Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock; Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Lauren Boebert (left), Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger is slamming fellow Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert after the Colorado politician said she was "tired of this separation of church and state junk."
"There is no difference between this and the Taliban," 44-year-old Kinzinger, who represents Illinois, wrote on Twitter.
"We must opposed [sic] the Christian Taliban," he added. "I say this as a Christian."
In a later tweet, he described his intention as calling out "Christian nationalism," writing, "I can't find anywhere Jesus said that the Govt matters to him."
Two days before her primary election, Boebert, 35, preached to churchgoers at an event, "The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church."
"I'm tired of this separation of church and state junk," she continued to tell the Colorado Springs crowd on Sunday. "This is not in the Constitution, it was in a stinking letter and it means nothing like what they say it does."
Judicial interpretations of the First Amendment state that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Legal scholars, government officials and the Supreme Court have upheld this clause as establishing what people refer to as the "separation of church and state."
In 1802, Founding Father Thomas Jefferson coined the "separation" phrase in his correspondence with the Danbury Baptist Association. Jefferson, a central figure in establishing the U.S. government, wrote that the First Amendment built "a wall of separation between Church & State."
Boebert has made controversy a key part of her political brand, while Kinzinger has staked out a decidedly more moderate tone.
Kinzinger, a former Air National Guard pilot who served two tours in Iraq and is now a member of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, has become one of the most prominent Republican lawmakers to speak out against Trump, 76. He was one of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote to impeach the former president for "incitement of insurrection" after the deadly U.S. Capitol riot in 2021.
In 2020, the Illinois lawmaker spoke with PEOPLE about his push against conspiracy theorists amid the presidential election, which featured a handful of congressional candidates who had voiced support for QAnon, a bizarre and macabre network of beliefs including that Trump is at war with secret evildoers.
Boebert — who won her GOP primary bid for reelection on Tuesday — has previously expressed support for some QAnon conspiracies.
But as The Guardian reports, she hasn't called herself a follower. She has, however, said: "Everything that I've heard of Q, I hope that this is real because it only means that America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values."
"There's a lot of people [in Congress] who don't see this as the problem I see it as, which is not the near term," Kinzinger told PEOPLE two months prior to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, which was fueled by baseless claims that President Joe Biden had "stolen" the election from Trump.