Christian Nationalism and Trump: Authoritarian, Paranoid, and Patriarchal

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Duane Townsend

Alternet - February 17, 2020

Katherine Stewart is the writer who first introduced me to the term “Christian nationalists” almost a year ago. I had previously referred to the group that has shown unwavering support for Trump as “white evangelicals.” But that is a bit of a misnomer, primarily because, as we saw with the article in Christianity Today calling for the president’s removal from office, there are pockets of white evangelicals who aren’t part of the movement. There are also members of other religious groups that espouse the same beliefs. For example, Catholic leaders like Attorney General William Barr and Federalist Society President Leonard Leo are major players in the Christian nationalist movement.

Bringing some clarity to the make-up of the Christian nationalist movement is just one of the myths Stewart busts in her upcoming book titledThe Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, set to be released on March 3rd. Equally important for us to understand is that this movement isn’t simply about culture wars.

**"**It is not a social or cultural movement. It is a political movement, and its ultimate goal is power. It does not seek to add another voice to America’s pluralistic democracy but to replace our foundational democratic principles and institutions with a state grounded on a particular version of Christianity answering to what some adherents call a “biblical worldview” that also happens to serve the interests of its plutocratic funders and allied political leaders…This is not a “culture war.” It is a political war over the future of democracy."

When it comes to that “biblical worldview,” we often hear about the fact that Christian nationalists oppose abortion and LGBT rights. But as Stewart explains, the movement is actually based on the idea that “the Bible is very clear about the right answers to the political issues American voters face in the twenty-first century.” For example, they also believe that the Bible:

  • opposes public assistance to the poor as a matter of principle—unless the money passes through church coffers;
  • opposes environmentalism and, as a matter of theology, denies the science that human contributions to greenhouse gases causes global warning;
  • opposes gun regulation;
  • supports strong national borders;
  • favors the privatization of schools;
  • favors a gender hierarchy in both the home and church, with women being submissive to men;
  • favors the use of corporal punishment when discipling children;
  • favors government deregulation of business and minimal workers rights; and
  • favors capitalism and property rights.

To illustrate the Christian nationalist commitment to that biblical worldview, Stewart examined the writings and teachings of Ralph Drollinger, the founder of Capitol Ministries, who leads a weekly Bible study in the White House for cabinet secretaries and other officials. However, those views are also incorporated into churches by groups like the Family Research Council, which promotes “Cultural Impact Teams” and arms them with manuals that outline a biblical worldview. ...
Read full report at Alternet

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