Former National Security Adviser Flynn calls for ‘one religion’
Speaking at a political rally in San Antonio last weekend, Michael Flynn, former National Security Adviser under President Donald Trump, delivered a hair-raising message. “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must,” he exclaimed, “we have to have one religion. One nation under God and one religion under God.”
Even in these divided times, many onlookers — including prominent Christian conservative leaders — were shocked and condemned such a brazen call to unite America under a single religion.
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.
[Southern Baptist Convention President Ed] 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.”
One person who was not shocked was BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler. “[F]or those of us who have been watching the acceleration of Christian nationalism over the past several years,” she explained in a column for Baptist News Global, “the admission was hardly surprising.”
Flynn’s longer speech reveals how much he relies on one of the hallmarks of Christian nationalism — the emphasis of a mythical history of the United States as founded as a “Christian nation,” by God’s providential hand that gives our country a special place in history, the present and a premillennialist future. “There is a time, and you have to believe this: that God Almighty is like involved in this country because this is it. This is it. This is the last place on Earth. This is, this is the shining city on the hill,” he said.
One main problem with Flynn’s version of “one nation under God” is that no one religious identity or belief ever has united Americans. The idea of a national religion is directly at odds with the promise of the U.S. Constitution that our government stays neutral when it comes to religion. In Flynn’s United States, many Americans are excluded — those who don’t practice whatever the chosen national faith would be, those who are not monotheistic and those who do not affiliate with religion at all.
What could be more thoroughly antithetical to the American commitment to religious liberty than pitting religions against one another by demanding that our country align with a single religious perspective? Flynn’s remarks particularly, like the emergence of Christian nationalism generally, calls for Christians to unite in opposition, demonstrating our belief in the power of faith freedom for all. As long as the myth of America as a Christian nation continues to flourish, the promise of religious liberty will be denied by and for too many Americans.
For more on this topic, visit the website of BJC’s project, Christians Against Christian Nationalism, which invites Christians to speak out together against this dangerous movement.