Michael Flynn, a former military general implicated in helping foment the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, has a text he hopes preachers will utilize for sermons. The U.S. Constitution.
“What [pastors] need to be doing is they need to be talking about the Constitution from the pulpit as much as the Bible. They have to do that,” he declared to applause while in the sanctuary of Rock Church International in Virginia Beach on July 8. “That’s what pastors need to be doing. That’s what a pastor does when they’re leading their flock, and not standing there and pretending like they know a lot of verses in the Bible — which I don’t.”
The man who admitted he doesn’t know much of the Bible (and proved he doesn’t know much of the Constitution when he repeatedly tried to overturn our democracy) argued pastors should do this since the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and U.S. in general “all has found its foundation in the Bible.” He added that he believes without the Constitution, pastors can’t even preach at all (a point we missed in the “great commission” in Matthew 28).
“All I know is they can’t preach that without that thing called the United States Constitution,” he claimed. “A pastor, a priest, they cannot stand there at the pulpit — nowhere else in the world — they cannot stand there at the pulpit and preach the Bible without the United States Constitution.”
“I learned this listening to [Donald Trump]. The only reason that you can preach the Bible in this country is because of the Constitution. You ought to be up there preaching the Constitution as much or more than the Bible,” Flynn added to amens from the crowd. “You don’t just teach the Bible and the biblical aspects of who we are as a Judeo-Christian nation. You also can and you must teach all of the principles and the values that are found in the United States Constitution. This is the only country in the world that allows that. That is how my faith was restored when I watched a president of the United States bring that idea and that ideal back to this country.”
Flynn made those remarks at the latest installment of the ReAwaken America Tour, which mixes together an unholy trinity of Christian Nationalism, MAGA politics, and conspiracy theories (about COVID, elections, vaccines, and more). But while these events might seem weird or even fringe, they attract a number of significant speakers that show surprisingly mainstream influence. In fact, sharing the stage with Flynn last weekend was Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, the latter of whom called his father during the speech to offer greetings from the elder Trump over the phone to the congregation full of Trump shirts, hats, and buttons.
We dismiss such events at our own peril, leaving us blind to the ongoing dangerous efforts to undermine our democracy and distort our faith. So, in this issue of A Public Witness, we take you inside the ReAwaken America Tour. Then we consider the popularity of beliefs like Flynn’s that the Constitution has divine underpinnings, before warning against the idolatrous syncretism pushed into our pulpits.
NOTE: The rest of this piece is only available to paid subscribers of the Word&Way e-newsletter A Public Witness. Subscribe today to read this essay and all previous issues, and receive future ones in your inbox.