Cue the lights. Strike up the band. It is showtime again in America.

Every single day they brazenly parade around in front of us: in our neighborhoods, on our timelines, in our school board meetings, in stores in front of our children.

They shamelessly don their cheap, glittery regalia, meticulously transforming themselves into a sickening inversion of who they actually are, putting on an unnatural false persona designed to indoctrinate young minds by passing as something they are not.

It is a vile bait and switch that decent human beings should be sickened by.

The political Right is the worst kind of drag show: that of hateful, heartless bigots pretending to be Christian.

The Conservative charlatan commandeering of Christianity in America began a long time ago with Christian Drag OGs like Oral Roberts and Jimmy Swaggart, but it was not until 2016 that it received a presidential seal of approval to leave the megachurches and unashamedly go mainstream. The show has now reached Capitol Hill.

No longer content to keep their perverse religious performance art to their church buildings and tent revivals, they’ve brought it into the places our laws our made, into the spaces where we shop, into the institutions where young people’s minds are shaped.

More than subjecting unwilling spectators to their subversive charade from a distance, these theological thespians are taking it right into their bedrooms, into their bathrooms, into their very bodies. It is no longer merely a pathetic sideshow to be ignored by passersby, but a circus they’re all being pulled into.

Now, we are subjected to an entire political party and a large swath of its base who regularly impersonate Jesus while having no interest in a word of his teachings. From a distance, to the unobservant they appear religious but when you get up close and see them in the raking light of day the cracking, clumsily-applied veneer shows itself.

This is a counterfeit Christ.

There is no love for neighbor here. There is no compassion for the poor, no care for the sick, no food for the hungry, no welcome to the stranger. There is not a trace of a benevolence that declares the peacemakers blessed, no gentleness that condemns the retributive violence of the sword, no sprawling hospitality declares God’s love for the entire world, no empathy that speaks of Christ inhabiting the imprisoned and alone.

In this antithetical Christian drag show, there is only aggression toward the immigrant, fear-mongering war rhetoric, posturing “come and take it” gun bravado, and predatory, hollow culture wars against the least of these.

There are book bans and AR-15 pins and rainbow shirt boycotts and legislated misogyny and white supremacist dog whistles — all slapped with an awkward pastiche of religiosity that discerning eyes can easily see. And those with such eyes need to find their outside voices now.

People here whose hearts earnestly desire to emulate the expansive empathy and exhaustive love of Jesus should be the most outraged at the way these theological cross-dressers are making a mockery of their faith tradition. They should be rightly sickened that they are doing such willful and irreparable damage while costumed as Christians, because they are making it virtually impossible for the watching world to separate a compassionate Jesus from the disfigured monstrosity in front of them.

It is not enough for decent people who aspire to the best of religion to say, “I’m not like them” and to remain silently complicit. In the absence of loud sustained opposition from human beings who actually do seek to love their disparate neighbors and welcome more people to the table and to wield a faith that does no harm — the pretenders are taking over.

This dogma-and-pony show is not just making Jesus irrelevant to an entire generation of people, it is shaping policy for us and for those who will inherit this place from us. It is renovating our laws and determining what we can read and how we can choose healthcare and who gets a vote and who finds refuge and who is allowed to marry.

We deserve better than a theocracy crafted by imposters. We deserve a nation free from compulsory, fraudulent religion. We deserve to be emancipated from their performance.

Enough of the Conservative Right’s sickening Christian drag show. Bring up the houselights, strike the stage, and close the curtain.

Get involved in your local community, leverage your social media platform, speaking into your social circle, show up at school board meetings, support local politicians — and most importantly, vote.

We need to shut this show down for good.

John Pavlovitz

Fotos593 / Shutterstock

The original version of this Op Ed was published on

John Pavlovitz launched an online ministry to help connect people who want community, encouragement, and to grow spiritually. Individuals who want to support his work can sponsor his mission on Patreon, and help the very real pastoral missionary expand its impact in the world.