Texas lawmaker accuses 'Christian nationalists' of betraying Jesus, worshiping power

'Jesus never asked us to establish a Christian theocracy'

Rep. James Talarico in a screenshot of a 2020 YouTube video.
Rep. James Talarico in a screenshot of a 2020 YouTube video. | YouTube/James Talarico

A Democratic Texas state lawmaker who claims to be a devout Christian recently accused "Christian nationalists" of betraying Jesus by worshiping power and attempting to dismantle democracy.

In a speech delivered outside the Texas state Capitol that went viral last week, state Rep. James Talarico, D-Austin, warned that "Christian nationalism is on the rise," and lumped together the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, and attempts to keep pornographic books out of schools as examples of its influence.

"Three years ago, Christian nationalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, killing police officers while carrying crosses and signs reading, 'Jesus saves,'" said Talarico, whose claim about police officers being killed that day is false, according to

"Two years ago, Christian nationalists on the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states like ours to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape and incest," Talarico continued. "And as we speak, Christian nationalist billionaires are attempting to dismantle public education in the state of Texas and therefore dismantle democracy."

Talarico went on to claim "there is nothing Christian about Christian nationalism," and that its adherents have made an idol out of power.

"It is the worship of power — political power, social power, economic power in the name of Christ, and it is a betrayal of Jesus of Nazareth," he said. "Jesus never asked us to kill police officers. Jesus never asked us to ban books, silence teachers or defund schools. Jesus never asked us to control women's bodies. Jesus never asked us to establish a Christian theocracy."

Talarico added that Jesus only asked people to love their neighbor, and that His command applies not just to straight, while male Christians who are rich.

"We are called to love all of our neighbors, and that is exactly the opposite of what Christian nationalism does in the world," he added in the speech that racked up more than 2 million views on X.

Talarico also made headlines last summer when he spearheaded a legislative effort in opposition to Senate Bill 1515, which would have placed the Ten Commandments in Texas public schools.

In May 2023, during a viral exchange with the bill's author, Republican state Rep. Candy Noble, Talarico denounced the proposed legislation as "idolatrous" and "deeply un-Christian" because it would exclude students from other faiths.

"I know you're a devout Christian, and so am I," Talarico told Noble. "This bill to me is not only unconstitutional, it's not only un-American, I think it is also deeply un-Christian."

"And I say that because I believe this bill is idolatrous, I believe it is exclusionary, and I believe it is arrogant. And those three things, in my reading of the Gospel, are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus."

He also grilled Nobel to answer whether a Ten Commandments display would violate the Second Commandment against graven images, to which she replied, "Absolutely not."

In March 2023, Talarico was one of two Democrats who voted against a bill that would prohibit "sexually explicit materials" in schools and require parents to opt-in their child in order for them to access any "sexually relevant material" in school.

The 34-year-old grandson of a Baptist minister, Talarico grew up in the progressive St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Austin, whose pastor Jim Rigby was put on trial by the PCUSA for ordaining LGBT clergy since the 1990s, as noted by Politico.

In a sermon he delivered at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in 2022, Talarico noted how the church influenced his view of politics. He preached that "Christofascism," a term that was coined by German liberation theologian Dorothee Sölle in 1970, is any form of Christianity "that worships power — social power, political power, economic power — in the name of Christ."

He went on to suggest that abortion restrictions are an example of Christofascism.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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