The FFRF Action Fund is sounding the alarm over Christian nationalists merging political rallies with religious revivals. These rallies, often jointly held with churches and far-right advocacy groups, appear to be in violation of the IRS tax code and an unwarranted encroachment into our secular political process.
Christian nationalists are now taking their religious theatrics on the road. Right Wing Watch has highlighted a couple of religious extremists who have teamed up with like-minded advocacy organizations, some of which are filled with former President Trump’s advisers, staffers and sycophants, to fuse religious revivals and political rallies. While this isn’t the first time religious zealots have taken it upon themselves to campaign at a church service or to proselytize at a political rally, it is perhaps the most overt attempt to inappropriately intertwine politics and religion.
Evangelist Lance Wallnau, a self-proclaimed Christian nationalist, and Mario Murillo, who once said that refusing to question Trump’s loss in 2020 was a test of “loyalty to God,” recently held a “Fire and Glory Tour” in Colorado, during which they declared that they’re extending the junket to battleground states because “there are a lot of people that love Trump but don’t know Jesus.” Wallnau announced that an America First Revival and Presidential Forum will take place in North Carolina in partnership with Turning Point USA and the National Faith Advisory Board, which is run by Paula White, Trump’s “spiritual adviser” and former aide. “I don’t care who your candidate is, you need God!” Wallnau proclaimed.
The fusion of Christian revivalism and political events is a way Christian nationalists can incentivize white evangelicals into voting. To be sure, this is a mutually beneficial relationship; Donald Trump and other religious radicals feign interest in the movement in order to get elected and, in return, Christian nationalists are rewarded, such as with nominations of theocratic federal judges who are overturning civil rights and privileging Christianity.
The Public Research Religion Institute published a study in February showing that an overwhelming majority of Christian nationalist adherents believe that the United States should declare itself a Christian nation and that U.S. citizens should be forced to live under laws that follow the Christian faith. These views run counter to everything that this country was founded upon and should alarm every citizen regardless of creed. Mixing politics and religion is fundamentally un-American.
Coming to the rescue are the “Nones,” religiously unaffiliated Americans with secular values. Recent statistics from the Cooperative Election Survey show 36 percent of adults and half of Generation Z (born after 1996) profess no religion. Gen Z’ers are more likely to be atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particulars” than they are to be Roman Catholics or Southern Baptists or any other sect of religion. About 22 percent of voters in the 2022 midterms were “Nones.” Unaffiliated voters supported abortion rights “by staggering percentages” and made the difference in key races, according to Associated Press’ definitive AP VoteCast survey of 94,000 voters nationwide.Getting out the secular vote is vital to our democracy and the preservation of secular government.
While it is shocking to see how openly religious extremists seek to intertwine religion and politics, FFRF Action Fund is optimistic that the future of this county is in good hands with younger generations who are increasingly nonreligious.
“There are more of us ‘Nones’ than white evangelical Protestants,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, president of the FFRF Action Fund. “We can outvote them — and we must, if our secular democracy is to be preserved.”
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues. FFRF Action Fund serves as the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 40,000 members and works to keep religion out of government and educate the public about nontheism.