Outgoing Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) warned Americans against a “Christian Taliban” Wednesday in a critical response to fellow Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
Kinzinger, a staunch opponent of former President Donald Trump who has often been critical of his own party, made the remarks about Boebert after she suggested the church should be directing the government.
“There is no difference between this and the Taliban. We must opposed [sic] the Christian Taliban. I say this as a Christian,” Kinzinger tweeted.
There is no difference between this and the Taliban. We must opposed the Christian Taliban. I say this as a Christian
— Adam Kinzinger🇺🇦🇺🇸✌️ (@AdamKinzinger) June 29, 2022
Boebert stated in a Sunday speech at Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colorado, that she was tired of the focus on the separation of church and state.
Her remark that “the church is supposed to direct the government” drew ire from Kinzinger. The Illinois congressman is an Air Force member who has previously served in Afghanistan.
The phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear explicitly in the Constitution. The First Amendment does say, however, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” which has been interpreted as separating the church and state by many. Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers who helped write the Declaration of Independence, wrote the letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 in a call for a distinction between church and government.
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declares that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between Church and State,” the letter read.
Boebert’s words come as she faces a primary challenger in her 3rd District from state Sen. Don Coram. Though she has faced criticisms over her harsh attacks on the left and from some in her party, Boebert remains in a strong position heading into the primary.
Kinzinger’s critique is part of a growing number of attacks the Illinois Republican has made against his own party. Along with Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, he is one of just two GOP House members to join House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) House select committee to investigate the January 6 riot.
However, Kinzinger will not remain in the House for long. Kinzinger announced his retirement in October, choosing not to face a Trump-backed primary challenger, as well as an aggressive gerrymander to his district that will take effect in November.
Looking forward to the next chapter! pic.twitter.com/SvdFCVtrlE
— Adam Kinzinger🇺🇦🇺🇸✌️ (@AdamKinzinger) October 29, 2021
“My passion for this country has only grown. My desire to make a difference is bigger than it’s ever been. My disappointment in the leaders that don’t lead is huge. The battlefield must be broader and the truth needs to reach the American people across the whole country,” Kinzinger said in his video announcing his intention not to seek reelection.
In January, Kinzinger launched a new political action committee “Country First” to back Republican challengers to Trump’s agenda.
“Republicans must say enough is enough. It’s time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality, and cast aside the conspiracy theories and the rage,” Kinzinger said in the launch video.
The mission on his PAC’s website explains, “If we don’t act, the cycle of doom and dysfunction will only continue and politics will remain a ‘win at all costs’ sport where we ALL ultimately lose. It wasn’t always this way, and it doesn’t need to stay this way.”
The effort seeks to improve voting rights, assist with primary election reform, and end gerrymandering nationwide.