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Russell Moore ERLC

Russell Moore, Adam Kinzinger: Birds of a Feather

In his latest podcast over at Christianity Today, Russell Moore interviews Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger. Moore has also hosted David French in a previously covered article, Beth Moore, and Kristin Du Mez. Adam Kinzinger is a notorious RINO within the halls of Congress, so unsurprisingly he has been platformed by Russell Moore to talk politics and rag on the church.

Since the podcast is titled “Adam Kinzinger Doesn’t Want World War III,” foreign policy is the first topic. Kinzinger argues that conflict with Putin is inevitable and that America, via NATO must implement a No-Fly Zone over Ukraine. Kinzinger compares foreign policy hesitation to the rise of ISIS, where America was reticent to engage. He then contends that Putin is motivated by nostalgia for the “old days” of the Soviet Union. Kinzinger believes that the lynchpin for Ukrainian strength is President Zelensky, whose resolve to fight has kept Ukraine inspired. Though the interview was recorded on March 4, 2022, Kinzinger suggests that Russia is underperforming, which it is not, and his sentiments towards Zelensky neglect his political rise. Nonsense like this gives false hope to Ukrainians when America is unwilling to send boots on the ground to bail Zelensky out.

Moore then shifts the conversation to evangelical or “right wing” support for Putin, which Kinzinger laments those on the right who “support” Putin and subversively references Tucker Carlson. Kinzinger contends that this support is because Putin chimes in on culture war issues here in America. In reality, what the right admires about Putin is multi-faceted. The fact that Putin projects strength, not weakness and places the interests of Russia first (not necessarily Russians) is something those on the right desire to see in their politicians. In pushing back against global interests, someone promoting nationalism, even for that of a different nation garners respect from those who consider themselves nationalist here in America. Even if Putin’s beliefs are a form of secular traditionalism, Putin’s opposition to sexual degeneracy is something conservatives are fighting in our culture—those same fights Big Eva obfuscates as nuanced or Team GOP subversively platforms. It speaks volumes that this man, who they call evil, speaks out more against depravity than most church leaders. Their silence on things like the American Gulag is why Putin speaks. The last major reason, and this is the least prominent, is that those on the right view America as provoking Russia through its usurpation of the Ukrainian government in 2014 and NATO’s attempt to weaponize Ukraine against Moscow.

When asked by Moore about Russian propaganda, Kinzinger contends that they are losing the information war and that Russian influence in social media is absent. This is without diving into the fake narratives being promoted by the Ukrainian government and our media complex. In fact, Kinzinger fell for the Ghost of Kyiv propaganda.

In decrying incivility, Kinzinger calls Moore a friend and compliments him for standing firm for the truth. He believes the censure of both himself and Liz Cheney will be viewed unfavorably in history and portrays himself as the victim of a Republican Party that left him while he remained principled. Moore then moves the conversations to white nationalism, decrying AFPAC. Interestingly, Kinzinger in referencing conversations with other republicans in Congress states that the republican members of Congress fear their base:

This is actually the most absurd thing: Republican leaders—the Republican members of Congress—actually fear their own base. It never should be like that, like your base should be what your concerned about and who you’re trying to influence…Members of Congress are scared to death of Republican voters.

Kinzinger then contends that Congressmen are supposed to represent their districts and work for them, not fear them to which he blames Trump for the change in this dynamic. This statement is ludicrous. I wish Adam Kinzinger and the republicans in Congress actually feared the people. It is what our founding fathers would have wanted. It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” What Kinzinger is actually saying is that these republicans disagree with or hold contempt towards their voters, yet fear losing their cushy jobs. Kinzinger sees the base as a force to be curtailed, not adhered to. The base must be controlled, not represented, because they do not know better. Does not Russell Moore view himself the same way within Evangelicalism?

Kinzinger and Moore then move onto issues of religious liberty, where Kinzinger claims that while there were concerns of religious liberty, some churches, that is the ones who defied lockdowns, wanted to make it a cultural fight to which Moore agrees. He contends that Christians taking up this fight, along with other behavior in the last five years has made Christianity less attractive to the nonreligious. This strawman argument is ignorant of the fact that the label of evangelical grew under Trump, as reported by Christianity Today. Kinzinger even concedes that though social distancing measures and masking are performative, it hurts the church’s witness to defy. We have reported on Ghost Megachurches, which locked down hard, and have churned members. Then there is Potter’s House, which shuttered an entire location. Nothing hurts the witness more than the greed of taking PPP loans. Church greed is a frequent complaint levied by the world, and nominal believers who despise the tax-exempt status, secret payouts, and lavish spending by “church” leaders. Then there are those that took money to peddle narratives, like Russell Moore.

Moving on, Moore asks about January 6 and the role of Christian Nationalism to which Kinzinger replies that religion played a 100% role in the events. Kinzinger then claims that prophets contended Christ would return on January 6. Trump worship mixed with Christianity, not the FBI, caused January 6. Kinzinger then argues that the next generation will “vomit out” the Republican Party for its Trump worship.

Moore proceeds to describe how he has shift between institutions, that is the SBC and Christianity Today, and how Kinzinger is not running for reelection, to which Kinzinger describes how he is burned out and God did not give him the fire to run for reelection, not the fact that he was gerrymandered out of his seat. He asserts that him leaving Congress is not a “deathblow to the movement for sanity.”

Lastly, Kinzinger laments the radicalization and desires that Congress put a stop to online “misinformation” as he calls it. Moore argues that the number one issue he hears on college campuses are students concerned about their radicalized parents. The same misinformation they slander as false narratives somehow have a way of being proven true.

Pandering Christianity

Nothing about this interview is more grating than hearing Adam Kinzinger pander Christianity, especially when his congressional record suggests anything but. In 2021, Kinzinger sponsored the Fairness For All Act in 2021—that is the Equality Act with religious exemptions—the same one Russell Moore supports. In 2016, he voted for the Maloney Amendment, which mandates “anti-discrimination” protections for homosexuals from federal contractors. He also spoke out against Marjorie Taylor Greene for placing a sign which said, “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE ‘Trust The Science!” because it hurts the feelings of a fellow rep whose child is mentally ill. More recently, he voted for the Global Respect Act, which allows the government to sanction foreign nationals who act against the global homosexual agenda in their own nations. On abortion, while Kinzinger might support legislative restrictions, which are theatrical votes, and oppose federal spending on abortion via the useless Hyde Amendment, he has condemned the Texas Heartbeat Law, which has saved thousands of lives. He appears to be “rape and incest” exceptions when it comes to abortion. With regards to homosexuality and abortion, he could hardly be described as adherent to the biblical standard, unless it is a show-vote with zero chances of passing. Other votes of interest include Trump impeachment 2.0, a national vaccine database via HR 550, and Build Back Better. He also mocked Rand Paul for declaring that he would not get jabbed.

There are Christians who suck at politics, like Mike Pence, and then there are those who pander Christianity for political clout. Kinzinger is the latter.

Conclusion

Between Moore and Kinzinger, there was hardly any contention, and Moore generally allowed Kinzinger to answer at length without interruption or clarification. In fact, I do not think there was a single disagreement between them. Considering the similarities, this is unsurprising. Both men have been pushed from their respective institutions. Both men claim those who disagree with the prevailing narrative, whether on Covid, Ukraine, or January 6 as being radicalized by conspiracy theories. Both men believe they are saving their movements from themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no leftist narrative they will not levy against the church. If Russell Moore was a congressman, he would be Adam Kinzinger. They are both wolves of the same pack.

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