Pastors and Pews is cohosted by the American Renewal Project, a political activism organization, and features speakers like Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA. Its actual goal, as a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) report details, is building “a 2020 national ground game” to turn out American evangelicals to vote for President Trump. The pastors participating are encouraged to use their pulpits for political organizing and, ideally, to run for office themselves. The aim is to get 1,000 pastor-candidates in the field next year, and even those who don’t personally campaign will be “mobilizing church-going voters and illuminating critical issues for elections,” said former presidential candidate and pastor Mike Huckabee, who has spoken at Pastors and Pews events past.

In short, it’s a project to turn the church into the GOP’s farm team, to further co-opt evangelicalism in service to America’s Caesar.

That such an event would exist, and that it would be hosted at Liberty, is hardly surprising. But, as I feel I am constantly saying about the intersection of religion and politics in America these days, what does not surprise still should shock. Pastors and Pews may be the natural evolution of the religious right, the logical next step in Republican politicians’ use of church infrastructure for political ends, but that makes it no less worthy of protest.

This is not the point of church.