Mercy Culture Church

A movement at the intersection of faith and politics aiming for transformative influence in society.

Mercy Culture Church, established in 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas, by Pastors Landon and Heather Schott, represents a nondenominational Christian congregation known for its active engagement in political issues and its support for conservative Christian values. The church promotes a vision of engaging its members not just in spiritual activities but also in political actions, aiming to install right-wing figures in elected offices as a means to usher in what they believe to be a significant religious and societal transformation.

The church’s origins trace back to a desire to create a community where encounters with God move from corporate settings to personal daily experiences. However, its activities have extended far beyond traditional religious outreach. Members of Mercy Culture Church have been involved in local politics, notably supporting candidates with conservative Christian ideologies in various electoral races. This involvement has sparked debate and controversy, particularly around the separation of church and state, with critics arguing that the church’s blend of religious fervor and political activism threatens the pluralistic and secular foundations of American democracy.

Mercy Culture Church’s political engagement is characterized by its support for candidates who align with their 12 core values, including the pursuit of purity, personal encounters with God, trust, and generosity, all underpinned by a deeply conservative Christian outlook. This has included backing for figures like Steve Penate, a former Fort Worth mayoral candidate and church elder known for his far-right activism, and involvement in political action committees supporting candidates with similar beliefs.

The church’s leadership, particularly the Schotts, advocates for a “seven mountain” strategy, aiming to influence seven key areas of society: religion, family, business, government/military, education, entertainment, and media. This approach reflects a broader movement within certain Christian communities toward Christian Nationalism, which seeks to meld ultra-conservative Christian values directly with American identity and governance.

Controversies surrounding Mercy Culture Church have also touched on its financial practices, with allegations of leveraging church membership for real estate transactions benefiting church leaders, and demands for tithing beyond traditional expectations. Additionally, the church’s proposed initiatives, like a housing shelter project, have faced community opposition and skepticism regarding their feasibility and underlying motives.

Moreover, the church’s alleged approach to membership and service, described by some as resembling “indentured servitude,” has sparked further debate. Reports from former members suggest a demanding environment where questioning or failing to comply with church expectations can lead to social ostracism or spiritual manipulation, a tactic often cited in discussions about cult-like behavior. These controversies, combined with the church’s strong push for a theocratic vision of society where government and religious beliefs are deeply intertwined, have led to public scrutiny and criticism. The church’s leaders, particularly Landon and Heather Schott, have faced allegations of using their platform to foster a community that is less about spiritual growth and more about advancing a specific political and social agenda under the guise of religious faith​​​​.

Critics and former members have voiced concerns about the church’s direction, suggesting that its emphasis on political activism and financial commitments diverges from core Christian teachings about community and service. Meanwhile, supporters see Mercy Culture Church as a vital force for moral and social renewal, advocating for a society more closely aligned with their interpretation of Christian principles.

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