Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants U.S. to ’embrace’ Christian nationalism, but she’s hardly aloneJuly 23, 2022
Enter Georgia Rep. Marge Greene, the universal answer to the eternal philosophical question “Oh, Jesus Pancake-Flippin’ Christ, what the fuck is this now?”
GREENE: “I’m a Christian, I have no problem saying I’m a Christian nationalist. And I think that’s an identity that we need to embrace because those are the policies that serve every single American, regardless of how they vote.”
I’m sure Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. will be delighted to know Marjorie Taylor Greene is hard at work building a Christian utopia just for them, but that’s not really the point. We’re a secular republic built on Enlightenment ideas and values, and Christian nationalism represents a sick perversion of our Constitution and traditions. So it’s alarming the extent to which that label is being adopted these days—and not just by MTG.
In fact, Christian nationalism is behind much of the rot currently eroding the foundations of our democracy—and it’s pretty well out in the open now.
In a May 2021 story for TIME magazine, Andrew Whitehead, co-author of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, noted the movement’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, as well as its enduring and pernicious impact on our democratic traditions.
In order to understand what led to the deadly Capitol insurrection and the spate of proposed voting laws, we must account for the influence of Christian nationalism, a political theology that fuses American identity with an ultra-conservative strain of Christianity. But this Christianity is something more than the orthodox Christianity of ancient creeds; it is more of an ethnic Christian-ism. In its most extreme form it legitimizes the type of violence we saw on Jan. 6 and the recent flood of voting restrictions. Violence and legislation not in service of democracy, but instead for fundamentally anti-democratic goals.
In our book … we use several large, national surveys of Americans collected over the last decade to show that about 20 percent of Americans―those we call “Ambassadors”―strongly embrace Christian nationalism.
Hmm. Who ever said civics education wasn’t important?
As a political theology that co-opts Christian narratives and symbolism, Christian nationalism has its own version of the “elect,” those chosen by God. They are “people like us,” meaning conservative Christian, but also white, natural-born citizens. Moreover, in a prosperous nation, only “the elect” should control the political process while others must be closely scrutinized, discouraged, or even denied access. This ideology is fundamentally a threat to a pluralistic, democratic society.
In other words, Christian nationalism isn’t so much about Christianity—or traditional Christian values like faith, love, and charity—as it is about permanent white Christian minority rule. And if they have their way, the end of Roe will be just the start of this Technicolor shitshow.
So should we be alarmed that ersatz Christian patriots like Greene are now embracing this decidedly un-American and undemocratic political philosophy? The short answer: Hell yes.
They’ve pretty much telegraphed the fact that they want to rule over us (no doubt “benevolently”—at least at first) until the rapture whisks them away from this woebegone planet that keeps overheating for some reason, and they’re being more and more brazen about it.
In recent New York Times essay, Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, noted that Roe’s reversal is just the beginning of their campaign to remake the country in their own image:
The Supreme Court’s decision to rescind the reproductive rights that American women have enjoyed over the past half-century will not lead America’s homegrown religious authoritarians to retire from the culture wars and enjoy a sweet moment of triumph. On the contrary, movement leaders are already preparing for a new and more brutal phase of their assault on individual rights and democratic self-governance. Breaking American democracy isn’t an unintended side effect of Christian nationalism. It is the point of the project.
A good place to gauge the spirit and intentions of the movement that brought us the radical majority on the Supreme Court is the annual Road to Majority Policy Conference. At this year’s event, which took place last month in Nashville, three clear trends were in evidence. First, the rhetoric of violence among movement leaders appeared to have increased significantly from the already alarming levels I had observed in previous years. Second, the theology of dominionism — that is, the belief that “right-thinking” Christians have a biblically derived mandate to take control of all aspects of government and society — is now explicitly embraced. And third, the movement’s key strategists were giddy about the legal arsenal that the Supreme Court had laid at their feet as they anticipated the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Christian nationalist values—if not necessarily the term “Christian nationalism”—are being embraced more widely by Republican candidates than ever before. They’re also drawing support from voters who want to “return” America to something it’s never been: a de facto (or perhaps even official) Christian theocracy.
According to a recent survey by the [Public Religion Research Institute], white evangelical Christians were among the strongest supporters of the assertion that God intended America as a “promised land” for European Christians. Those who backed that idea were far more likely to agree that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence … to save our country.”
So think of Marjorie Taylor Greene as the canary in the coal mine—and then try to imagine a lot more members of Congress just like her. Because they’re coming, and their vision of America is something the Founding Fathers never imagined, never wanted and, in fact, went to great lengths to prevent.
If you want to do your part in preventing a future right-wing dystopia, there are steps you can take. Volunteer to send letters to voters, or contribute to Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. And most of all—remember to vote!
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