [oppose] the Christian Taliban,” he tweeted. “I say this as a Christian.”

To be sure, the Illinois Republican’s pushback was provocative, so it’s worth taking a closer look at what exactly Boebert said.

The far-right congresswoman, just a couple of days before her GOP primary, spoke at a religious service and told attendees, “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it.”

Boebert added, “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution.”

It’s difficult to overstate how spectacularly wrong this was.

Right off the bat, the idea that “the church is supposed to direct the government” is antithetical to everything in the American tradition. One of the bedrock principles of the United States is that we’re governed by a secular Constitution. There are, to be sure, countries in which religious institutions “direct” their governments, but they’re generally known as theocracies.

If Boebert is looking for examples, I’d refer her to countries like Iran. The idea that the United States should abandon our traditions and emulate the Iranian model is ... how do I put this gently ... a curious thing for a member of Congress to say out loud and on purpose in the 21st century.

What’s more, the congresswoman’s belief that the nation’s framers “intended” for the United States to have a system in which “the church” — she didn’t say which one — “is supposed to direct the government” is utterly bonkers. We’re talking about a group of Americans who created a Constitution that doesn’t even mention “God” or any specific faith tradition.

If the Founding Fathers wanted a theocratic-like system, they would’ve created one. They instead did the opposite.

As for the Coloradan’s assertion that the separation of church and state is “junk that’s not in the Constitution,” I’d refer Boebert to the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

According to Thomas Jefferson, those 16 words created a “wall of separation between church and state” — and he’s a bit more credible in this area than the first-term far-right lawmaker.

Gwen Calais-Haase, a political scientist at Harvard University, told The Washington Post that Boebert’s interpretation of the Constitution was “false, misleading and dangerous.” Calais-Haase added that she’s “extremely worried about the environment of misinformation that extremist politicians take advantage of for their own gains.”

Steven K. Green, a professor of law and affiliated professor of history and religious studies at Willamette University, went on tell the Post, “While the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ does not appear verbatim in the Constitution, neither do many accepted constitutional principles such as separation of powers, judicial review, executive privilege, or the right to marry and parental rights, no doubt rights that Rep. Boebert cherishes.”

All of this, of course, coincides with the Supreme Court’s Republican-appointed majority becoming overtly hostile towards the concept of government neutrality in matters of faith.

All of which is to say, Kinzinger is right to be concerned.