Christian nationalism is a threat to the America we love
Christian nationalism is an existential threat to a government of the people, for the people and by the people. It proved it on January 6, 2021, and now our most extreme politicians are proudly adopt the label.
Thanks to widespread media coverage in recent weeks, Americans are waking up to the danger that some have been Attention for years, even if they are not quite sure what Christian nationalism is.
Christian Nationalism is an ideology based on the claim that America was founded as a Christian nation and on Judeo-Christian principles with a divinely appointed place in world affairs. Christian nationalism is rewriting American history to redefine what it means to be American, so that to be American is to be Christian and to be Christian is to be American. Specifically, “Real Americans” are conservative, white, heteronormative Christian men and the women who submit to these men. It is their country. All others are invited.
This is identity politics at its worst. But rewriting American identity is only the first step. After that, Christian nationalists will rewrite the law to privilege this identity.
Intentionally or not, the Supreme Court has contributed to this second step, as I detail in my new book, American Crusade: How the Supreme Court is weaponizing religious freedom.
The last mandate, the conservative tribunal abolished abortion protections; authorized public school officials to align their state-given power and position with religious ritual; allowed the city of Boston to fly the christian flag above the town hall; and strength Maine taxpayers fund Christian schools, ‘to subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars,’ as Judge Sonia Sotomayor rightly Put the.
The conservative bloc of the Supreme Court does not interpret religious freedom as a universal freedom, but as a Christian privilege. They reforge religious freedom as a weapon for Christian nationalists, so that there is an inner group of Christian nationalists, whom the law protects but does not bind, and an outer group, all others, whom the law binds but does not not bind. protect.
Notably absent from majority opinion in football manager case joseph kennedy in Bremerton, Wash., was religious freedom for students and families who felt compelled to join in his prayers at the 50-yard line. Just as the religious freedom of every Maine taxpayer was absent from the school funding case. The only religious freedom that matters to this court is the militarized religious freedom claimed by conservative Christians.
Christian nationalists have become more and more emboldened since they helped Donald Trump cooked up an Electoral College victory in 2016. When they failed to do so in 2020, they attacked the beating heart of American democracy on January 6. For the first time in two centuries, the US Capitol has been sacked. In a report detailing the role of Christian nationalism played in the January 6 attack, contributors, myself included, explained that Christian nationalism created a permission structure that gave the insurgents the moral and mental license they needed to attack our government and attempt to overturn a free and fair election. The evidence is overwhelming. Unquestionable. Clear. The attackers told us, loudly and repeatedly, what they believed and why those beliefs justified the attack. They told us about their Christian nationalism. We must listen to them. Because if we ignore the ideology that justified this attack in their minds, we invite future attacks.
We pushed back previous waves of Christian nationalism. We can push it back to the fringe again. And we should, because Christian nationalism is not American. To defeat Christian nationalism is to defend the separation of Church and State. This founding principle guarantees, as Americans United for Separation of Church and State remind us, “freedom without favor and equality without exception”. Keeping religion and government separate ensures that we are all treated equally before the law and would alleviate some of the seemingly intractable issues and divisions that divide our nation.
We need a new national commitment to the separation of church and state.
Andrew L. Seidel is constitutional attorney and vice president of strategic communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.
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