Pro-Trump Pastor Cites Bible to Suggest Violence Needed to Take Power

Pro-Trump Pastor Mark Burns cited the Bible to suggest that violence is needed to take power as he preached in front of a crowd attending a ReAwaken America event this week.

“You got to get to the point where you realize that when they smack you in the face you smack them back two times harder,” Burns said, quoting Matthew 5:38-40, which reads, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

The pastor then suggested violence as he noted that the “Bible says the violent take it… and we take it by force,” in reference to Matthew 11:12, which reads, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

The ReAwaken America Tour is a conservative conference in favor of former President Donald Trump that travels across the United States and features several high-profile conservative speakers including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. The tour has faced criticism over its embrace of right-wing conspiracy theories and Christian nationalism, with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) describing it as “a series of controversial far-right conferences.”

Pastor Mark Burns, co-founder & CEO of The NOW Television Network, is seen on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. Burns cited the Bible to suggest that violence is needed to take power as he preached in front of a crowd attending a ReAwaken America event this week.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Brian Kaylor, a Baptist minister, posted to Twitter on Friday the clip of Burns preaching.

Burns made his remarks during the ReAwaken America Tour that started on Thursday at the Trump National Doral in Miami where several conservative and right-wing figures gathered.

“We are here ready to take this nation back,” said Burns during the event this week. “And I believe without a shadow of a doubt, the only man that God has anointed him…to be the next President of the United States of America and that is Donald [Trump]. That’s why we got to declare war on this transgender agenda that tried to destroy our children’s minds in the United States of America.”

Kaylor posted another clip from the event to Twitter, showing Flynn criticizing the left and claiming that they “don’t believe in God.”

“The other side is an ideology that they don’t have faith. They don’t believe in God. They have no soul. They have no consciousness,” Flynn told the crowd. “When we think about something, we go, you know, black and white right and wrong, good and evil. They don’t see things like that. They don’t see in those terms.”

In his tweet, Kaylor warned that Flynn’s comment is a “dangerous dehumanizing rhetoric,” and that he’s “painting this as a battle between God’s people & soulless creatures.”

Kaylor posted a third video to Twitter that showed Pastor Leon Benjamin, another Trump supporter, talk about how the former president was ordained by God, touted baseless election claims that Trump won in 2020, and urged the crowd to declare by faith Trump will win in 2024.

“Trump won in 2020. Trump wins in 2024. And the deep state loses,” he told the crowd. “Say by faith: We win. We win. We win. Trump won. Trump won. Trump won. Trump wins. Trump wins. Trump wins. They lose. They lose. They lose.”

Commenting on the speeches delivered to crowds at the ReAwaken America Tour, Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the ADL, described those remarks as “objectionable” and “offensive.”

“It’s outrageous, and it’s all together ordinary in Trump world,” he added on Friday during an appearance on MSNBC. “People like Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, these are the people who make the ReAwaken America tour what it is, this combination of conspiracy theories, anti-vax fantasies, and rank antisemitism all the way through.”

Newsweek reached out by email to Pastor Burns and Kaylor for comment.

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