In the United States, there’s a Constitutional problem with theocracy. Our founding document literally promises that the government will not choose and endorse, much less mandate, one set of religious viewpoints over another. However, there’s also a logistical problem: there are hundreds of Christian denominations in the United States, and they don’t all have the same interpretation of Biblical law.
Neither of those issues has ever stopped a hopeful theocrat from pushing an agenda that they proclaim to come from God Himself, though. A current example is Pastor Mark Burns, of South Carolina. He hopes to be elected in 2022 to represent his state in the U.S. House of Representatives. If he’s successful, he hopes to use the position to further what he believes is God’s agenda for America, as he explains below.
MAGA pastor Mark Burns, who is running for Congress in South Carolina, says that "this is a Christian nation and any policy that is contrary to the word of God, we need to remove it from mainstream America and make it illegal." pic.twitter.com/4j8oxoavhg
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) November 18, 2021
“It’s about being a conservative Christian who believes this is a Christian nation, and any policy that is contrary to the word of God, we need to remove it from mainstream America and make it illegal.”
Well, that’s contrary to the Constitution, but importantly, what does Burns mean when he describes something as being “contrary to the word of God”? He could be referring to the Ten Commandments, which theocrats sometimes claim are the basis for U.S. law, citing “thou shalt not kill” and missing the commandments not coded into law, like those demanding followers worship God above all else and honor their parents.
However, while there are Christian churches that support LGBTQ+ rights, a promise to enforce “God’s law,” particularly from a conservative, can be a significant red flag for the LGBTQ community. In fact, it turns out that Burns has made his feelings clear more than once, questioning whether being gay is a choice, and attacking the rights of transgender individuals to access the sports and spaces that are right for them, and even asserting that there “shouldn’t be trans kids.”
— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) December 19, 2016
I'm so happy that North Dakota passed the Transgender Sports Bill which requires Transgenders to participate in sports as the gender they was Born in…!!! 10th Amendment States Rights
— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) March 9, 2021
@DonCheadle says PROTECT TRANS KIDS on @nbcsnl , There shouldn't be Trans Kids. Mixing children and ANYTHING sexual is Wrong. Leave the trans lifestyle to GROWN Adults who can THINK for themselves. Trans Adults have a RIGHT to be trans, but leave the children alone.
— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) February 17, 2019
While the LGBTQ community still suffers discrimination, the nation made strides in that area under President Obama, and the Biden Administration has already worked to undo some of the damage done during the Trump era. Burns seems to be suggesting that if he’s elected, he’d work to strip those rights, as well as any others he deems “unChristian.”
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com