This summer, I started the Stop Christian Nationalism web site and podcast because it became crystal clear with a series of Christian Nationalist Supreme Court rulings that a fascist Christian political movement had gained enough power to make a serious effort to obtain its eventual goal: The replacement of American democracy with a Christian dictatorship.
Of course, most of us non-Christians have known about the totalitarian leanings of Christian politics for a long time. Still, we've generally had some sense that, although American government, all the way from local boards up to the national level, is slanted in favor of Christianity and denies many legal protections to non-Christian Americans, we would be protected from the worst kinds of Christian government that the world has seen in the past: The persecution by Christian Roman emperors against non-Christians, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Christian colonialism, the Salem witch trials, wars of Christian against Christian for religious supremacy... you know the score.
Still, when Donald Trump began brazenly shouting about how much his government was going to do to promote Christianity and put non-Christian Americans down, it was clear that we were in for something new, a more ugly era of religious discrimination by Christians in power. Then, with January 6, our political language was sharpened with a new focus and new language. We identified the problem as Christian Nationalism, an openly fascist movement of Christian power that declared its intention to overthrow American democracy and replace it with a Christian dictatorship.
With the 2022 midterm elections, Christian Nationalism has become an even more important issue... for those of us who are paying attention. Congressional and gubernatorial candidates are promising to force local, state, and federal government to comply with unforgiving biblical laws.
Results of a Pew Research Center survey released this week present a stark picture, though: 79 percent of American Christians embrace Christian Nationalism ideology, saying that they want American law to comply with the Christian bible to some extent.
At the same time that we see that the majority of American Christians are Christian Nationalists, the same survey indicates that 54 percent of Americans haven't even heard of Christian Nationalism.
It can sometimes seem that we have repeated our warnings about Christian Nationalism enough. We've heard about it many times, because we're paying attention to the dangers of Christian political extremism. This perception on our end, as non-religious activists, doesn't match the general cultural reality.
The Pew survey indicates that we're still not doing enough to raise awareness about the danger of Christian Nationalism. Most Americans still don't even know what Christian Nationalism IS, much less understand why it's such a danger to American democracy.
Most Americans pay more attention to football games than they watch politics. Most Americans grasp more about the plot twists of the latest Game of Thrones than they do about American history or the Constitution.
It's disappointing to see how much more work we have to do to spread the word about the Christian Nationalist menace. But then, as non-religious Americans, we know the importance of working with the reality indicated by available evidence. We might like to believe that our voices have been heard, and that Americans care about the survival of democracy in the United States, but the fact is that we haven't yet done enough to effectively communicate about Christian Nationalism. Indifference to constitutional rights and American democracy seems to be the rule more than the exception.
We have to acknowledge this bad news. On the other hand, we know that we have the power to impact our reality through our human efforts.
We understand what's at stake. Let's knuckle down and get to work!