They are back, and the critics of Christian nationalism are once again sounding the alarm – this time with a moving billboard calling the ReAwaken America Tour a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The controversial multi-city event hit the road in April 2021, featuring Michael Flynn and Eric Trump and a cast of Christian nationalist speakers who spread lies about the 2020 election, COVID-19 vaccines and the January 6 uprising.
The tour made national headlines last November when Flynn, who was briefly national security adviser to Donald Trump and later pardoned by Trump for a crime committed in Trump’s name, said on stage that America only needed “one religion under God”.
Speaking at John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Flynn said, “So if we’re going to have a nation under God, which we’ve got to do, we’ve got to have a religion, a nation under God, and a religion under God.” Cornerstone Church later issued a public notice excuses for allowing the tour to be included.
The tour ad lists 102 “star tour speakers,” including a who’s who of vaccine deniers and Trump’s Big Lie supporters about the 2020 presidential election. The group includes extreme celebrities right Charlie Kirk, Stella Immanuel, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mike Lindell, Roger Stone, Sidney Powell, Greg Locke, Jackson Lahmeyer, Alex Jones and Ken Paxton. Fourteen of the guest speakers are identified as pastors.
The tour is sponsored by Charisma News, a leading Pentecostal magazine. The tour organizer is entrepreneur Clay Clark from Oklahoma. The event website includes links to a site for “finding jobs that don’t require COVID-19 vaccines” and other alternative medicine products.
The next stop on the tour is this weekend, July 8-9, in Virginia Beach, Va. The tour’s website lists Eric Trump, one of Donald Trump’s sons, as the keynote speaker who will speak on “Why The Trump Family Committed Their Time, Treasures, And Talents To Saving This Great American Republic.
Eric Trump will speak on “Why the Trump family committed their time, their treasures and their talents to save this great American republic”.
Eric Trump will follow controversial Tennessee pastor Greg Locke as he speaks on “Why Christians Must Hold the Line and Gain Ground Against ‘The Great Reset’ Agenda.” The program also includes a healing service and presentations on why people shouldn’t get the COVID shot. Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow and main purveyor of the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, will talk about election integrity.
The two-day event is both a revival meeting and a political rally, all tied together.
And in what becomes a trend, local clergy speak out to condemn the tour before it arrives in their town. Such is the case in Virginia Beach, where a group called Faithful America has organized clergy and laity to draw attention to the record of lies and Christian nationalism embraced on the tour.
This time they illuminate their message with bright yellow billboards on three sides of a billboard truck. Panel Tells Eric Trump and Michael Flynn, “Stop Twisting Our Faith to Attack Democracy. The back panel quotes Matthew 7:15 which says, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but are inwardly ravenous wolves.”
“America’s Faithful Christian Members totally reject General Flynn’s misuse of the gospel to seize and retain power. Like the Christian nationalism it propagates, this tour is a dangerous and immoral political event that promotes misinformation, lies and even outright violence in the name of Jesus,” said Nathan Empsall, Executive Director of faithful america.
The Virginia Beach stop includes an additional event specifically for “Patriotic Pastors.” The advertisement for this event states, “Pastor, America Needs You Now!” You are America’s last line of defense. He calls on the “300 pastors of Gideon” to come forward and learn from Flynn and Trump how to “lead the fight to save our nation.”
The advertisement for this event states, “Pastor, America Needs You Now!” You are America’s last line of defense.
Across the country, more than 13,000 Christians have signed Faithful America petition calling on churches not to hold stops on the ReAwaken America tour. However, that number pales in comparison to the tens of thousands who attended the previous 12 tours. This weekend’s event, held at Rock Church in Virginia Beach, is limited to 5,000 tickets.
Those who oppose the Virginia event and its misinformation includes Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Congregationalists and others.
Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, previously spoke out against the brand of Christian nationalism touted during the tour. She is one of the founders of a group called Christians Against Christian Nationalism.
What’s being sold here “isn’t the same as patriotism, which is love of country,” she said. “Nationalism demands allegiance to the country rather than allegiance to Jesus. When patriotism calls for the sacrifice of religion, it is nationalism.
Christian nationalism is a threat not only to people of color and religious minorities, but also to the faith itself, as the movement seeks to transform religious symbols, such as the cross, into secular and political emblems, said Tyler.
Steven Dundas, retired U.S. Navy chaplain and a leader of the Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church in Norfolk, Va., blasted the tour as part of a dangerous national trend.
“We are actively witnessing the disappearance of the Establishment Clause and the protected freedoms of all at the hands of Christian nationalism,” he said. “ReAwaken America Tour leaders have a direct hand in promoting harmful ideologies that have serious real-world consequences – like the downfall of Roe vs. Wade. We must vehemently reject any rhetoric that threatens American freedoms now, including the inaccurate interpretation of the gospel that fuels Christian nationalism and the ReAwaken America tour.
One person who provided direct support to families whose loved ones were injured at the Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 is Amanda Hendler-Voss, pastor of First Congregational UCC in Washington DC. I have personal experience with the brutal violence and hatred of Christian nationalism. Simply put, the ReAwaken America Tour does not follow the ways of Jesus or any ideology remotely related to Christianity. The Leaders and Headliners on this tour have hijacked religion to cover hate, racism and violence, and we must stand up for God’s true, caring and inclusive love.
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