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Richard Land Denounces “Let’s Go Brandon” Chant at John Hagee’s Church

Stern words from Richard Land, President Emeritus of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC:

The phrase “Let’s Go Brandon”, a euphemism for an obscene anti- Biden rant should be abhorrent to all Americans regardless of their political affiliation. And for this vulgar chant to be proclaimed in a church is blasphemous.

The phrase is a well-known as a stand in for “Fuck Joe Biden”, and it was used as a chant at John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio during the latest Clay ClarkReAwaken America” rally. The church has now issued a statement claiming that this was an outside hire and that it does not endorse the views expressed, but this won’t wash: John Hagee’s face appears on a poster advertising the rally, and as noted by the San Antonio Current his son Matt Hagee spoke at the event. Here’s how Clark introduced him:

We would not be able to host this event here if we didn’t have a senior pastor that had critical thinking skills, a senior pastor who believed in the Bible, the Constitution, and that the statistically manipulated fake pandemic could not cause the suspension of the First Amendment. So ladies and gentlemen please welcome the host and the lead pastor of this church, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Pastor Matt Hageeeeeeee…

Matt Hagee then himself addressed the crowd:

I want to tell each and every one of you who are here how proud I am of the individual decision that you have made today… By being today you have made the conscious decision to live in your faith rather than die in your fear… God bless you, have a wonderful day, welcome to Cornerstone Church.

Given this context, it is likely that the audience included many regular Cornerstone worshippers. The church only felt the need to distance itself from the event after the “Let’s Go Brandon” chant – which was led from the stage by Clark himself – went viral.

The event was the sixth “ReAwaken America” rally organised by Clark, who was previously better known as a business coach. Their purpose is to embed Trumpism and QAnon-adjacent conspiracy discourses within American evangelicalism (pastors get 50% off the price of attendance, according to the poster), and I discussed a previous rally in Colorado here. Mike Flynn was once against the headline speaker, but for the first time the San Antonio rally also included Alex Jones, just hours before Jones was found by a court to be liable for the vile lies he had previously spread about the Sandy Hook families and their murdered children.

Flynn also brought media attention to the rally with a call for “one religion” in the USA. Richard Land also rejects this:

Gen. Flynn’s statement, “If we are going to have one nation under God…we have to have one religion,one nation under God, and one religion under God” is ——unChristian,unAmerican, and unBaptistic! Has the General never read the First Amendment?

Flynn’s vision of the “one religion” is somewhat vague – we might assume that he simply means a plurality of Christian strands, but at a different event in Nebraska last month he infamously read out a prayer that was later found to be based on a prayer that appears in a work by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, which she claimed to have received from esoteric “Ascended Masters”. The previous ReAwaken America rally in Colorado also included Seth Holehouse, a Falon Gong adherent and reporter for Epoch Times, and Christiane Northrup, a New Agey “wellness” guru. Given that John Hagee’s own conspiracy teachings encompass a belief that in the last days the Anti-Christ will introduce a syncretic “false religion”, you might think he would be wary of Flynn’s motives and proposal.

John Hagee also presents himself as a fervent ally of Jews and the state of Israel, and it’s not clear how Judaism fits into Flynn’s vision. The issue is often fudged via the term “Judaeo-Christian”, the belief being that the two religions are essentially two branches of the same thing but that Jews can’t see it yet – thus there is no need for evangelicals to risk offending Jews by trying to convert them. Another aspect of this perspective is evangelical Judaic cosplay and appropriation (e.g. here and here), often under the guidance of “Hebrew Roots” teachers. John Hagee sometimes appears wearing a Jewish prayer shawl, and the ReAwaken America rally at his church also featured a shofar.