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Showing posts with label Christian Nationalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian Nationalism. Show all posts

Friday, September 8, 2023

He was a top church official who criticized Trump. He says Christianity is in crisis

S. Detrow, G. J. Sanchez, & S. Handel
Originally poste 8 Aug 23

Here is an excerpt:

What's the big deal? 

According to Moore, Christianity is in crisis in the United States today.
  • Moore is now the editor-in-chief of the Christianity Today magazine and has written a new book, Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call For Evangelical America, which is his attempt at finding a path forward for the religion he loves.
  • Moore believes part of the problem is that "almost every part of American life is tribalized and factionalized," and that has extended to the church.
  • "I think if we're going to get past the blood and soil sorts of nationalism or all of the other kinds of totalizing cultural identities, it's going to require rethinking what the church is," he told NPR.
  • During his time in office, Trump embraced a Christian nationalist stance — the idea that the U.S. is a Christian country and should enforce those beliefs. In the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, Republican candidates are again vying for the influential evangelical Christian vote, demonstrating its continued influence in politics.
  • In Aug. 2022, church leaders confirmed the Department of Justice was investigating Southern Baptists following a sexual abuse crisis. In a statement, SBC leaders said: "Current leaders across the SBC have demonstrated a firm conviction to address those issues of the past and are implementing measures to ensure they are never repeated in the future."
  • In 2017, the church voted to formally "denounce and repudiate" white nationalism at its annual meeting.

What is he saying? 

Moore spoke to All Things Considered's Scott Detrow about what he thinks the path forward is for evangelicalism in America.

On why he thinks Christianity is in crisis:
It was the result of having multiple pastors tell me, essentially, the same story about quoting the Sermon on the Mount, parenthetically, in their preaching — "turn the other cheek" — [and] to have someone come up after to say, "Where did you get those liberal talking points?" And what was alarming to me is that in most of these scenarios, when the pastor would say, "I'm literally quoting Jesus Christ," the response would not be, "I apologize." The response would be, "Yes, but that doesn't work anymore. That's weak." And when we get to the point where the teachings of Jesus himself are seen as subversive to us, then we're in a crisis.

The information is here. 

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Christ, Country, and Conspiracies? Christian Nationalism, Biblical Literalism, and Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Walker, B., & Vegter, A.
Journal for the Study of Religion
May 8, 2023.


When misinformation is rampant, “fake news” is rising, and conspiracy theories are widespread, social scientists have a vested interest in understanding who is most susceptible to these false narratives and why. Recent research suggests Christians are especially susceptible to belief in conspiracy theories in the United States, but scholars have yet to ascertain the role of religiopolitical identities and epistomological approaches, specifically Christian nationalism and biblical literalism, in generalized conspiracy thinking. Because Christian nationalists sense that the nation is under cultural threat and biblical literalism provides an alternative (often anti-elite) source of information, we predict that both will amplify conspiracy thinking. We find that Christian nationalism and biblical literalism independently predict conspiracy thinking, but that the effect of Christian nationalism increases with literalism. Our results point to the contingent effects of Christian nationalism and the need for the religious variables in understanding conspiracy thinking.


I could not find a free pdf.  Here is  summary.

The study's findings suggest that Christian nationalism and biblical literalism may be contributing factors to the rise of conspiracy theories in the United States. The study also suggests that efforts to address the problem of conspiracy theories may need to focus on addressing these underlying beliefs.

Here are some additional details from the study:
  • The study surveyed a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.
  • The study found that 25% of Christian nationalists and 20% of biblical literalists believe in at least one conspiracy theory, compared to 12% of people who do not hold these beliefs.
  • The study found that the belief in conspiracy theories is amplified when people feel that their nation is under cultural threat. For example, Christian nationalists who believe that the nation is under cultural threat are more likely to believe that the government is hiding information about extraterrestrial life.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Gab users are responding to the Doug Mastriano controversy by calling for antisemitic violence

Eric Hananoki
Originally posted 1 AUG 22

Following criticism of Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano paying Gab for campaign help, users of the far-right platform are responding by posting antisemitic death threats and calls for violence against Jewish people. Those posts included such hate speech as “exterminate all jews,” “WHERE IS ADOLPH WHEN HE IS NEEDED,” and, “Dear Lord, SMITE JOSH SHAPIRO, that weasel, lying Jew.”

Gab caters to far-right extremists, including people who have been banned from other social media platforms. Many of its users are antisemites and neo-Nazis who use the site to express their hatred toward Jewish people. Gab CEO Andrew Torba is a virulent antisemite who this year reposted praise of Gab as a place to get “differing opinions” on the Holocaust. 

Gab’s extremist history is well-known, especially to people in Pennsylvania. In 2018, a Gab user posted antisemitic and violent remarks on the site before he allegedly killed 11 people in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. 

Still, Mastriano said in a campaign filing that he paid $5,000 to Gab for “consulting” services on April 28. Shortly afterward, he did a video interview with Torba in which he praised the Gab founder for “giving us a platform for free speech” and said, “Thank God for what you’ve done.” Mastriano also made clear he followed Torba, telling him at one point that he “liked that one meme” the Gab CEO shared. 

On July 8, Media Matters unearthed Mastriano’s campaign expenditure. Shortly afterward, HuffPost’s Christopher Mathias reported that the payment seemed to be for new followers, as “every new account currently being created on Gab automatically follows Mastriano.” (Torba denied this.) 

Pittsburgh’s WESA reported on July 13 that a Gab post by Mastriano "on July 9 — a criticism of Democratic economic policies — received 157 comments. At least two dozen of those responses — the most common response by far — were antisemitic insults about state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate in the race for governor. Shapiro is Jewish.” 

Curator's Note: Sorry for this very Pennsylvania specific article.  This politician cannot hold any office, let alone the Governor's office of my beloved Commonwealth.  We need to vote like our rights depend on it, because they do.

Mastriano is pictured in Washington DC (on the right) on January 6.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Dangerous as the Plague

Samuel Huneke
The Baffler
Originally posted 23 JUN 22

Here is an excerpt:

There is not enough space here to enumerate all of the similarities and differences between National Socialism and today’s right, but the place of Christianity in each movement is instructive. The churches were always on tenuous terms at best with Hitler’s state. Many Nazi leaders were openly hostile to Christianity and to the “traditional” family. Homosexuality posed a threat to Nazism not in moral terms, but rather in social and political terms, threatening to undermine its homosocial order. In stark contrast, the American right today remains in thrall to white Christian nationalism, which openly seeks to impose its own version of morality on the nation. The threat queerness poses to this version of patriarchal Christianity, coupled with broader anxieties about loss of social status, is what appears to motivate the new right’s transphobia and homophobia.

The endurance of these tropes also highlights the limits of the professionalized LGBTQ political movement in this country, which has prioritized visibility and assimilation—eschewing more revolutionary strategies that would encompass the needs of the most marginalized. Groups like the Human Rights Campaign have been successful up to a point, but their strategies were always predicated on the notion that if queer people were visible and showed that they weren’t actually that different, prejudice would seep away. Because its aim was assimilation, this tactic fundamentally upheld the division between normal and abnormal on which animus rests. Instead of contesting that very division, it sought to put certain queer people on the “right” side of it. In this way, it also misunderstood hatred as a product of ignorance rather than a political strategy or an expression of sublimated anxieties.

Now animus against queer people—especially trans people—is back with a vengeance. From the conspiracy-addled world of QAnon, in which a shadowy cabal of pedophiles, juiced on the blood of children, runs the world, to the mendacity of trans-exclusionary radical feminists (or TERFs), a growing segment of the population seems willing to entertain the notion that lesbians, gay men, and trans people are “recruiting” children. The bestseller Irreversible Damage, published in 2020 and reaching audiences well beyond the fringe right, insisted that girls were being seduced by a “transgender craze” that it termed a “contagion.” Just before Pride month, U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has embraced the rhetoric of “grooming,” predicted that in “four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore.”

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Christian Right is violating the First Amendment by banning abortion

Noah Berlatsky
NBC News Cultural Critic
Originally published 18 JUN 22

The anti-abortion rights movement is largely faith based. Catholics and evangelical Christians argue that life begins at conception, and that fetuses have souls. On those grounds, they want to prevent anyone from obtaining abortion services.

They’ve had a good deal of success with that recently. A leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggests the high court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade, effectively gutting the constitutional right to abortion. In anticipation, many conservative states have passed sweeping anti-abortion legislation.

But not everyone is Christian. And imposing Christian morality and Christian dogma on non-Christians is a good working definition of religious tyranny — which the First Amendment of the Constitution explicitly rejects. 

That principle of religious freedom is the basis of a lawsuit brought by Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor, a synagogue in Boynton Beach, Florida, against a sweeping state abortion ban set to take effect on July 1. Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor is challenging a single law on behalf of a single religion. But the case is also a broader challenge to the anti-abortion rights movement, which conflates a right-wing Christian demand for forced birth with universal morality, and insists on subjugating the country to a sectarian code.

The new Florida law bans most abortions after 15 weeks. There are no exceptions for cases of incest, rape or human trafficking. It does allow an abortion to save a pregnant person’s life or to prevent serious physical injury. But these exceptions aren’t enough to keep the law from violating the free exercise of the Jewish faith. The congregation’s lawsuit states that the Florida law violates Jewish religious beliefs holding that abortion “is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman,” among other reasons.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Historical Fundamentalism? Christian Nationalism and Ignorance About Religion in American Political History

S. L. Perry, R. Braunstein, et al.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 
(2022) 61(1):21–40


Religious right leaders often promulgate views of Christianity's historical preeminence, privilege, and persecution in the United States that are factually incorrect, suggesting credulity, ignorance, or perhaps, a form of ideologically motivated ignorance on the part of their audience. This study examines whether Christian nationalism predicts explicit misconceptions regarding religion in American political history and explores theories about the connection. Analyzing nationally representative panel data containing true/false statements about religion's place in America's founding documents, policies, and court decisions, Christian nationalism is the strongest predictor that Americans fail to affirm factually correct answers. This association is stronger among whites compared to black Americans and religiosity actually predicts selecting factually correct answers once we account for Christian nationalism. Analyses of “do not know” response patterns find more confident correct answers from Americans who reject Christian nationalism and more confident incorrect answers from Americans who embrace Christian nationalism. We theorize that, much like conservative Christians have been shown to incorrectly answer science questions that are “religiously contested,” Christian nationalism inclines Americans to affirm factually incorrect views about religion in American political history, likely through their exposure to certain disseminators of such misinformation, but also through their allegiance to a particular political-cultural narrative they wish to privilege.

From the Discussion and Conclusions

Our findings extend our understanding of contemporary culture war conflicts in the United States in several key ways. Our finding that Christian nationalist ideology is not only associated with different political or social values (Hunter 1992; Smith 2000), but belief in explicitly wrong historical claims goes beyond issues of subjective interpretation or mere differences of opinion to underscore the reality that Americans are divided by different information. Large groups of Americans hold incompatible beliefs about issues of fact, with those who ardently reject Christian nationalism more likely to confidently and correctly affirm factual claims and Christian nationalists more likely to confidently and incorrectly affirm misinformation. To be sure, we are unable to disentangle directionality here, which in all likelihood operates both ways. Christian nationalist ideology is made plausible by false or exaggerated claims about the evangelical character of the nation’s founders and founding documents. Yet Christian nationalism, as an ideology, may also foster a form of motivated ignorance or credulity toward a variety of factually incorrect statements, among them being the preeminence and growing persecution of Christianity in the UnitedStates.

Closely related to this last point, our findings extend recent research by further underscoring the powerful influence of Christian nationalism as the ideological source of credulity supporting and spreading far-right misinformation.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Christian Nationalism and Political Violence: Victimhood, Racial Identity, Conspiracy, and Support for the Capitol Attacks

Armaly, M.T., Buckley, D.T. & Enders, A.M. 
Polit Behav (2022). 


What explains popular support for political violence in the contemporary United States, particularly the anti-institutional mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol in January 2021? Recent scholarship gives reason to suspect that a constellation of beliefs known as “Christian nationalism” may be associated with support for such violence. We build on this work, arguing that religious ideologies like Christian nationalism should be associated with support for violence, conditional on several individual characteristics that can be inflamed by elite cues. We turn to three such factors long-studied by scholars of political violence: perceived victimhood, reinforcing racial and religious identities, and support for conspiratorial information sources. Each can be exacerbated by elite cues, thus translating individual beliefs in Christian nationalism into support for political violence. We test this approach with original survey data collected in the wake of the Capitol attacks. We find that all the identified factors are positively related to each other and support for the Capitol riot; moreover, the relationship between Christian nationalism and support for political violence is sharply conditioned by white identity, perceived victimhood, and support for the QAnon movement. These results suggest that religion’s role in contemporary right-wing violence is embedded with non-religious factors that deserve further scholarly attention in making sense of support for political violence.

From Discussion and Implications

While this is not a piece of policy analysis, our findings do come with implications for governmental efforts to confront domestic extremism, which have received significant attention in the shadow of January 6. First and foremost, these efforts could repeat mistakes of earlier generations of policy designed to counter violent extremism, which tended to focus on religious ideology or beliefs in isolation. The results we present here suggest that efforts to promote “moderate” Christianity are likely to run into similar obstacles to twenty years of limited results from efforts to promote “moderate” Islam or mobilize government resources to win a “war of ideas” within Islam. Instead, religion’s impact on support for extremist violence is likely to be “interactive” (Mandaville & Nozell, 2017, 1). In this case, for example, the strong conditioning effect of support for the QAnon movement suggests the urgent need for increased data collection on the explicit or implicit ways in which conspiratorial disinformation spreads through religious congregations and institutions. Moreover, as victimhood and white identity can be cued and strategically employed by political elites (Armaly and Enders Forthcoming; Jardina 2019), our results suggest attention to the types of messages from political and religious leaders intended to exacerbate the factors that condition the impact of Christian nationalism.

Our findings, drawn from one sample and an observational research design, also provide ample opportunities for further research. First, we theorize, but do not directly observe or test, that the factors enhancing Christian nationalism’s effect on support for violence are tied to changing top-down mechanisms such as the supply of anti-establishment elite cues. Research has documented the ability of elite cues to stoke victimhood, white identity, and conspiracy beliefs, and Christian nationalism itself could well be manipulable in a similar way. Various experimental approaches could probe the mass-level effects of elite communication strategies. Building on recent experimental research (Buckley, 2020; Margolis, 2018), these designs could test which types of individuals are most responsive to Christian nationalist cues, and further investigate the reinforcing nature of cues that blend religious, racial, and even conspiratorial content. A significant body of recent research on clergy influence (Dujpe and Gilbert 2009), including attitudes related to tolerance (Djupe 2015), suggests that clergy influence may be substantial, but also contingent.

Friday, May 7, 2021

'Allergic reaction to US religious right' fueling decline of religion, experts say

Donald Trump with religious leaders for a national day of prayer in September 2017.
Adam Gabbatt
The Guardian
Originally published 5 Apr 21

Here is an excerpt:

“Many Americans – especially young people – see religion as bound up with political conservatism, and the Republican party specifically,” Campbell said.

“Since that is not their party, or their politics, they do not want to identify as being religious. Young people are especially allergic to the perception that many – but by no means all – American religions are hostile to LGBTQ rights.”

Research by Campbell shows that a growing number of Americans have turned away from religion as politicians – particularly Republicans – have mixed religion with their politics. Campbell says there has always been an ebb and flow in American adherence to religion, but he thinks the current decline is likely to continue.

“I see no sign that the religious right, and Christian nationalism, is fading. Which in turn suggests that the allergic reaction will continue to be seen – and thus more and more Americans will turn away from religion,” he said.

The number of people who identify as non-religious has grown steadily in recent decades, according to Michele Margolis, associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of From Politics to the Pews. More than 20% of all Americans are classed as “nones”, Margolis said, and more than a third of Americans under 30.

“That means non-identification is going to continue becoming a larger share of population over time as cohort replacement continues to occur,” Margolis said. But she agreed another factor is the rightwing’s infusion of politics with theism.

“As religion has been closed linked with conservative politics, we’ve had Democrats opting out of organized religion, or being less involved, and Republicans opting in,” she said.

Monday, January 18, 2021

We Decoded The Symbols From The Storming Of The Capitol

We looked through hours of footage from the Capitol riot to decode the symbols that Trump supporters brought with them, revealing some ongoing threats to US democracy.