The Christian Right unites Christian nationalism and Christian globalism in its fight against liberal evils

The Christian Right unites Christian nationalism and Christian globalism in its fight against liberal evils

Nearly a year has passed since a violent mob erected gallows in front of the Capitol, waved Christian flags and took the Capitol by storm into the heart of American democracy on January 6, 2021. The images impressively demonstrated what the various groups that threatened members of Congress and police officers that day had in common: their Christian nationalism.  The presence of Christian symbolism alongside that of white supremacists was pointed out shortly after the attack. A comprehensive report has now been published with the collaboration of scientists from various disciplines and a journalist, which precisely and extensively analyzes the extent of the influence of Christian nationalism on that day. Also involved in the study were the secular Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Christians Against Christian Nationalism coalition, and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, who warn strongly of the danger posed to American democracy by Christian nationalism.

But what exactly is Christian nationalism? „Christian nationalism,“ sociologist Andrew Whitehead explains in presenting the report, is „a socio-cultural framework with ethno-nationalist implications that merges Christianity with public life.“ It combines “various elements, including, for example, traditionalism and the advocacy of authoritarian and racist violence”. This worldview derives its legitimacy from a “golden age” that never existed. In short, white Christian nationalists believe that America was founded by white Christians for white Christians. Anyone who doesn’t meet these criteria can’t be a „true“ American in their eyes.  Religious right-wingers tend to believe in conspiracy myths But this ideology not only shapes the view of the distant past, but also the here and now: „Our study shows that Christian nationalism helps Americans to reinterpret the events of January 6th in the direction of future authoritarian violence,“ says the Sociologist Samuel Perry. Specifically, the more indicators of Christian nationalism are met, the more likely it is that respondents will not blame Trump for the storming of the Capitol and that they will believe conspiracy theories claiming that the Black Lives Matter movement or Antifa be responsible for it.

Journalist Katherine Stewart has analyzed the Religious Right for more than a decade. Christian nationalism, Stewart said in the report, played a crucial role in Trump’s attempt to steal the election. More than that, Christian nationalism created the conditions that made the January 6 terrorist attack possible: a hermetically sealed information bubble in which to misinform and incite a constituency, and the instillation of a sense of persecution and a thirst for revenge among the „foot soldiers“ of the Religious Right. These emotions are directed at the political opponents, who are portrayed as „demonic forces against whom one is at war“. And finally, the conviction is spread that the legitimacy of the American government derives from a certain religio-cultural basis, „a covenant of blood, soil and religion“.

The threat posed by Christian nationalism is often downplayed or dismissed as exaggerated. After all, it is then said, it is clear that the proportion of those who believe in it is decreasing. But this fails not only to understand the nature, but also the structure of the Christian Nationalist institutions that make up the backbone of the American religious right: a dense network of legal advocacy groups, sophisticated data transactions, political think tanks and a vast right-wing news sphere. US Christian nationalism is numerically in the minority The strength of the movement lies not in its numbers – quite the contrary, it knows full well that it is no longer capable of winning a majority – but in its dense infrastructure, and its disciplined, organized commitment to a shared ideological vision that does not fit to a multi -ethnic, pluralistic democracy is compatible. The goal of Christian nationalism is an America where she is ahead of all others in political and social power, has access to taxpayer money, and can enact laws that favor her worldview.

According to Stewart, this powerful network not only abetted the spread of Trump’s „Big Lie“ about alleged voter fraud, but actively promoted it in a coordinated manner. With the „Council for National Policy“ (CNP) – a kind of umbrella organization of the religious right – associated organizations and people like the „Conservative Action Project“ and Charlie Kirk („Turning Point USA“) support them actively or at least indirectly – like the “ Alliance Defending Freedom”, which sowed doubts about the legitimacy of elections. The warning signs were there before January 6, reports Andrew Seidel of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He viewed hundreds of hours of video footage for the report — not just of the attack on the Capitol itself, but of events from the weeks before. He cites the “Jericho Marches” organized by the religious right across the country as one example among many. According to biblical tradition, Jericho was conquered and destroyed by the Israelites. “The Battle of Jericho was genocide. Organized events have reenacted this story of mass murder in advance. How could we be genuinely surprised that violence erupted?” The religious subtext of the storming of the US Capitol Words led to deeds: According to Seidel, the rhetoric of the Christian nationalists was warlike: „People thanked God for the ‚weapons of war‘ with which he blessed them,“ he reports. Bishops, ex-soldiers and congressmen delivered speeches literally calling for „to arms,“ and the leader of the Oath Keepers militia called for „bloody war“—all in God’s name. And images from the day of the attack itself, which outsiders would not associate directly with Christian nationalism, refer to it. For example the erected gallows. On it the rebels wrote their slogans: „Hang them up“, „In God’s name“, „Amen“. The mob, which police officer Eugene Goodman managed to steer away from Congressmen who were still present, also wore Christian nationalist symbols.

Analogous to the heterogeneous composition of the Religious Right, the religious subtext on this day was by no means only shaped by White Evangelicals. There was also Catholic symbolism: banners and banners with the Blessed Virgin Mary were raised, as was one with Donald Trump in the Braveheart procession (a film particularly influential in the culture of White Evangelicalism). A Catholic priest later confessed to performing an exorcism in the Capitol. „I think most people still don’t realize how close we came to losing America that day,“ Seidel said. And the attack by the religious right on American democracy is by no means over, on the contrary: At the state level, they are trying to ensure that the next president no longer needs a majority through various legislative proposals and the aggressive redrawing of constituency boundaries. If he doesn’t legitimately win the electoral college, Republican-dominated state legislatures could „gift“ him victory if no governor vetoes it and Congress is Republican-dominated, regardless of the Democratic election result.

The smaller the religious right, the more “militant” According to historian Jemar Tisby, the attack on democracy ranges from restrictions on voting rights, which hit people of color particularly hard, to controls on school curricula. „Christian nationalism uses legitimate democratic processes to create ‚Christian America‘.“ And even if the group of the Religious Right is shrinking, this is no reason for Perry to relax: „The smaller the group gets, the more militant it becomes . Among White Americans, Christian nationalism is statistically associated with anti-democratic views – so we must be vigilant. Because the rhetoric of the Christian nationalists has become even more aggressive in the past year: At their conferences, political opponents are increasingly portrayed in a dehumanized manner. Such language, emphasizes Seidel, “is one of the forerunners of genocide”.

Nevertheless, all is not lost: “We can defeat Christian nationalism. We can push him back to the very edge. That means fighting the myth, and a national movement is needed that upholds the separation of church and state. There can be no freedom of religion without freedom of religion.” What is needed is a “broad and diverse coalition of Americans who oppose Christian nationalism,” says Amanda Tyler of Christians Against Christian Nationalism. The future of American democracy depends on it, Seidel concludes: “Christian nationalism does not divide. America as a democracy and Christian nationalism cannot coexist peacefully, one of them will have to win. We can’t have both.”

There have been a number of new books in the past few years looking at the politicization of the evangelical movement  in the USA. Although the roots of this politicization go back more than 100 years, the trend toward more and more politicization started to really pick up in the 1980s wit the Moral Majoirty and Pat Robertson  and, of course, became even more extreme during the Trump years.  There has, however, been a counter-movement to this politicization. Another good article is from the NY Times columnist David Brooks

 (Opinion | Can These Evangelicals Save Their Movement? – The New York Times (

who also explains that a lot of churches and denominations are starting to lose members.However, it is not only about Christian nationalism, but also Evangelical and Christian globalism which come together to perceive liberals and leftists as “godless”, “evil”, lacking morale and faith and believe and look for a leader like Trump who might not have muc morality, but Calcnist predestinion ideolgy as his father and supports their agenda. As Magareth Atwood´s The Handmaid´s Tale is describing in a sort of clerical-fascist godstate they want to establish. And on the other side you have really strange, bizarre countermovements like The Satanic Temple movement after the American atheists were not sucessful.Last, but not least an old song by the Kinks „Shepherds of the nation“which makes clear with what sort of propganda and visions the Christian right are symptahizing:
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