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The rise of Christian Nationalism Their god looks like the guy who stormed the Capitol

God is a gun-toting, white American guy. Joe Raedle/Getty Images


June 21, 2022   6 mins

“The state should not infringe on the church — that’s what the First Amendment says,” thundered Pastor Ken Peters to his congregation at the Patriot Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, last Sunday, as well as those watching at home on Facebook. “But it’s a one-way wall. It’s like the wall should be the wall on the southern border. It’s one way — so they cannot keep us out of the state.”

Peters is one of a growing number of “MAGA-preachers” who use the pulpit to deliver hellfire warnings about the state of the nation. A rising star in the amped-up evangelical world, the founder of the Patriot Church became infamous as one of the preachers who addressed angry protesters in Washington D.C. on January 5, 2021. Convinced that President Trump had the election stolen from him — from them — these protesters would go on the next day to storm the Capitol.

The January 6 committee has already heard that the attack was the “culmination of an attempted coup”. While the congressional hearings are covering a lot we already knew — President Trump became detached from the reality of his election loss and surrounded himself with yes men; his key adviser Rudy Giuliani was hammered on election night — they have featured harrowing new testimony from people at the riot about the level of organisation and violence on display.

One police officer attacked by the rioters told the committee that the building was a “war zone” and said that she was “slipping in people’s blood”. Footage and testimony from a filmmaker on the scene said he saw hundreds of far-Right Proud Boys walking away from President Trump’s speech towards the Capitol, with the committee inferring that they may have been scoping out security weaknesses for an organised attack. This would imply that January 6 was not the result of the spontaneous actions of lone wolves — nor a false flag operation — as Trump supporters would have us believe.

On the surface, the storming of the Capitol might show how a man nakedly obsessed with winning chose to incite his febrile supporter base and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. But on closer inspection, the events of that day tell the story of the troubling rise of Christian Nationalism that is gaining pace in the United States.

Christian Nationalism is the idea that America is defined by Christianity. This idea has been around as long as America itself, but until the mid-20th century, many evangelicals saw themselves as being above, or at least separate to, mainstream society. The desire to penetrate politics has steadily picked up pace since the Fifties, with the dial being firmly turned in the Reagan-era and again since the 2008 financial crisis and election of Barack Obama.

Proponents of this ideology — the 29% of Americans who believe that “the federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation” — aren’t seeking a Taliban-style theocracy. Rather, they propose using traditionally American means, from their own stockpiles of arms to a rigged Supreme Court, to impose a muscular set of values on Americans that are equally informed by culture and faith.

Needless to say, the God of Christian Nationalists is not Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, but a gun-toting, gas-guzzling, straight, white, native-born kinda guy. He looks and sounds a lot like the people who stormed the Capitol. Researcher and journalist Teddy Wilson mapped more than 850 individuals who took part in the Capitol riot, along with their stated motivations and affiliations. He found that: “Christian Nationalism, more than any other ideological beliefs, has played the most significant role both in the motivations of the defendants, the performance of the attack, and the attempt by the Right to rewrite the history of January 6th.”

Advocates don’t tend to use the term themselves, preferring words such as patriot and MAGA, but spotting their beliefs in action isn’t difficult. Uniting the adherents from the rural South to New York City, they target causes perceived to be liberal or progressive — and are employing increasingly violent ends in opposition to them.

Ken Peters is currently being sued by Planned Parenthood for holding services outside abortion clinics, with the one in Knoxville being shot up weeks after the church’s inaugural service on the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision (Peters denies inciting the shooting and no one has been charged). Pastor Greg Locke, who joined Peters in preaching to thousands of would-be insurrectionists the night before the Capitol riots, delights his 2.2 million Facebook followers by conducting mass burnings of “demonic” Harry Potter books.

The movement isn’t only being organised in traditional churches. True believers are being radicalised by extreme online preachers, and mobilising to take over school boards. Meanwhile, self-described “Christian Fascists” and patriot groups have tried to storm gay events across the country for Pride month. Preachers such as Peters and Locke are enjoying their newfound status as patriotic heroes, but their ideology is expanding their following beyond the pews and into partisan politics, fusing faith and the Republican Party in a way that makes the George W. Bush era look comparatively secular.

While the Christian Nationalist movement to date has been characterised by marches with tiki-torches and Viking hats to try to overturn the election, this is far from a fringe carnival for cranks and loners. For starters, many who participated in the Capitol riots weren’t cabin-dwellers or wannabe TikTok stars. They were self-styled prophets, tech CEOs and real estate agents who chartered private jets to the event.

They are very much the face of the modern Republican Party. Nearly half of today’s Republicans consider themselves born-again, a figure up from 37% in 1988. Yet between 2008 and 2019, the number of self-described evangelicals who attend church each week has decreased from 59% to 52%. In the same period, those who never or seldom attend church has grown 50% to almost one quarter of evangelicals. These changes are being mirrored by those they call “Godless Democrats”. In 1972, just 5% of Americans said that they had no religion, but in 2018, that number rose to 23.7%.

Being an evangelical has shifted from a practice of deeply-held beliefs to a political identity that is riding vibes. As political scientist Dr David Smith puts it, “the average evangelical is Homer Simpson, not Ned Flanders”. One way of looking at this phenomenon is that as America becomes more secular, its evangelicals are becoming more committed. Fuelled by conspiracy and feeling besieged by what they perceive as a liberal world closing in on them, America’s political Right and religious Right are morphing into one. Even those who we might call “cultural Christians” are embracing Christian Nationalist ideas — the kind of self-described evangelicals who don’t go to church but are happy to use biblical justification to crush their opponents.

That’s because they know that they have lost the democratic battle and the demographic battle. Republican power in the United States is largely gained through archaic, unrepresentative institutions such as the Electoral College and Senate, political appointments to the courts, and the gerrymandering of electorates. In a fair, democratic system, they aren’t winning, and would be forced to moderate their ideas to appeal to a wider slice of the electorate.

Not only is Christian Nationalism changing politics, it’s changing theology too. Three doctrines have become popular among the radical Right in recent years, shaped to appeal to people coming to Christian Nationalism from all angles.

Joel’s Army merges religion, conspiracy, and patriotism, appealing to angry young men with the idea that their mission to rule over their countrymen is preordained. The Seven Mountain Mandate encourages believers to reclaim the seven spheres of influence on earth — including government, entertainment, and education — ahead of the End Times. For those invested in QAnon and other conspiracy movements, Spiritual Warfare holds that demons and evil spirits are present and intervening in our daily lives. Here, the Democratic Party, Joe Biden or the LGBT community don’t simply have policies you oppose — they are possessed with spirits; they are evil personified.

The theological shift is reshaping the Christian narrative from offering justice and salvation to one of conquest. In turn, this incendiary language is being picked up and amplified by Fox News hosts and Republican Party candidates — its God-given “mandate” helping to suppress doubt, and to inspire violence and fanaticism.

The changing nature of how faith is consumed is contributing to the rot, too. In the past, a small-town preacher might see congregations voting with their feet and wallets to leave hate-filled political sermons. But the ability to stream church services online — and the social media incentives to be polarising — has put an end to the idea of churches as throwing open the doors to all comers. Last weekend, Ken Peters boasted that the Patriot Church was expanding its house church network for people who can’t find “churches like ours” and don’t want to be a part of “woke church”. Like-minded folks gathered around YouTube in their living rooms will help spread the Patriot Church like “brushfires”.

Of course, divine rule looks a lot like power in the here and now. Beyond the outcome of the January 6 hearings, it is clear that Christian Nationalism is morphing into the unifying ideology of the right of the Republican Party, with or without Trump. As Ken Peters himself openly put it in his weekend sermon: the state can’t interfere with them, but they can interfere with the state. This might be placing Christian Nationalists in a minority in the United States, but they don’t care. They no longer believe that the ballot box is the source of power and authority.


Elle Hardy is a freelance journalist who’s reported from North Korea and the former Soviet Union. She is the author of Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity Is Taking Over the World.

ellehardy

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Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

I was not expecting something more unhinged than a Vox or Slate article. Really, they are the ones trying to impose their will on the rest of the country? I don’t know if you have noticed but we now have drag queens in elementary schools, the cancelation of people who point out basic biology, pride flags and BLM signs on almost every corporate twitter account, and pop culture going more and more woke every year. What major acts of violence has been committed by these people? Oh and please don’t try to go back to January 6th where the official story has changed about five times already (officer Sicknick anyone?) or the Gretchen Whitmer plot (twice as many feds as plotters). I remember an entire summer of violent rioting. There was a recent assassination attempt against Justice Kavanaugh. Portland is still Portland. Finally there is a surge of vandalism, arson, and violence against churches across this country. Concerned parents are literally treated as domestic terrorists by the United States Justice Department. The author acts as if it is shocking that these people are starting to mobilize to push back. It would be more shocking if they did not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I’m so glad that yours was the first comment I read! I was almost in shock as this lady kept laying it on thicker and thicker. My jaw dropped as I read this unhinged screed against the American constitutional republic (electoral college and Senate are the way Republicans sneak past the Uber-left Democrats??!) This lady seems to want to undo America so she can banish Christians and wallow in her materialist, secular fantasies.

What I’m starting to wonder is WHY UnHerd is increasingly cramming this sort of thing into valuable reading time? Yesterday or the day before it was the guy who gave a Marxist conspiracy analysis about inflation as intentionally inflicted on the poor to take away their rights. How many of these left-wing-crank screeds can UnHerd publish before the magazine begins to sound more like the NYT than an alternative reading source (thank God for Mary Harrington).

Eamonn Von Holt
Eamonn Von Holt
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Spot on- I’m starting to wonder if it is worth continuing my subscription when Unherd is publishing this drivel.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago

Cancel if you wish, but you will then miss the outstanding and varied articles. Perhaps you should consider that ant publication that manages to map precisely on to your beliefs will only become an echo chamber.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

True, but challenging my beliefs requires a good argument from a coherent writer.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

Spot on Alan. I don’t read Unherd to get confirmation of my views; and I expect the comments to be equally challenging too. Otherwise it’s pointless having a mind to consider alternative viewpoints, and formulate more refined opposing views.
Matt has reacted by quoting the extreme nasties done by the left/woke, but that’s not addressing the issue of the religious extremists in the article.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago

It’s worth reading sane stuff and the insane stuff in one place, though. Saves time by not having to read the Guardian.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

So you’d prefer it to be an echo chamber? Why, precisely, is the article drivel?

Russ W
Russ W
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Well The UnHerd choose its name for a reason. I can’t say I like reading stuff like this, but I like the openness that is the UnHerd. This article shows an ideologically revealing perspective, even if it the writer’s rather than the subject. It’s good to here a purist speak. It reminds me of the points of view out their to be ready to debate, or take on as Mr. Hindman aptly does. Again.

Raymond Inauen
Raymond Inauen
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The spam attacks on our holy shrine of comments are becoming a real pest! The days are gone when we could frolic in the perfect world of Unherd without being harassed by job offers from dubious sources. The war of ideologies is being overshadowed by bots that want to infiltrate our perfect biosphere and ruin it with offerings off illusionary wages while doing nothing! All we want is to further our intellect and not be harassed by trash!

Last edited 1 year ago by Raymond Inauen
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Raymond Inauen

Is that a job offer?

K B
K B
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

But no one is buying the woke liberals. It’s a small, vocal group which cannot create a unified movement when at its heart they preach diversity. They are exclusionary and offer no vision. Christianity has already proven itself to be both inclusive and has a vision people find attractive when faced with liberalism.
I’ve written for several years that America was heading for a form of Christian Nationalism. Europe is more than likely heading for Islamic Nationalism. I’m not the first to recognise it.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I was amazed at the glib assumption that the US is not, “a fair, democratic system.” It was fair enough to resist Trump’s mob’s attempted coup and his own pressure on officials. I suggest that nothing damages democracy more than low turnout.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I agree with your point about the excesses of the Left, but we don’t have to accept a polarised ‘either or’ narrative. Some of these people sound pretty weird to me, and I expect, you, and are at least talking about violence. The way to fight back is to mobilise politically and persuade your fellow citizens. In any case, their programme has almost no chance at all of doing this.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago

This reads like a classic of Twitter-based journalism. Lots of links to disconnected outrage pieces, that are then woven together with some right-on TDS-based political narrative. Nothing from talking to real people on the ground about what they actually believe. No counter-balance as to why Americans might be distrusting of elections or concerned over the moral direction of the country. ‘They are bad’, look my Twitter feed is full of bad stories about ‘them.’ Tinsel words – shiny and glittery – but lacking depth or insight.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

Christianity underpins liberal democracies’ individual rights and duties, equality before the law, the concept of right over might, and freedoms of conscience, speech, and bodily autonomy. As the writer must surely know well, it helped to serve to keep the flame of liberty and free-thinking alive in the Soviet Union and elsewhere under communist rule. Nationalism, or more accurately patriotism, in a liberal democracy serves to bind disparate groups of people together to serve a common cause that politically unites them against those who do not share their liberal democratic, Christian-heritage values.

So it is should come as little surprise that “Christian nationalism” is on the rise. Many Christians, and genuinely liberal atheistic folk who have inherited the metaphorical truths underpinning Christian liberal values, perceive their values, rights, and culture to be under attack.

They do so because they see large tech, pharma, and other corporations effectively merging with arms of their government in public private partnerships that serve the interests of a tiny, materially wealthy minority without regard to anyone else.

They see their own, compromised and no longer representative governments enmeshing themselves, bilaterally and through corrupted international organisations, with godless, authoritarian governments whose political tradition is one of brutal, unreformed Caesaresque anti-individualism.

They see in their own country the death of independent, courageous journalism and original art and culture, swallowed up by corporate behemoths and replaced by deluded narrative-pushers, dim wits all regurgitating or re-presenting the same tired lies, half-truths and irrelevances.

They see the lure of materialism, Gnosticism, and unfettered utopian transhumanism dragging their children and young adults away into unrealities where there are no unchosen obligations, where there is no suffering, no injustice, nothing to challenge or overcome or creative anew, just unceasing consumption and “happiness” where everyone is the same and has the same, and where everyone merges into one inclusive mush.

They see what the more far-sighted Russian liberals of 1900s saw: that this, like the surging Bolshevism of that time, will lead to mass misery, persecution, and cruelty.

And they see the infiltration of their own churches by (well-meaning but hopelessly misguided) globalist fantasists, tempted by a satanic narrative that the solution to the world’s ills lies not in putting one’s trust in unknowable spiritual faith in something bigger than ourselves, but rather in men becoming gods and, therefore, the end of politics as we know it, the dissolution of national and class interests, and a subordination of every we hold dear to an ill-conceived common purpose. They see that this is a virulent pathogen or a knotweed that, if left unchecked, invades family spaces, collapses boundaries between individuals and genders, and erodes the very notion of the sanctity of individual men and women created by God in his own image.

So please, Elle Hardy, before you lament the rise of the “radical right” and the “rot” of “hate-filled” preachers who simply have a perspective that you don’t share, please check yourself. And ask whether you may also be seeing the shadows of demons. You might discover that the people you so malign and fear are very much like you than you might think – they just happen to see things a bit differently to the way you see them.

Russ W
Russ W
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Andrew, oh my god that was a brilliant retort and I’ll be saving it. Well done!

Russ W
Russ W
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Russ W

My pleasure, Russ, and thank you. You are not alone, far from it. They fear us far more than we fear them.

Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
1 year ago

An extremely one-sided article, written by someone who appears to have made little to no attempt to understand the views and values of Christians in the US (or anywhere probably), those who disagree with her, nor to see much value in doing so. I see she’s written a book about how “Pentecostal Christianity” is “taking over the world”, but I don’t think I’d trust anything from her on that subject on this evidence. Viewing your opponents as a bunch of dangerous weirdos rarely leads to much in the way of intelligent or constructive analysis.
It’s strange btw that a movement can simultaneously be “taking over the world” (or the US), and yet apparently have already “lost the democratic battle and the demographic battle”. Also, my jaw dropped when I read that “Republican power in the United States is largely gained through archaic, unrepresentative institutions such as the Electoral College and Senate, political appointments to the courts, and the gerrymandering of electorates. In a fair, democratic system, they aren’t winning, and would be forced to moderate their ideas to appeal to a wider slice of the electorate.” … wow. Even to the extent there’s any truth in that statement, how does it not apply at least equally to the Democrats? Pot, kettle, black?
… actually, are we still allowed to day “pot, kettle, black”? I’ve a feeling the opponents of “Christian Nationalism” – you know, the people busy supressing views they don’t like and imposing their ideologies on everyone they can, definitely not excluding children – would probably say not.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

Well stated. As a conservative American Christian, I’m amazed that she didn’t throw in the now-obligatory reference to us yearning for “The Handmaid’s Tale” to become reality.

And I will happily admit that I’m thankful for archaic institutions like the US Electoral College and Senate. And a republic as opposed to a pure democracy.

George Bruce
George Bruce
1 year ago

it is clear that Christian Nationalism is morphing into the unifying ideology of the right of the Republican Party,

Okay, maybe. But one thing I would say is the unifying ideology of the current Democrats is to be anti straight Gentile male. So kind of similar. I cannot think of anything else the Democrats would all agree on.

Will Cummings
Will Cummings
1 year ago

Jeepers! Harry Potter is cancelled for being demonic and his creator, JK Rowling is cancelled for being transphobic. I guess viciously zealous Muggles come in both left-handed and right-handed versions.

Oh well, if the Evangelicals were the geniuses who planned the “insurrection”, they must be about the most inept insurrectionists in all of human history.

It’s a darn good thing the authoritarian left is equally inept and stupid.

And Jeffery Epstein did NOT commit suicide. His airplane had right and left wings too.

William Hickey
William Hickey
1 year ago

Ms. Hardy should immediately check out the book “Danger on the Right” by Forster and Epstein. It meticulously details the groups, personalities and connections of the conservative right and fundamentalist religious leaders that threaten American democracy.

It was published in 1964.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  William Hickey

Tremendous.

William Hickey
William Hickey
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Thanks.

Want to know what made me a conservative, Tom?

I was living in Dallas, Texas in 1963 when a communist sympathizer who had defected to the Soviet Union shot the President of the US.

James Reston of The NY Times blamed the assassination on the “climate of right wing hate” in Dallas.

And he wasn’t the only one who did.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  William Hickey

I can imagine. 1933’s been just around the corner since 1946.

(For some reason no-one ever talks about 1917).

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  William Hickey

I did think I had experienced this sort of illogical debate many years ago, thanks. Elements have been successful in driving religious views out of society leaving a huge hole in people’s moral compass since 1964. We can see the resultant carnage in our lives. Relativism damages people; they need principles common to humanity if society is to survive.

Russ W
Russ W
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

CS Lewis laid it out in his “the abolition of man.” Men without chests indeed.

Last edited 1 year ago by Russ W
Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
1 year ago

As a Tennessean and Christian, I find Ms. Hardy’s caricatures as weird and unfamiliar as, well, her.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

Recently I would say that the quality of writing in The Post far out shines the feature articles.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

I think Unherd tries to provide a broad range of opinions, including those that are solidly left of center. The current article certainly captures a certain point of view, although not one I agree with.
I do, however, totally agree with your comment about The Post outshining the feature articles (with a few notable exceptions). I’m not sure why that is although I’ve noticed many feature articles are directed to what I would regard as the fringes of popular culture whereas The Post seems to deal with issues that matter to most people.

Alastair H
Alastair H
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I find that these days the feature articles are almost exclusively Guardian writes, bar the occasional Mary Haddington or Douglas Murray.
Very, very different from when it first started.

Zak Orn
Zak Orn
1 year ago

Yep, you can tell which articles are by Guardian writers before even searching their name… and what they’ll have on their twitter feed. Predictable little carbon copies of each other, absolutely no diversity of thought allowed.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

The only positive thing I can say about the article is that it spawned some good commentary.

M Seeney
M Seeney
1 year ago

What a completely absurd and laughably alarmist load of nonsense. Clearly the author is from the so called ‘be kind’ brigade, yet her loathing of “gas-guzzling, straight, white, native-born kinda guys”(traits that perfectly reasonable and decent people have) is pretty evident. Those who sanctimoniously pen such articles using such terminology are the real ‘haters’ that they themselves endlessly bang on about. The ‘be kind’ mask kinda slipped there unfortunately!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Shades of The Orangemen…. So these Christians dislike Catholicism too? However, better Christian than not, and given Americas pilgrim father roots and history, the simple low church does work for them, and has been the backbone of such immense success as a country that was never going to have culture and philosophy to fall back on.

james elliott
james elliott
1 year ago

Absolute bullshit.

I was actually considering subscribing – but this batshit crazy shrill nonsense has made me think twice.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  james elliott

The editors seem to want to poke us awake. Not the usual article. See the 1964 comment. Not sure why it has returned.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
1 year ago

What a load of tosh
.

Nancy Reyes
Nancy Reyes
1 year ago

Ms. Hardy blames “Christian Nationalism” as her enemy, but then goes on to mention a host of people and groups that don’t claim to be Christian. The only Evangelical I know of at the Capitol on Jan. 6th was Mike Pence.

It’s true that our Founders chose Christianity and the teachings of Jesus as the moral foundation on which a people would be given the privilege of self governance. Today’s left is supporting every behavior that opposes that foundation.

As an Evangelical myself, I’d like to assure Ms. Hardy that we have no intention of taking over this country aside from our right to vote as citizens. And the fact that our nation is running as fast as it can from God is no surprise to us. It’s a fulfillment of prophecy and you will get your wish. You will inherit not only a godless nation, but a godless world. We say, “as in the days of Noah.”

The only way out is to put your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin and reconciliation with God. What’s coming is not going to be good.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

“One police officer attacked by the rioters told the committee that the building was a “war zone” and said that she was “slipping in people’s blood”. Footage and testimony from a filmmaker on the scene said he saw hundreds of far-Right Proud Boys walking away from President Trump’s speech towards the Capitol, with the committee inferring that they may have been scoping out security weaknesses for an organised attack. This would imply that January 6 was not the result of the spontaneous actions of lone wolves — nor a false flag operation — as Trump supporters would have us believe.”
I stopped bothering to read about this hysterical drivel. If I wanted this sort of take I’d invest in Buzzfeed stock.

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
1 year ago

The ballot box is the source of power. But it is not the source of authority. All over the world people are remembering that.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago

Elle Hardy obviously has an axe to grind, and she is grinding away in this article.

First of all, the term “evangelical” is a vague and loosely defined religious term, which she uses carelessly, as an epithet. Some definitions are in order.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I practice in the Reformed tradition. Many people would ( wrongly ) lump me into the so-called “evangelical” camp. Yet the events of January 6th, and Donald Trump sicken me, as they should anyone serious about following Christ.

I early on described “Trumpism” as Christian Nationlism. I erred. It is neither Christian – in the tradional sense – nor a formal of legitimate patriotic fervor. It is a gross perversion of both, an amalgam of sentiments which, were they sincere, might be beneficial. As it is, they are inauthentic representations and highly toxic.

But I think Ms. Hart exaggerates their importance on the political landscape. Yes, there are many right wing people who feel threatened – and should be – by the insanities of progressive governance, globalism and “wokeness”. And yes, many of them see their country as a modern version of Weimar Germany. Who can blame them? Finally, many of these people are drawn to the strong man thuggery of a man like Trump to save them. This is decidedly NOT a Christian perspective.

Most thinking Christians know that there are moderate conservative arguments and leaders who could address some of these social ills constructively.

The hinge on which all of this turns is the two- party system, a system which is broken, perhaps beyond repair. The Democrats are sold out to radical social engineering and make little bones about their disdain for tradition and faith. The GOP is timid and tiptoes around the obvious problem named Donald J. Trump. If the GOP fails to sideline him, he will be the spoiler, just like Ross Perot was. And the American people will be faced again by an electoral dilemma of even greater magnitude than the last three we’ve endured.

God have mercy on us!

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerald Arcuri
Garrett R
Garrett R
1 year ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

Good response. The Trump movement and the coming of a more militant Christian ideology betray many core principles of Christianity. I do not understand the theology of many of these movements as Christ so clearly said his kingdom is not of this world. Mankind has always sought to establish heaven on earth and has failed spectacularly and tragically each time. This will be no different.

It’s just maddening to watch it all unfold. I hope the GOP can get its sense but I fear they missed the golden opportunity afforded by Jan 6th to banish Trump from holding office in the future. The Dems are painfully weak, bereft of any truly unifying leader. 2024 might herald dark times.

Last edited 1 year ago by Garrett R
David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
1 year ago

I see that most Unherd readers have objected to this disagreeable piece. I would add that the statistical reference “29% of Americans who believe that the federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation” is risible when one considers that barely that amount actually attend Christian churches with any regularity.
Addtionally, the statement that “in a fair, democratic system, they aren’t winning” is laughable considered against so much recent speculation of Republican landslides in the fall elections.

Garrett R
Garrett R
1 year ago

I do think it’s an issue that Rs have won just one popular vote with the presidential election since 1992. At some point and I don’t know when that is, the system no longer represents the will of the people. Trump lost to Hillary by 3 mn and to Biden by 7 mn. Those aren’t small figures.

If Rs continue to win the electoral college without the popular vote, then it takes a very strained logic to claim the electoral college is a fair and just representation of the will of the people.

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
1 year ago
Reply to  Garrett R

It’s been a minute since I had to pass Civics class to graduate from high school (which, given present company, no one should be surprised is no longer a required course) but isn’t the example of popular vote losses/electoral victories a testament to the wisdom of our founders and their rather ingenious bulwark against the tyranny of the majority? Look at a county map of the US, Red and Blue for Repubs and Dems respectively. What you’ll see is that cities – from Pittsburgh to Jackson, MS – are Blue. Overwhelmingly, the rest of the country is Red. The anti-electoral college Leftists think the people in rural counties don’t deserve representation. Those are exactly the kind of people I don’t want representing me.

Garrett R
Garrett R
1 year ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

That’s a bad fallacy to use. Go look at a map that adjusts for population and blue areas matter far more. Furthermore, the US first implemented the Articles of Confederation that handed far too much power to smaller states as most amendments required unanimous approval. The Founders in that case recognized their errors and corrected it.

Finally, consider county unit systems that systematically suppressed minority votes in the Jim Crow era in Mississippi where candidates were required to win both the popular vote and the majority of counties. These aren’t representative solutions. The tyranny of the minority is as bad as an absolute tyranny of the majority.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago
Reply to  Garrett R

But the risk of a tyranny of the minority is counterbalanced by having popular elections for congressional districts. It is congress’s duty to make laws, not the president’s.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago
Reply to  Garrett R

The president is elected by the states not by the people. The people direct their states electors how to vote.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

I see that the DNC has shills submitting articles at UnHerd these days.

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
1 year ago

It’s hard not interpret this piece (which is really just an Australian Leftist flogging American straw men in the last smart internet magazine on earth) as progressive misery-sublimation and trolling. I’m sure Elle is a polite, decent person. But, my goodness, she sure writes like someone whose fanatical droning you’d make a lame excuse to get away from at a party.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mikey Mike
Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

Conquest’s second law of politics: any organisation not explicitly right wing sooner or later becomes left wing.

Phil K
Phil K
1 year ago

Drivel

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago

Wouldn’t the burning of Harry Potter books please both sides of this yawning divide? Or must we, like proto-Orthodox heretic hunters, first ascertain the motive?

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Smith
Howard Ahmanson
Howard Ahmanson
1 year ago

These people are attacking the elected State directly. The woke left is invading the other sources of authority – the corporations, the universities, and the non-elected administrative parts of the State. Neither must be allowed to succeed, or democracy ends.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago

No, no, no! You’ve not been listening. We have to have a hard-left one-party state in order to *save* our democracy!

Last edited 1 year ago by nigel roberts
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Are Unherd commenters expecting a right wing echo chamber?

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago

I’ve been reading this sort of stuff since the 1980s and days the ‘moral majority’. The USA is permanently on the verge of some kind of theocratic purge of secular society. But the country still functions, albeit with the ever present tension between state and federal govt. Yes, China is catching up, but the USA is still the world leader for its economy, tech, culture and politics (each for good or ill).
Still I guess it makes good copy!

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago

Wow! This was by a giant margin the most out-of-touch / ivory tower / inside the beltway / intoxicated by the smell of my own farts piece I’ve ever seen on Unherd.
Not to mention particularly ill-timed. I wonder if the author has any thoughts on the “family friendly” “pride” events that have been popping up in places like Texas and Idaho. “It’s not gonna lick itself” as grampa used to say. I miss they.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago

Did I accidentally type in http://www.theatlantic.com when I was trying to read UnHerd?

Scott A
Scott A
1 year ago

The “Moral Majority” or Evangelical Right was 40 years ago and with Neocon assistance, served up multiple wedge issues for America in the 80s.
The Neoconservatives (Progressives) are replaying the tactic from the 80s to associate Evangelicals with Nationalism, which they redefined as Ultranationalism (never mind that there are no Judeo Christian actions to dismantle the Constitution).
We shouldn’t take the bait, particularly in the face of existential threats to our economy and national security.

Last edited 1 year ago by Scott A
Nicholas Rowe
Nicholas Rowe
1 year ago

As most of the Founding Fathers were deists, the USA must have somehow departed from the 18th century model.
And was Jesus really meek and mild? Overturning the tables of the money changers and declaring elsewhere, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword…”

Andrew Vavuris
Andrew Vavuris
11 months ago

Reading this article almost a year after publication is very telling. The authoress’ premise is shown to be false. Her left wing tropes are not holding up. There is no movement to impose Christianity by force in the USA. The left has pushed its radical ideology to the point that they are will to teach sexual perversion in school. People who acknowledge a divine order revealed through scripture and time tested reason, are rejecting the state imposed perversion and are waking up and speaking up. Pluralism at its best.

History Buff
History Buff
1 year ago

The author’s premise that Christian Nationalists and their fellow traveler right-wing zealots are a distinct existential threat to democracy has many adherents, myself included. I don’t think the danger is so much in the content of their beliefs as in their willingness to act on them in future. We have seen minority movements punch far above their weight in the past.
The Bolsheviks were at the fringes of a tiny intelligentsia that existed in Russia leading up to October 1917; but such was Lenin and his follower’s – particularly Trotsky’s – ruthlessness and savagery that they swept all before them, leading the way to Stalin, murderer of millions and one of the great monsters of history.
The Nazis in Germany came to power in the Weimar Republic legitimately, but never commanded a clear majority in any election.  They won just enough seats in the Reichstag in 1932 to bully and manipulate their way to the enabling act and absolute power in 1933. Within months the first concentration camp was established at Dachau and the way was open to the Holocaust.
The opposition in both cases – Mensheviks and Social Democrats – were leaderless, weak, and disorganized; too “civilized” to counter minorities that were energized by ideologies and a level of fanatical certainty that prepared them to do literally anything to gain absolute power.

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
1 year ago
Reply to  History Buff

I find some solace in the realization that adherents to the author’s premise often sound more like they’re pitching a screenplay than selling a theory they would stake their reputation on.

Oliver McCarthy
Oliver McCarthy
1 year ago

If you close your eyes you won’t be able to see the “QAnon Shaman”, and you’ll be able to pretend all the 6th January protesters were happy-clappy Ned Flanders-types. You won’t be able to see the “blood” and the “violence” either, but don’t worry. No one else can either – except in his mind.

K B
K B
1 year ago

At last someone in the media has recognised where America is headed. I suspect it will be even worse. There is every likelihood that Christian Nationalists will join with the Greens. I can see the “off grid” movement dovetailing with the environmentalists.

Leonard Peikoff predicted this would be the fate of America in his book “The Ominous Parallels” and his thesis “The DIM hypothesis”.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago
Reply to  K B

What do you mean “At last”? The loonie left has been on this kick since at least the days of Sinclair Lewis (b.1885).