Rep. Lauren Boebert said humanity is in its 'last days' and Christians should 'rise up,' invoking Christian nationalist imagery that's linked to violence
Boebert echoed Christian nationalist talking points and invoked the end times in a recent speech.
She said it's time for Christians to "rise up" and "influence this nation as we were called to do."
Christian nationalism experts say such rhetoric has been linked to violence.
A recent speech by Rep. Lauren Boebert — during which she invoked the end times and said it's time for Christians to "rise up" — demonstrated how Christian nationalist ideals, including some associated with violence, have made it to the halls of Congress.
"It's time for us to position ourselves and rise up and take our place in Christ and influence this nation as we were called to do," the Colorado Republican told the crowd at a Christian conference held by the Truth and Liberty Coalition in Woodland Park, Colorado, on September 9.
"We need God back at the center of our country," she added.
Boebert heavily quoted scripture in her speech. She framed the formation of the US as divinely inspired and described the founding fathers as men of faith who were motivated by God — contentions that have been challenged by historians.
"We know that we are in the last of the last days," Boebert later said, referencing the belief held by some evangelical Christians that Jesus will return after a period of tribulation, or great suffering, and save believers. "But it's not a time to complain about it. It's not a time to get upset about it. It's a time to know that you were called to be a part of these last days. You get to have a role in ushering in the second coming of Jesus."
Boebert's comments expressing an intrinsic tie between the US and Christianity aren't new: In June she said she was "tired of this separation of church and state junk" and that "the church is supposed to direct the government." But by invoking the end times, Boebert is tapping into a side of Christian nationalism that has been associated with violence.
Although a spokesperson for Boebert told The Denver Post she does not identify as a Christian nationalist, her comments align with the tenets of Christian nationalism, an ideology and cultural framework that says Christianity should have a privileged position in American society.
"We found in our book that among Americans that embrace Christian nationalism, we see increasingly this embrace of a premillennialist interpretation of the end times, where there will be a tribulation but Christ will take away the faithful," Andrew Whitehead, a sociologist at IUPUI and co-author of "Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States," told Insider.
Whitehead said Boebert was taking a specific and relatively new interpretation of the end times and melding it with the idea that Christians are supposed to have an influential role in public life. He said her view wasn't necessarily about saving the nation, but about Christians countering the forces of evil while they still can and remaining faithful up until the end.
"Citing the end times really does feel like a call to action and a rallying cry in some sense," Whitehead said, adding: "A lot of that end times imagery is associated with violence and rapture and descending into chaos societally."
Experts on religion and politics told The Denver Post that Boebert's remarks could be interpreted as a call for violence, particularly in relation to the midterm elections.
"Now the apocalypse is because if we don't get our people in, it's an apocalypse," Anthea Butler, chair of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Religious Studies, told the outlet.
Though Boebert's comments aren't new among proponents of Christian nationalism, such rhetoric has rarely, if ever, been deployed by a member of Congress.
Christian nationalism has also inspired acts of violence in the past. A report published in February by a group of faith leaders, historians, and religious scholars — including Whitehead — argued the concept was on display at the Capitol on January 6 and helped justify the insurrection. Christian nationalist ideals were also espoused by the suspects in the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the 2019 New Zealand mosque shootings.
"Any time that our political rhetoric moves in an area where we are raising the stakes — where it is ultimate good vs. ultimate evil," Whitehead said, "that's when political violence becomes much more likely."
Boebert's office did not respond to Insider's request for comment.
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