Reawaken America Tour Faces Pushback for Politics in Church & Call for National Religion

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A movement called the Reawaken America tour has hosted sell-out crowds in the thousands at churches and other venues across the country this year, offering a controversial mix of worship, medical advice, and politics. 

Last weekend it attracted national attention with an event at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas where videos of its “let’s go Brandon” chants and former Gen. Michael Flynn calling for one religion in the U.S. took off online.

In one video, the large crowd in the Cornerstone sanctuary can be seen yelling “let’s go Brandon,” a new euphemism for a vulgar threat against President Biden.

That moment has led a number of key faith leaders to object, with concerns about Christians involved in such activity and especially in a church setting. 

“Our participation in political discourse must always reflect our allegiance to Jesus,” said Southern Baptist president Ed Litton. “Christians should reject the callous methods and crude sloganeering of secular politics.”

Dr. Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, condemned it saying, “We need God’s people joining Jesus on mission, not a bizarre display mixing the faith with such foolishness.”

Another video that emerged from the Reawaken America event showed former Trump national security advisor Gen. Michael Flynn calling onstage for a national religion. “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” he said. “One nation under God and one religion under God, right, all of us together, working together.”

Rev. Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, commended Flynn for his years of exemplary government service but told CBN News he completely disagreed. “Michael Flynn is constitutionally and morally wrong to advocate for one religion emerging out of America. Religious liberty serves as the central firewall against totalitarianism,” he explained.

Litton said that church and state must be separate. “As Baptists, we reject the idea that any person will come to saving faith through government coercion,” he said. “We, therefore, reject any notion of a state church or national religion.”

Flynn later defended his comment in a statement saying he’s worried about religious persecution. “In this country, we should be able to worship however we want, to whomever we want and we should not be persecuted for our faith,” he said.

Andrew MacDonald, associate director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Research Institute, says he understands that many Christians are concerned about the secularization of today’s culture but that they shouldn’t want the government to tell them what to believe.

“I wouldn’t want the government telling me what to believe,” he said. “I don’t think they should have that power and I think one of the greatest geniuses of America is that we don’t have to do that. We can live together and be on mission for the gospel at the same time.”

Conservative author Rod Dreher says that one religion would gut the First Amendment and be a disaster for Christians. “If we have to have only one religion in this country,” he said, “who’s to say that religion might not be some form of wokeness which is a lot more popular with the younger generation than traditional biblical Christianity?” 

Dreher called it dangerous to have political activity like the Reawaken America tour in church settings. “It confuses people on the lines of what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to Christ,” he said.

But Reawaken organizer Clay Clark pushed back on that, saying other pastors use their churches for political purposes. Cornerstone Church responded to an inquiry from CBN News about the event, saying “Cornerstone Church is not associated with this organization and does not endorse their views.”

In recent years, Christians have struggled more with the mixing of faith and politics … what some call Christian nationalism.

For instance, some have condemned the Southern Baptist Convention for inviting vice president Mike Pence to speak in 2018 while others spoke out against vice president Kamala Harris for releasing a campaign video to black churches last year.

It’s a difficult line to navigate—keeping patriotism and politics separate from the love of God and places of worship.