Christian Nationalism and American Democracy

Christian nationalism makes an idol of the nation

As a practicing Christian, I’ve long been simultaneously fascinated, horrified, and mortified by the link between Christian Nationalism and American Democracy.

One of the triggers this time is the February 29 episode of the NPR program Fresh Air that my friend ADD linked to recently. The piece was called The Impact Of Christian Nationalism On American Democracy. Spoiler: the impact is NOT good.

“Why do many Christian nationalists think Trump is chosen by God to lead the country? We talk with Bradley Onishi about the ties between Christian nationalism and political and judicial leaders. Onishi became a Christian nationalist and a youth minister in his teens and then left the church. He is the author of Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism — and What Comes Next, and he cohosts a podcast about religion and politics called Straight White American Jesus.”

Onishi notes, as I had heard before, that Ronald Reagan said many of the right things to appeal to evangelicals yet never really curried their favor.

George W. Bush was one of them, talking about his “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ, yet never delivered the goods. Onishi gave me new insights about the 2004 W and John Kerry race. The author had indicated to his colleagues that he was positively disposed toward Kerry, who used Matthew 25 language about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. The colleagues acknowledged Kerry’s position but asked if Onishi wanted to be responsible for all the “murdered babies” that a pro-choice Kerry administration would create.


As I well remember, Mitch McConnell stifled Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court because 2016 was an election year, yet allowed Amy Comey Barrett’s nomination to SCOTUS, even though 2020 was also an election year. SCOTUS was then poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. All sorts of state laws, often invoking religion, were instituted. The Alabama Supreme Court’s in vitro fertilization ruling was merely the (il)logical next step.

They like djt because he delivered. You may recall that he allowed a group of preachers to pray and lay hands on him. This encouraged the infiltration of a mentality that has taken over everything from school boards to state houses, not to mention the current Speaker of the House.

This mentality makes me deeply uncomfortable. What happened to rendering unto God what was God’s to Caesar what was Caesar? I read that in a book somewhere. Anyway, listen to the recording.

djt 47?

What might djt do with another four years in the White House? A NYT study suggests that it is “useful to take [his]allies at their word simply. One group of them published 887 pages’ worth of words in a dense but fascinating document called “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise.”

Among other things, “it calls for the closing or remaking of agencies on ideological or religious grounds. (The Department of Health and Human Services should be known as ‘the Department of Life,’ and the government must ‘maintain a biblically based, social-science-reinforced definition of marriage and family.’) It portrays the president as the personal embodiment of popular will and treats the law as an impediment to conservative governance. (‘The legal function cannot be allowed to thwart the administration’s agenda,’ it says.)

While the likely Republican nominee has not specifically endorsed the document, the document mentions djt some 300 times. Read the article, which should fill you with dread. 


In What is Christian nationalism? by Rev. Ryan Dunn, a pastor in the United Methodist Church, writes: “Christian nationalism limits who we are in our spiritual identity and who we are in our American identity. And it runs the even more dangerous route towards a belief that the nation is infallible. Christian nationalism makes an idol of the nation–the country becomes an interchangeable object of worship. We believe we serve God by serving the country.”

Check out Crisis Of Faith: Christian Nationalism and the Threat to U.S. Democracy by Edward Lempinen (Sept 2022)

Christian Nationalism Is ‘Single Biggest Threat’ to America’s Religious Freedom. An Interview With Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee (Apr 2022)

An ‘imposter Christianity’ is threatening American democracy. Analysis by , CNN (July 2022)

THE DANGER OF CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM: The First Amendment is fundamental, and it’s under attack by Jace Woodrum, Executive Director, ACLU of South Carolina (Nov 2023)

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” – Romans 16:17-18, NIV 
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