If it seems that you have been hearing or reading the term “Christian Nationalism,” or one of its obscure variants like “Christian Dominionist,” a lot more often recently, it’s because you have.
Case in point: Former National Review staff writer David French claimed in the December 20 edition of The Dispatch that white evangelicals are being seduced by a virulent kind of “Christian Nationalism” that “will always minimize America’s historic sins and the present legacy (and reality) of American racism.”
Exhibit A for French — whose post was tellingly headlined “Why Do They Hate Us” — was a recent survey from the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture entitled “Democracy for Dark Times.”
Dark Times found, for example, that 78 percent of Black Americans interviewed for the survey favor reparations in compensation for their ancestors’ suffering under Southern slavery. French is appalled that only seven percent of white evangelicals favor reparations.
French claims the problem here is not the widespread support among evangelicals for President Donald Trump:
No, I’m not talking primarily about Donald Trump. Support for the president is a symptom, not the disease. Instead, I’m talking about race, immigration, history, and the vast and growing gulf between white Evangelicals and the rest of the United States on issues that dominate so many American hearts.
For French then, “Christian Nationalism” essentially is just another way of saying white evangelicals, who make up about a fourth of the American voting population, are bigots and racists. Another heaping helping of critical race theory, anybody?
In identifying white racism with Christian Nationalism — a tiny, obscure group of folks influenced by, among others, the late Reformed theologian R.J. Rushdoony — French, intentionally or not, is following the lead of numerous voices on the Left.
Similarly, earlier this year, Drew Strait reviewed for Christianity Today the recently published tome by Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry, Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States. Strait all but declares the authors’ work to be inspired.
He notes, for example, the authors’ definition of Christian Nationalism as “a cultural framework — a collection of myths, traditions, symbols, narratives, and value systems — that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life … the ‘Christianity’ of Christian nationalism represents something more than religion.”
“As we will show,” he explains, “it includes assumptions of nativism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and heteronormativity, along with divine sanction for authoritarian control and militarism. It is as ethnic and political as it is religious.”
If that last graph sounds familiar, it should because it encapsulates the Black Lives Matter/Progressive Left’s view of America as a Western colonialist nation ruled by despotic hyper-patriotic white males, who oppress women, minorities “of color” and the poor, all for their own “white privilege” and benefit.
With such a definition, it’s no surprise that, as Strait puts it, the authors conclude, among much else along the same line, that, “A much stronger predictor for the rise of Trumpism, anti-black sentiments, xenophobia, resistance to racial justice and the repudiation of women in politics is Christian nationalism.” In other words, Trump didn’t call forth Christian Nationalism, it was the other way around.
And thus, Strait continues, the authors argue that “Christian Nationalism has little to do with personal religiosity and everything to do with acquiring and leveraging political power around key issues like Islam, immigration, abortion/patriarchy, militarism, gun control and sacrificial allegiance to the flag …” That’s why Trump’s infamous personal conduct is of little concern to Christian Nationalists, you see.
How does all of this end up being a handy weapon in the Left’s drive to isolate, discredit and ultimately exile white evangelicals and those who vote along the same lines, which is to say the 74 million populist Christian/Conservative Americans who supported Trump?
Consider this: University of Vermont Associate Professor of Religion Ilyse R. Morganstein tweeted on June 2, shortly after George Floyd’s horrendous death while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department: “White Christian Nationalism is the thing we’re all watching — it’s inextricable from the anti-Blackness murdering folks, it is baked into the state …”
That Morganstein is no fan of Trump was made clear the day before when she retweeted, along with a disapproving obscenity, a photo of Trump holding a Bible while standing in front of the historic St. John’s Church near the White House during the summer riots there.
In the BLM/Progressive Left “woke” consciousness, racism is the Original Sin of America and all manifestations of it must be obliterated. White evangelicals and their Trump-voting allies are living, breathing manifestations. Today, it’s the statutes being pulled down and forever removed from our sight. They won’t stop with statutes.
Mark Tapscott is founder and editor of HillFaith, an apologetics ministry sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with congressional aides in the nation’s capital.