Brenda Kunneman Claims ‘This Nation Was Founded as a Christian Nationalist Form of Government’

Right-wing pastors Hank and Brenda Kunneman hosted an “Opening The Heavens” conference in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, last weekend, which featured a variety of religious-right and right-wing activists, pardoned Trump aide Michael Flynn, ​self-proclaimed weather warrior Kat Kerr, and ​Trump-loving dominionist Lance Wallnau

Naturally, many of the speakers used their time on stage at what was ostensibly a religious conference to talk about politics and rail against the Biden administration, with Brenda Kunneman declaring that pastors should be free to do so without fear of violating the Johnson Amendment and possibly losing their tax-exempt status because the United States “was founded as a Christian nationalist form of government.”

“This nation was founded as a Christian nationalist form of government built upon biblical Judeo-Christian principles,” Kunneman falsely claimed. “Do you know the reason that churches are tax-exempt in this country? They’re tax-exempt because our founders went to the book of Ezra. When they built the temple—Ezra 7, you can read it—when they built the temple, they came before the government, and it was agreed by the government—the secular government—it was agreed upon that the temple should not be taxed. And our founders said, ‘We’re not going to tax churches, we’re going to allow them to be tax free.'”

“People say, ‘Well, you shouldn’t be afraid of the tax-exempt status,'” she continued. “Most churches couldn’t pay their mortgage if they had to pay a 20 percent corporate tax. Do you know that? There are churches in inner cities, places where they’re feeding poor people, they’re not rolling in money, and if they had to pay and be slapped with a corporate tax, most of them couldn’t survive.”

“The tax exemption was made by our founders that crafted this nation,” Kunneman added. “It was not until [President Lyndon Johnson] came along with an evil agenda—I can say a whole lot about that man, but he was driven by a principality of the powers of wickedness in this generation. Part of the reason we have people in poverty, we have people living on welfare is because of policies that man enacted. It was his agenda to keep people poor and dependent on the government. So the Johnson Amendment came along to say, ‘Well, if they want to keep tax-exempt status, then they’re going to have to keep their voice out of the political sphere. They’re not going to be allowed to put any of their money to endorse anything political. They can say who they personally [as] pastors endorse.’ By the way, they have threatened that Johnson Amendment so poorly, it’s so much, so bad, that it has pushed pastors into a corner that even the Johnson Amendment didn’t even call for because people are terrified that they’ll get an audit by the IRS for daring to touch anything in the pulpit. Now, I’m just going to say, ‘Those days are over. It’s over.'”