Christian Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois accused his colleague and sister in the faith Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., of advocating for "the Christian Taliban" after she suggested to members of a Colorado church Sunday that the First Amendment's Establishment Clause is "junk" and the Church should be directing the government.
During her speech at Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt on Sunday, Boebert declared that she is "tired of this separation of Church and state junk."
"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," the born-again, first-term congresswoman said.
Boebert argued that the principle of separation of Church and state is not in the Constitution and was only in a letter that "means nothing like they say it does." Boebert was likely referencing an 1802 letter from President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Church Association in Connecticut stating that the First Amendment has "a wall of separation between Church and State."
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution "prohibits the government from making any law respecting an establishment of religion" and "government actions that unduly favor one religion over another." It also prohibits the government from "unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion."
Boebert's comments have since triggered multiple news headlines. Kinzinger, a staunch critic of former President Donald Trump who is also a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, criticized Boebert's comments.
"There is no difference between this and the Taliban," he tweeted, referring to the Islamic terrorist organization that has taken control of Afghanistan.
"We must opposed the Christian Taliban. I say this as a Christian."
Kinzinger suggested in subsequent tweets that since extremism in other religions like Islam is discouraged in America, the same standards should apply to Christianity.
"It's interesting. When the Taliban rose, we kept saying the 'moderate Muslims' need to speak out (I'm sure you did too) I believe normal Christians need to call out Christian nationalism and the Christian Taliban," he said. "I can't find anywhere Jesus said that the Govt matters to him."
As opponents often use the term "Christian Taliban" to demean conservative Christian policy stances, conservative radio host Larry O'Connor reminded Kinzinger that he, too, was once branded as "Christian Taliban" before he was elected to Congress in 2010.
"All of us at Breitbart helped you win in 2010 when the protesters in the streets were calling YOU Christian Taliban and Nazi. Remember all the posters of you and Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin with swastikas?" O'Connor noted. "You've become the very people we fought against to help you get elected."
Kinzinger insisted that times have changed.
"You are incorrect Larry. Yes I was called a Nazi, and thank you for confirming that I wasn't. But in 2010 nobody could imagine the church would be abused to promote a man with traits we should abhor," he tweeted. "So it's VERY different now."
Kinzinger, who serves on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, announced last year that he will not seek reelection. He was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.