(The Hill) – Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Wednesday criticized comments that Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) made on Sunday in which she called for ending the separation of church and state in the United States.
Boebert said in a speech at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colo., that she is “tired” of the principle and falsely claimed that the Founding Fathers did not intend to keep religion separate from government.
Kinzinger condemned Boebert’s comments and compared them to the views of the Taliban, the militant Islamic fundamentalist group that rules Afghanistan.
“There is no difference between this and the Taliban. We must oppose the Christian Taliban. I say this as a Christian,” he tweeted.
Boebert argued that the separation of church and state “junk” is not in the Constitution and was only in a letter that “means nothing like they say it does.”
She appeared to be referencing a letter that then-President Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Church Association in Connecticut. In the letter, Jefferson wrote that the American people had built “a wall of separation between Church and State.”
The constitutional interpretation of separation of church and state comes from the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
The Supreme Court applied this provision also to the states through the 14th Amendment’s due process clause, which prohibits states from passing laws that restrict people’s “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
But the court has more recently signaled a willingness to allow religion in public spaces, striking down a law in Maine earlier this month that prevented religious schools from receiving tuition aid from public funds. It also ruled in favor of a high school football coach who was placed on leave for violating the school’s policy against staff encouraging students to engage in prayer.
Boebert argued that the government has been able to direct the church, and felt that “the church is supposed to direct the government” instead.
After winning the election to the House in 2020 and gaining a reputation as a far-right conservative with hardline views, Boebert won the Republican nomination for reelection to her seat on Tuesday.