• Wed. Oct 4th, 2023


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The Growing Religious Fervor in the American Right: ‘This Is a Jesus Movement’

At the revival, as worship music played gently, Mr. Frederickson, in a cardigan and cuffed skinny jeans, urged the crowd to not believe “the lie” of the separation of church and state.

Among the speakers was Heidi St. John, a home-schooling advocate running for Congress in Washington State. She praised Moses’ mother — “she did not comply!” — and exhorted people to leave their churches if their pastors were too politically “timid.”

Mr. Ahn, the pastor, who also spoke at the event, said he did not see it simply as a worship service or a political rally. “It is both,” he said. “My understanding of Jesus’ kingdom is that he is Lord, not just over the church, but every aspect of society. That means family, education, arts, entertainment, business for sure, and government.”

Worship is increasingly becoming a central feature of right-wing events not aimed at exclusively Christian audiences.

ReAwaken America events, hosted by an Oklahoma talk-show personality and entrepreneur, are touted as gatherings of “truth-seekers” who oppose pandemic precautions, believe that the 2020 election was stolen, distrust Black Lives Matter and want to explore “what really happened” on Jan. 6. Most of the events are hosted by large churches, and the primary sponsor is Charisma News, a media outlet serving charismatic Christians.

In February, a ReAwaken event at Trinity Gospel Temple in Canton, Ohio, opened with a set of worship music from Melody Noel Altavilla, a songwriter and worship leader at Influence Church in Anaheim, Calif. “Your presence fills the temple when we worship you,” Ms. Altavilla sang. The music soared in the darkened sanctuary.

In an interview, Ms. Altavilla said she was excited to be asked to perform because it was a chance to “create space for God” at a secular event.