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Pro-Trump Pastor Mark Burns announces run for Congress

Pastor Mark Burns
Pastor Mark Burns, one of Donald Trump's most enthusiastic supporters, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. |

A prominent pastor who was an early supporter of former President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign has announced a run for the U.S. House and vows to “protect our God-given and America first agenda” if he’s elected in 2022. 

Pastor Mark Burns, who became well-known for his outspoken support for the 45th president, announced that he was running for the Republican nomination for South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District in a tweet Wednesday: “I am humbled to announce my run for Congress in SC CD 4. I will fight to restore election integrity, secure our borders, [and] protect our God-given & America 1st agenda.”

Burns elaborated on the motivation behind his congressional bid in a subsequent tweet posted on Saturday. The pastor proclaimed, “We have to have fighters in Congress bold enough to deal with the radical Marxist policies that’s destroying our country!” He concluded the tweet by referring to the U.S. as “GOD’S COUNTRY.”

As noted on his campaign website, Burns has been labeled by Time magazine as “Donald Trump’s Top Pastor” and named on a list of “16 People Who Shaped the 2016 Presidential Election.” His campaign website also describes him as "the co-founder and CEO of The NOW Television Network," which is based in South Carolina and broadcast in the U.S. and 83 other countries, reaching over 200 million people worldwide. 

The pastor of Harvest Praise and Worship Center in Easley, South Carolina, gave an impassioned speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, where he led the crowd in chanting “All Lives Matter.” Even after he stopped uttering the phrase, the audience continued to shout, “All Lives Matter.”

Burns lays out his beliefs on his campaign website, asserting that “life begins at conception, marriage is defined as between one man and one woman, [and] our right to keep and bear arms is INHERENT, given to us by God almighty — NOT by any man.” He also refers to the controversial critical race theory as “communist, anti-white racism.” 

In 2017, The Christian Post reported that Burns claimed he saved Trump from a poisonous spider as a group of evangelical leaders presented the then-president with the “Friends of Zion” award for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Burns reported that as “a massive, huge white spider” was “darting toward the back of his neck,” he felt an instinct to “kill the spider, protect Donald Trump.”

“I cannot stand spiders, I have always had a fear of spiders, but because it was the president of the United States of America, and I saw it running literally toward his neck,” Burns said he felt an obligation to jump into action. Also in 2017, Burns made headlines for advocating against the destruction and removal of Confederate statues and erecting statues of civil rights icons.

Weighing in on the contentious debate about whether to remove monuments to those who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, Burns remarked that “it’s so important that we don’t destroy history, but we create new history.” He suggested that “we don’t need to be removing statues … but we need to be erecting new statues” of civil rights leaders of both races. 

Burns had previously considered running against Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., in the Republican primary in his 2020 reelection, but ultimately decided against doing so. He previously ran to represent South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District in 2018, when then-Rep. Troy Gowdy declined to run for a fourth term. Burns came in eighth place in the crowded Republican primary field, capturing 2.5% of the vote. 

Rep. William Timmons, R-S.C., who won the 2018 Republican primary, still represents the Spartanburg-based district in Congress and hasn’t yet announced whether he will seek a third term in the House. According to The Daily Kos, the district voted for Trump over President Joe Biden by more than 20 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election, making it the second-most Republican-leaning district in the state. 

However, following the 2020 census, all states with more than one congressional district will receive new districts based on the latest population figures ahead of the 2022 elections. According to the political website Five Thirty-Eight, which is keeping track of the proposed and enacted congressional maps ahead of the midterm elections, only four states have implemented new maps and South Carolina has yet to propose a new map based on the 2020 census figures.

Based on the forthcoming redistricting process that will alter South Carolina’s seven congressional districts to give them roughly equal population figures, Burns could change which district he ultimately decides to run in. The deadline for implementing a new map in South Carolina is March 16, 2022, and the primaries will take place on June 14, 2022. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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