Celebrate the Facts!
Christian nationalism was all over the insurrection, including Christian symbols superimposed over American flags and prayer gatherings by terrorist groups, including the Proud Boys. Christian nationalism is a violent and exclusionary ideology held by a minority of Americans. Those Americans intend to impose their bizarre beliefs on the United States population. However, what is shocking is not the weirdness of their ideas but their success.
Christians play an outsized role in American politics. Devout Christians tend to be single-issue voters. However, when they form a homogenous voting bloc, they are a formidable group. Their votes swing elections and create an unspoken basis of policy and actions by all branches of government.
From an objective viewpoint, Christianity is a schism from Judaism with a layer of apocalyptic end-times mythology. Christianity appears, from a distance, to be a death cult founded on the premise of human sacrifice for the vicarious redemption of sins. The faith incorporates supernatural God-like figures who perform miracles, people rising from the dead, and an afterlife in a paradise called heaven.
Populations inculcated into belief in talking snakes, worldwide inundations, God-like figures communicating via flaming bushes, and the dead rising from the grave and walking the earth are perhaps more susceptible to similarly outlandish beliefs such as Donald Trump leading a holy war to rid society of liberal pedophile elites.
Christians seem to love branding the United States as a Christian nation. Politicians have sponsored stone monuments displaying the ten commandments, a group of orders allegedly ordained by God, then brought down from a mountain on stone tablets by a figure named Moses on public property throughout the United States, along with other Christian symbology such as crosses. There appears to be no registry or count, but such are pervasive.
The Christian foundation myth is the keystone to their credo. According to this erroneous account, the ‘founders’ of the United States were devout Christians and incorporated Christian theology into civil law and governance. Such representation is an outright lie and well established by reputable historical scholars and legal authorities. The population of the United States was at that time and continues to be more interested in freedom from religion than freedom of religion.
Christian nationalism is a movement within the American population that aims to fuse Christianity with American civic life. Christian nationalism contends that America has been and should always be Christian in all aspects. That encompasses a lot, including history, identity, customs, and law. White nationalism and Christian nationalism are synonymous. If one is a white nationalist, one is almost certainly a Christian nationalist and vice versa.
Christian nationalism fights to create a social order reminiscent of the antebellum South. In their aspirational society, every individual recognizes their proper place and requirements regardless of race, religious belief, or sex.
Many Americans identify with core Christian nationalist beliefs:
However, much of the rest of the population disagrees with the Christians. About two-thirds of United States adults say humans wrote the Constitution and reflects their vision, not necessarily God’s vision. A similar share says the government should never declare any official religion.
Christian nationalists are more likely to:
Donald Trump might have used that list as the guidebook for his campaigns and presidency, as it seems he tapped into almost every one of the survey findings. But unfortunately, other camp followers and potential candidates such as Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley seem to have taken a page out of that playbook.
Waves of Christian nationalism, such as the most recent explosion, have had an outsized impact on the United States. Congress added the words ‘under God’ after ‘one nation’ in 1954 to the pledge of allegiance typically recited in public schools. The first appearance of ‘In God We Trust’ on United States currency was in 1957 after the United States Congress legislated that term as the national motto.
Ronald Reagan formalized the Republican Party’s alignment with fundamentalist Christianity in 1980, ripping them from their previously enthusiastic embrace of Jimmy Carter. Reagan’s anti-abortion stance was incongruent with his previous stances and a political machination rather than a heartfelt belief. Christians also aligned with his militarism and appeal to memories of a mythical America. Every Republican presidential nominee since, except for the Mormon Mitt Romney, has catered to their wishes with substantial success.
Elections have consequences, and the United States 2016 election outcomes will resonate for generations if for no other reason than the judiciary. Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices aligned with Christian nationalist values. In the next five years, that group will fundamentally change American society to the detriment of most of the population.
Those justices join and resemble Clarence Thomas in their political ideologies and impact on the governance of the United States. Thomas has now served 30 years on the Supreme Court, and Amy Coney Barrett, age 50, Brett Kavanaugh, age 57, and Neil Gorsuch, age 54, all can serve even longer.
A particularly enlightening example of Christian involvement in the insurrection is Father David Fulton, the pastor of two Catholic churches in Nebraska. Fulton was in the mob of white trash who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, dressed in priestly garb, toting a paperback copy of a book of exorcism. By his own recorded video account immediately afterward, Fulton exorcised the demon Baphomet from the Capitol. He also led a well-received group prayer in the rotunda during his fantastic adventure.
Baphomet allegedly is a hermaphroditic cross between a man and a goat and infected Congress with infected Satanic ideas. Yet, rather than a seemingly well-deserved stay in a psychiatric institution, Fulton faced no discipline from his masters at the Omaha Archdiocese and is still ministering to his flocks. Perhaps in the spirit of true Christian forgiveness, he forgave himself and can move on to even stranger ideas.
About two-thirds of Americans self-identify as Christians, so they are a sizable majority of the population. Moreover, they are and continue to be the leading force in political and social discourse.
At first blush counterintuitive, Christian influence will decline for two reasons. First, percentages of the population self-identifying with the faith continue to fall. The number of Christians remains stagnant despite significant population increases. There were about 178 million Christian adults in the United States in 2009. By 2019 that number had fallen to about 167 million Christian adults. During the same time, the total population grew by about 23 million.
Are there ways to combat the drift of the United States into a church-state like Islamic republic? The United States is well down the path of the end of secular governance. The Supreme Court will support state laws that whitewash the American story of slavery and the genocide of the indigenous population. Legislatures will pass laws to allow teacher-led public-school prayers and, if challenged, force a favorable decision by a super-righteous Supreme Court.
The court will reduce female reproductive rights soon. Elections have consequences. Perhaps that action will cause women to stand up and repudiate social engineering by devout Christians, convinced the one true God inspired their acts.
Michael Donnelly investigates societal concerns with an untribal approach - to limit the discussion to the facts derived from primary sources so the reader can make more informed decisions.