How prominent is “Christian nationalism” becoming in the U.S.? I recently talked to Signal magazine’s Graham Vyse about the challenges for American democracy, and American Christians, from “the secular god of politics.”
“We need to be the party of nationalism,” the U.S. Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told an interviewer earlier this year: “We should be Christian nationalists.” Green is well known in America for her far-right politics and extreme rhetoric—the Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell even once called her views a “cancer” for their party—but the idea that the United States should be a “Christian nation” appears to be moving further into mainstream American public opinion. There are cartoonish versions of this idea at play in the media, including Nick Fuentes’s—Fuentes is a white-supremacist influencer who recently made headlines for having dinner with Donald Trump and Kanye West—which is that America needs a dictatorship to enforce his vision of reactionary Catholicism. But Christian nationalism did motivate many of the Donald Trump supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. And according to recent polling from the Pew Research Center, most American adults say their country was founded to be a “Christian nation”—with 45 percent saying it should still be one. At the same time, Pew notes, “many supporters of Christian nationhood define the concept in broad terms, as the idea that the country is guided by Christian values.” How are these movements in American Christianity shaping U.S. political life?
The interview covered many topics, including:
- How I understand the phenomenon of Christian nationalism in the U.S.;
- How widespread it is; whether recent conversation around the topic overstates its influence;
- What mainstream coverages gets wrong about the topic;
- How everyday American Christians think about the relationship between religion and politics;
- The definition of Catholic integralism;
- How growing secularism in the U.S. is changing the politics of American Christians and the country more broadly;
- Why the Christian Right has a defensive posture in the culture wars;
- And how young Americans’ political and religious attitudes have the potential for generational change that might alter or exacerbate these trends.
Read my answers to this far reaching interview here.