SAN ANTONIO (CBSNEWS.COM/CNN) — Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser of former president Donald Trump, is calling on America to be united under one religion — Christianity. He made the comments, which have garnered sharp backlash from a range of critics, during a far-right rally in Texas.

Flynn, who was subpoenaed last week by the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the nation’s capitol, made the comment during a speech to a conservative Christian audience on the ReAwaken America tour in Texas this weekend. “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” he said. “One nation under God and one religion under God, right? All of us, working together.”

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His message appears to be an inflammatory contradiction of the First Amendment, which protects freedom of religion. Flynn has previously drawn backlash for controversial comments. CNN has reached out to Flynn for comment.

“The Mike Flynn of today is not the Mike Flynn of prior to 2014 that I know,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s two different people. He is clearly unhinged here with this kind of public statement.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling similarly cast Flynn’s remarks as “an embarrassment to the US Army & an aberration to those of us who have proudly worn the cloth of our country.”

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“His words are disgusting,” Hertling said in a tweet.

A number of Democratic lawmakers also took aim at Flynn’s comments. Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeted, “These people hate the US Constitution,” while Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California wrote, “Sure glad we live in a Constitutional Republic instead of a theocracy.”

“I’m Catholic and do we really want government to force everyone to go to confession? I got baptized in college and those Church courses were soooo long. Michael Flynn would fall asleep in Church class,” Lieu tweeted.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI over his conversations with Russia’s then-ambassador and for a time cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But as his case swerved toward a possible brief prison sentence, Flynn fired his lawyers, replacing them with a defense team that worked to unravel his plea in court and publicly campaigned for the pardon, which he ultimately received from former President Donald Trump in November 2020.

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CBSDFW.com Staff