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54 Percent of Americans Are Unaware of Christian Nationalism

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!

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Comment was by Loren Miller on November 1, 2022 at 9:12am

Thanks a LOT, Clifford.  I'm not Christopher Hitchens or Dan Barker, but I try to do my bit.

Comment was by Clifford Cook on November 1, 2022 at 9:06am

I agree with you, Loren. What we're trying to do as we raise the alarm about Christian Nationalism is actually quite a wholesome, sincere, authentically American thing to do. 

I deeply respect the work you have been doing to defend American democracy from Christian fascism. Thanks for your steady and substantial effort.

Comment was by Loren Miller on November 1, 2022 at 8:37am

Christian Nationalism is something I have been aware of since long before Donald Trump came on the scene.  Then, too, I'm an atheist and an atheist-activist; I rather HAVE to know about such stuff if I'm going to be competent at my avocation.  I should mention, too: I wrote President Biden about this matter, not long after his inauguration.  Whether he was actually in receipt of my missive or not, I don't know, and yeah, that detachment of people in high places from those of us on the front lines upsets and worries me more than a little.

As for a majority of the rest of the country not being aware of Christian Nationalism, those same people are also not aware of a whole lot of other things.  A lot of them don't read, aren't horribly curious, and what news at least a segment of them get is from Fox News, OAN, Newsmax, and other agitprop engines, working for the Republican party.  These are people who are comfortably settled into their respective niches, enjoying the benefits of democracy while failing to recognize or service the responsibilities that go along with citizenship.  I've stated the following elsewhere, but it's worth repeating:

The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.
-- Thomas Jefferson

The obvious problem is that too many Americans have become lazy, to the point where they take those benefits for granted, and would likely be the first to scream bloody murder if they should be curtailed or revoked altogether.

This country of mine is in desperate need of a rediscovery on the part of its citizens of just WHAT the United States of America is supposed to be about ... because otherwise, those who want to erase democracy for the sake of their own lust for power are likely to succeed, and if they do, something very damned precious and important will have been lost.

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