From the Pilgrims to QAnon: Christian nationalism is the "asteroid coming for democracy"From the Pilgrims to QAnon: Christian nationalism is the "asteroid coming for democracy"
Scholar Samuel Perry says the myth of a "Christian nation" has distorted American history from 1690 to Trump
By KATHRYN JOYCE
PUBLISHED APRIL 29, 2022 6:30AM
(Salon) If the New York Times' "1619 Project" and Donald Trump's 1776 Commission mark two defining moments in American history, as well as opposite sides of an ideological chasm, a new book by sociologists Philip Gorski and Samuel Perry identifies a third defining moment. It's not a new proposed founding, but rather an "inflection point," the moment when the nation's history could have gone in another direction.
In "The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy," Gorski and Perry argue that in the years around 1690 when Puritan colonists began envisioning their battles against Native Americans as an apocalyptic holy war to secure a new Promised Land, when Southern Christians began to formulate a theological justification for chattel slavery a new national mythology was born. That mythology is the "deep story" of white Christian nationalism: the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation, blessed by God and imbued with divine purpose, but also under continual threat from un-American and ungodly forces, often in the form of immigrants or racial minorities.
The result was an ethnic nationalism sanctified by religion as it established a new "holy trinity" of "freedom, order and violence," meted out variously to in-groups and out.
You describe white Christian nationalism as the "San Andreas Fault" of American politics.
We see America torn apart by an authoritarian populism that was characteristic of Trump's movement, which distrusts any opinion not tied to the nationalist leader. There's a lot of distrust for experts, even medical experts when it came to COVID, in favor of somebody like Trump or organizations that put a conservative slant on all news related to politics, COVID, immigration, Muslims, all those things. So when we say white Christian nationalism is the San Andreas Fault, we mean it is a thread running through all of our current conflicts.
You describe a "holy trinity" within white Christian nationalism of freedom, order and violence.
White Christian nationalism seems to be characterized by a libertarian mindset that's only applied to the inside group. The ideology powerfully predicted a belief that we need to protect the economy rather than the vulnerable during COVID and that socialism is anathema actually, that socialists are the worst. White Christian nationalism predicts antipathy towards atheists and Muslims, but socialists are the real demonized group, because socialism represents everything that is leftist or "anti-American." It is not only an economic threat, but a cultural, ethnic and religious threat.
White Christian nationalism advocates for maximum freedom for our group. But there is also this connection between authoritarian violence and social order. Christian nationalism wants order in the form of hierarchies. Men on top. Whites on top. Christians on top. Heterosexuals on top. And any threats to that order are met with justified, righteous, good-guy violence. That is what we saw on Jan. 6: the justification of righteous violence in taking back our country from, in the words of the QAnon Shaman, "the tyrants, the communists and the globalists," and showing them "this is our nation, not theirs." So there is this kind of holy trinity: Freedom for us, order for everybody else. And when that order is violated, they get the violence. .................(more)
make it harder to charge and prosecute sexual assault.
Seems like Republicans are seeking a right to rape, they have to pick the right girl and the right circumstances, and shazam, no investigation.