To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Observercast

The Global Movement Of Christian Nationalism

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Although nationalistic by definition, Christian nationalism is a global movement in which nationalist groups in Europe, North America, and Latin America are networking together across national borders to further their shared aims of stopping the immigration of persons of color, especially persons who are not Christian, enforcing a right-wing version of Christianity as the normative religion of the state, criminalizing reproductive choice, and working against the rights of persons who are LGBTQ2S+.

Globally, Christian nationalists often promote their shared aims using the language of God, family, and country and other similar themes – language that may seem benign until one looks closely at the agenda of Christian nationalism related to each theme.

God: When Christian nationalists emphasize God as part of their political platform, they are typically promoting a right-wing version of Christianity as normative for the country as a whole. Christian nationalists often favor government established forms of Christian religious expression in schools and in other aspects of public and political life, and they express discrimination against non-Christian orientations to religion. In their attacks against what they call “globalist” economic and political systems, Christian nationalists are apt to use language and tropes with significantly anti-Jewish undertones. Christian nationalists claim to protect religious freedom, but in reality they want to protect the hegemony of Christianity over other religions in the country.

Family: Christian nationalists hold the view that heterosexual orientation is normative, and they only affirm families with a heterosexual mother and father. For the most part, Christian nationalists affirm patriarchal family structures. They support restrictions on same gender marriage and relationships, restrictions on diverse expressions of gender identity, discrimination against same gender parents, and restrictions on reproductive choice and reproductive health care.

Country: Christian nationalists around the world share an antipathy towards immigrants, especially immigrants who are persons of color, and most especially immigrants who are both persons of color and non-Christians. Christian nationalists are quick to scapegoat immigrants who are persons of color and blame them for economic challenges and the fraying of the social and cultural fabric of the nation. In spite of evidence to the contrary, Christian nationalists portray immigrants who are persons of color as job stealers and violent criminals.

In this way, the far right has taken the themes of God, family, and country and weaponized them against non-Christians, persons who are LGBTQ2S+, and immigrants. Conservative white Christians, especially those with lower levels of education who are experiencing economic challenges, are particularly prone to being persuaded by Christian nationalist propaganda.

The Christian nationalists protest that there is nothing sinister or problematic about protecting God, family, and country; but for non-Christians, persons who are LGBTQ2S+, and immigrants who are persons of color, the Christian nationalist agenda looks a lot like fascism cloaked in Christian language and symbols.

Mark Y. A. Davies
Mark Y. A. Davies
Mark Y.A. Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. Click for more of his essays. OneWorldHouse.net