Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Make it a Christian town’: the ultra-conservative church on the rise in Idaho

By Jason Wilson, The Guardian

A Guardian investigation has revealed that a controversial church whose leader has openly expressed the ambition of creating a “theocracy” in America has accumulated significant influence in the city of Moscow, Idaho.

Christ Church has a stated goal to “make Moscow a Christian town” and public records, interviews, and open source materials online show how its leadership has extended its power and activities in the town.

Church figures have browbeaten elected officials over Covid restrictions, built powerful institutions in parallel to secular government, harassed perceived opponents, and accumulated land and businesses in pursuit of a long-term goal of transforming America into a nation ruled according to its own, ultra-conservative moral precepts.

The rise of Christ Church may be playing out in a small Idaho city but it comes at a time when the US is roiled by the far right, including Christian nationalism, and when social conservatives are seeking to roll back basic tenets of US life such as legal abortion, as well as dominating powerful national institutions, such as the supreme court.

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