June 8, 2022 Wayne Northey

Thoughts on: With the Buffalo massacre, white Christian nationalism strikes again

A toxic ideology is increasingly overlapping with mainstream views

Listen to this article

Perspective by Samuel L. Perry

Philip S. Gorski

May 20, 2022

image above: Hundreds of white nationalists marched on the University of Virginia grounds the night of Aug. 11, 2017, some chanting “White lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us.” Some white Christian nationalist views — with the promise of violence — have spread deeply from the fringes into the mainstream. (Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)

Unbelievably, they threatened us and our children in the name of Jesus if we did not do their bidding.Brad Raffensperger about threats received for not having gone along with Trump

WN: The closing comment of the article is chilling:

Still, any remaining boundaries between white nationalism and Christian nationalism are becoming blurrier by the day.

Please see too this excerpt from my post

The U.S. has become increasingly unhinged–thanks in significant part to White Christian Nationalism. I have a close Canadian relative who tragically is in lockstep with such. His favourite website is Gab, about which you can read below. So distressing! He’s so far down the Rabid Hole, I can only pray that some day, as title of my post four years ago indicates, he can . . .

The adjacent book, Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, is a good place to gain an understanding of this menacing phenomenon. Of it, we read:

Why do so many conservative Christians continue to support Donald Trump despite his many overt moral failings? Why do many Americans advocate so vehemently for xenophobic policies, such as a border wall with Mexico? Why do many Americans seem so unwilling to acknowledge the injustices that ethnic and racial minorities experience in the United States? Why do a sizeable proportion of Americans continue to oppose women’s equality in the workplace and in the home?

To answer these questions, Taking America Back for God points to the phenomenon of “Christian nationalism,” the belief that the United States is-and should be-a Christian nation. Christian ideals and symbols have long played an important role in American public life, but Christian nationalism is about far more than whether the phrase “under God” belongs in the pledge of allegiance. At its heart, Christian nationalism demands that we must preserve a particular kind of social order, an order in which everyone–Christians and non-Christians, native-born and immigrants, whites and minorities, men and women recognizes their “proper” place in society. The first comprehensive empirical analysis of Christian nationalism in the United States, Taking America Back for God, illustrates the influence of Christian nationalism on today’s most contentious social and political issues.

Please also see: What Is Christian Nationalism?, by PAUL D. MILLER | FEBRUARY 3, 2021. We read in it:

Can Christians be politically engaged without being Christian nationalists?

Yes. American Christians in the past were exemplary in helping establish the American experiment, and many American Christians worked to end slavery and segregation and other evils. They did so because they believed Christianity required them to work for justice. But they worked to advance Christian principles, not Christian power or Christian culture, which is the key distinction between normal Christian political engagement and Christian nationalism. Normal Christian political engagement is humble, loving, and sacrificial; it rejects the idea that Christians are entitled to primacy of place in the public square or that Christians have a presumptive right to continue their historical predominance in American culture. Today, Christians should seek to love their neighbors by pursuing justice in the public square, including by working against abortion, promoting religious liberty, fostering racial justice, protecting the rule of law, and honoring constitutional processes. That agenda is different from promoting Christian culture, Western heritage, or Anglo-Protestant values.

I like this in another article, , America dismantled slavery and defeated Nazism; we must now conquer White Christian Nationalism.:

I am hoping for the day when Tucker Carlson realizes that it’s ok for America to replace White Christian Nationalism with a new type of culture that enhances everyone’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness — be they white or black, Christian or Muslim, and capitalist or democratic socialist.

A hearty amen!

Please see as well, June 12, 2022: ‘Shoot them in the back of the head’: Evangelical preachers ratchet up anti-LGBTQ hate rhetoric. We read:

Evangelical preachers have begun transforming the recent mania associating the LGBTQ community with pedophilia into demands for genocide. “Every single homosexual in our country … should be lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head!” insisted one recently. “Put them to death. Put all queers to death. They die,” proclaimed another, adding: “When they die, that stops the pedophilia. It’s a very, very simple process.”

The eliminationist rhetoric based on the false pedophilia link being whipped up against the LGBTQ community—particularly heading into June with its multitude of Pride events around the nation—has already fomented ugly anti-LGBTQ protests by white nationalists outside Pride gatherings and threats by far-right “Patriot bikers” to bring guns to others. Among some evangelical Christians, this has served as a green light to embrace a hateful interpretation of biblical scripture—one originally promulgated by the white-supremacist Christian Identity movement—to demand they be put to death.

Please see the video below. Shocking (though tragically not really, since so common) and revolting–and deadly!:

One of the Comments in response was this:
unclejamo94553unclejamo94553

3 days ago

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.–I John 4:20

The following verse reads starkly:

21And we have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must love his brother as well.

A hearty amen!

In the same chapter–one that rings the changes on love of God/love of neighbour–we read:

6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.

7Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

A little later:

16And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment; for in this world we are just like Him.

Another hearty amen!

One can add the following exchange with those who resisted Jesus’ message in his day, but applicable ever since to those of similar ilk–to those in the video.1:

44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies. 45But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me!

46Which of you can prove Me guilty of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”–John 8

For:

8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.–I John 4:8

A final hearty amen!

excerpts:

They are not pro-life so much as pro-control. We know this because the Americans who hold the strongest antiabortion stances are not consistently “pro-life.”

White Christian nationalism can be messy to define, but it’s critical to recognize its three animating impulses: freedom, order and violence — the ideology’s holy trinity. The freedom belongs only to Americans these nationalists see as like them (White men). The order is to be imposed on all those they don’t (everyone else). And righteous violence is to be deployed as necessary to achieve this twisted vision.

Both the racist massacre in Buffalo last weekend and the antiabortion legislation spreading rapidly through the states in anticipation of the overturning of Roe v. Wade next month are linked to white Christian nationalism, despite a pair of glaring paradoxes: The suspect in the Buffalo shooting doesn’t claim to be Christian in a religious sense, and many “pro-life” Christians are pro-death-penalty, pro-guns and pro-police brutality.

Not content with this diminished status, some are no longer content with majority rule, either. They want rule by “we, the people,” which they understand to mean “our kind of people.”

It makes sense in context. The ideology’s adherents are committed to instituting an ethno-culture that represents a shrinking minority — a traditionalist Christian social order in which the freedoms of White Christians are privileged. Theirs is a world where race, religion and national belonging have become virtually inseparable and are not necessarily tied to spirituality. And the spread of this kind of thinking is rapid and startling.

Over the last year or so, White Christian nationalism has become intertwined with the “great replacement” theory, which holds that a corrupt elite made up of Jews and Democrats is carrying out a plot to replace “real” Americans by engineering mass immigration from the Third World. Since 2015, that theory has captured the fringes and some in the mainstream on the right, from angry young men bearing tiki torches in Charlottesville; to pundits like Ann Coulter, Charlie Kirk, Matt Walsh and Tucker Carlson; to at least a half-dozen prominent Republican candidates and lawmakers, including Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.), Reps. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Scott Perry (Pa.), Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, and J.D. Vance, Ohio’s GOP nominee for the Senate.

That “American” implies “Christian” is not an uncommon belief, especially if you’re a White American. In a nationally representative survey we fielded in March, we found that 28 percent of all Whites and half of conservative Whites affirm that “being a Christian is very important to being truly American.” For many White Americans, Christianity is more of an ethnic culture and identity than a set of spiritual beliefs. It means “White people like us.”

In The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy, our new book on white Christian nationalism, which we have both been studying for some time, we show that the “holy trinity” embodied in it is anchored in a mythological version of American history that goes something like this: America was founded as a Christian nation; the founders were traditional Christians; the founding documents are biblically based; God has therefore bestowed immense wealth and power on America and given it a mission to spread freedom and religion around the world; but that mission and those blessings are now threatened by the presence of non-Whites, non-Christians and non-native-born people on American soil. Today this story is propagated by a veritable Christian-nationalist industry that includes radio stations, video series, scores of books and entire organizations dedicated to telling White conservative Christians that the nation is their birthright.

When we asked a nationally representative sample of White Americans about their political views on issues including abortion, the death penalty, gun control and law enforcement, here’s what we found: Among the White Americans who believe that abortion should be outlawed, more than half think we don’t use the death penalty often enough, 4 out of 5 see “good guys with guns” as the best solution to gun violence, and nearly half support police enforcing order by “any means necessary.” By comparison, among Whites who think abortion should be kept legal, only 17 percent think we should use the death penalty more, 1 in 4 think “good guys with guns” stop bad guys with guns, and less than a quarter support carte blanche for law enforcement.

The ideology’s adherents are committed to instituting an ethno-culture that represents a shrinking minority — a traditionalist Christian social order in which the freedoms of White Christians are privileged.

It’s important to note that white Christian nationalism is not the same as conservative White evangelicalism. Some evangelicals reject the ideology, and many non-evangelicals and even some non-Christians embrace it. In our book we show that about 20 percent of Americans who believe that the federal government should declare the nation Christian don’t even identify as Christian — a view that aligns with the Buffalo suspect’s view of Christianity.

In 1980, Paul Weyrich, a co-founder of the Moral Majority, said the quiet part out loud: “I don’t want everybody to vote.”

When Roe was originally decided in 1973, 85 percent of Americans were White and more than 85 percent were Christian. A half-century later, conservative White Christians are just another minority group, albeit an extremely powerful and well-organized one. Not content with this diminished status, some are no longer content with majority rule, either. They want rule by “we, the people,” which they understand to mean “our kind of people.”

The Supreme Court itself is now an instrument of minority rule by White Christians. Consider: Of the five justices who reportedly voted to strike down Roe, four were nominated by presidents who lost the popular vote, and five of the six conservative justices were confirmed by senators representing a popular minority. The new conservative majority on the court represents a shrinking minority of conservative White Christian Americans. It is a bulwark against the popular will and, increasingly, a battering ram against settled law.

It’s important to note that white Christian nationalism is not the same as conservative White evangelicalism.

If the goal is control, then the last thing you want is full democratic participation. Rather, you want to raise the bar so that only the “worthy” can have a say. There is nothing new about this. In 1980, Paul Weyrich, a co-founder of the Moral Majority, said the quiet part out loud: “I don’t want everybody to vote.” White Christian nationalism is powerfully related to belief in Trump’s “big lie” about a stolen election, and today, some adherents of white Christian nationalism favor insurrections and bullets over elections and ballots.

Prominent white Christian nationalists often talk explicitly about the “great replacement” theory, making clear that religious and cultural transformation is their main concern. Charlie Kirk, former director of the Falkirk Center at Liberty University and a prominent Christian speaker, accused President Biden of letting Afghanistan “fall apart” because he “wants a couple hundred thousand more Ilhan Omars to come into America to change the body politic.” Rep. Omar (D-Minn.) is not from Afghanistan. But she is a Muslim. And for Kirk, as for the shooter, that means she can’t ever be truly American.

Please click on: White Christian Nationalism

Samuel L. Perry is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma. He is co-author of “Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States” and, most recently, “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.” Twitter

Philip S. Gorski is a professor of sociology at Yale University. He is the author of “American Covenant: A History of Civil Religion from the Puritans to the Present” and co-author of “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.” Twitter

Footnotes
  1. Though tragically, this passage was also falsely used to justify pogroms in the West, and generally despicable hatred towards Jewish people–in other words murderous prevarication towards the Jews, to this day, the very antithesis of I John 4.[]

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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