Adam Kinzinger Warns of 'Christian Taliban' While Slamming Lauren Boebert

Representative Adam Kinzinger warned of a "Christian Taliban" while criticizing recent remarks by his GOP colleague Lauren Boebert.

Boebert, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, recently took issue with the constitutional separation of church and state. "I'm tired of this separation of church and state junk—that's not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like they say it does," the congresswoman told an audience Sunday at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colorado.

The framers of the Constitution were concerned about the imposition of a specific religion on citizens, as well as the persecution of citizens for their religious beliefs. To protect against this, the First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Kinzinger, an anti-Trump Republican, slammed Boebert's opposition to the principle of keeping religion separate from the government. "There is no difference between this and the Taliban. We must [oppose] the Christian Taliban. I say this as a Christian," he tweeted Wednesday morning, sharing an article on her recent comments.

The Taliban, an Afghan militant group, forcefully impose an extremist interpretation of Islam on their nation's population. The extremist organization rapidly retook control of Afghanistan last August as the U.S. withdrew from the country after two decades of war.

Many others took issue with Boebert's remarks and made similar comparisons. Former Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath, who ran unsuccessfully against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky in 2020, tweeted her criticism.

"Well, there are lots of countries she can go to that don't have that pesky separation of church and state...try Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan now, Iran," McGrath wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia and Iran are both led by governments that impose a form of Shariah, or Islamic law, on their populations.

The letter that Boebert referred to on Sunday was written by Thomas Jefferson, the third president. Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers, authored the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He wrote the letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, calling for the separation of church and state.

The letter reads: "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."

Andrew Seidel of Americans United, an organization dedicated to the separation of church and state, rejected Boebert's assessment in comments to The Denver Post.

"We are about to get a very brutal real-world lesson in what it's like to live in a country that doesn't have that separation," Seidel said. That looks like conservative, white Christians as this privileged class and everybody else as these second-class citizens."

Adam Kinzinger and Lauren Boebert
Representative Adam Kinzinger has criticized Representative Lauren Boebert, a fellow Republican, over her remarks about the separation of church and state. Above, Kinzinger speaks with reporters after closing remarks during the fifth hearing of the House January 6 committee on June 23. At right, Boebert speaks during a Save America Rally with former President Donald Trump on June 25 in Mendon, Illinois. Brandon Bell/Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Pew Research Center data shows that about 70 percent of the U.S. population identifies as Christian, although that category is broken down into various denominations with differing beliefs. Nearly 6 percent of the population identifies as Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu, while nearly 23 percent has no religious affiliation.

Newsweek reached out to Boebert's press secretary for comment.