An Open Letter On Anti-Asian Racism & Christian Nationalism

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

Sen. Cornyn is a former member of the University Avenue Church of Christ in Austin, TX. He has cast himself as a defender of Amy Coney Barrett's "religious faith," which he claimed was under siege during her confirmation. While his present congregation is not publicly available, it seems reasonable to assume that he continues to identify with the Churches of Christ. On March 18, 2020, Sen. Cornyn said in an interview, "China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs & things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that's why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu." Not only did Sen. Cornyn incorrectly identify the sources of MERS and the Swine Flu, he also made a sweeping generalization about Chinese culture as one in which “people eat bats and snakes and dogs.”

While Cornyn’s present congregation is not known, he attended University Avenue Church for several years. UAC minister Eddie Sharp says that Cornyn "still has many friends [at the church]." Currently pastored by Mitch East, the church states on its website, “We must love all people in the same way, regardless of their backgrounds, choices, lifestyles, beliefs, or identity.” The editors of Christian Chronicle, an “international newspaper for Churches of Christ,” stated in a recent column, “We must understand that it is wrong to separate people into categories and see the 'others' with suspicion.”

As of 2019, Texas’ Asian population was 1.446 million. Between March 19 and August 5, 2020, 72 hate crime incidents in Texas were reported to Stop AAPI Hate (8).

For possible responses from Cornyn's church, see the Timeline.