During a National Day of Prayer event in Mississippi on Thursday, one of the state’s top elected officials told the crowd that Christian leaders were necessary to get through the state’s troubles. Not Jews. Not Muslims. Certainly not atheists. Just Christians. No one else.
He didn’t do this at church or in a private capacity, either. Secretary of State Michael Watson was representing the government on stage at the Mississippi Coliseum and used his position to promote his faith.
Ashton Pittman at Mississippi Free Press has the statement:
“I believe we need Christian men and women in office today more than ever before. And if you’re a believer, if you’re a member of the church, you understand the signs of the times right now,” Watson, the son of a pentecostal preacher from the Assembly of God denomination, said today. “In the last few years, no more than ever before in the history of the church, we see the end times.”
“You look around you, see what’s happening in this country, in this world, you can’t deny what’s going on. So at this point in time, it is so very important that we have men and women of Christian character in office,” Watson said.
Imagine a state official of any other faith saying something similar — and the outrage that would ensue — and you can understand what Christian Nationalism looks like.
That guy, by the way, runs the state’s elections.
Gov. Tate Reeves spoke at the same event, offering Christian prayers to everyone. While he wasn’t as blunt, he’s never made a secret of his Christian Nationalist desires.
The press release for the event was also frightening for another reason, though it may not be obvious at first:
… Prayers will be offered by Governor Tate Reeves, Commissioner Andy Gipson, and other dignitaries, pastors, and local citizens for the seven spheres of influence in our culture: Government, Church, Family, Business/Commerce, Education, Media/Arts & Entertainment, and Military. Americans from all walks of life will gather on May 6th to lift up our country in prayer on the National Day of Prayer. Our nation has endured a year marked by unprecedented challenges, but we know prayer has carried us through these days and the hand of God will move us into a brighter future.
Those “seven spheres” are better known in certain Christian circles as the “Seven Mountains Mandate.” The idea behind that decades-old movement is that if enough Christians take over those realms, they will be able to transform culture in a way no one will be able to avoid. (We’ve already seen what happens when right-wing Christians take over the government. Thankfully, if Christian movies are any indication, no one has to worry that they’ll dominate Hollywood anytime soon.)
But that “seven spheres” wording functions as Christian code. It sends the message that government is nothing more than an extension of church; both must be geared toward making Jesus happy no matter how many citizens are hurt in the process.
It’s appalling, but hardly surprising, that Reeves and the other Mississippi officials happily supported and participated in this event. After all, Reeves’ best attempt to combat COVID in his state was calling for a statewide day of prayer and fasting. Reeves also promoted the Christian event on his official social media pages.
We already know what happens when you elect people whose only apparent qualification for higher office is belonging to the most popular religion in the state. There’s a reason Mississippi’s vaccination rates are the lowest in the country. When prayer and Jesus is the only thing you’re counting on, people who need actual help are bound to suffer.
(Screenshot via YouTube)