Salvo 02.27.2024 4 minutes

Christian Nationalism Isn’t Going Away

Close-up on a twenty-dollar bill and a magnifying glass

More citizens are rejecting the woke gods in favor of the God of old America.

In a recent MSNBC segment, Politico reporter Heidi Przybyla claimed that Christian nationalists promote a democracy-crushing, Constitution-shredding idea: that our rights come from God.

This would be news to Jefferson, Franklin, and the rest of the boys. Cue the guy eating uncooked ramen who went viral a few years ago, who would now be pointing to the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. What happened to all people being “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”?

Przybyla’s remark came after an earlier Politico report she co-authored highlighting the supposed threat of Christian nationalism that a second Trump administration would impose on the nation. Led by Russ Vought, Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and administration alum William Wolfe, self-described Christian nationalists in Trump’s orbit are saying that America was founded as a Christian nation—a sentiment regularly voiced throughout American history by statesmen and lesser mortals of all political stripes.

In the report, Przybyla introduces readers to the evil specters that would haunt a Christian nationalist regime: “increasing surveillance of abortion and maternal mortality reporting in the states, compelling the Food and Drug Administration to revoke approval of ‘chemical abortion drugs’ and protecting ‘religious and moral’ objections for employers who decline contraception coverage for employees.” Sounds like the standard conservative agenda to me.

Tired of getting ratioed into oblivion for her MSNBC debacle, Przybyla claimed that her critics misconstrued her words. Christian nationalists are a threat, she maintains, because they use “so-called natural law” for a “man-made policy agenda.” Then, she cites Martin Luther King Jr.’s good use of natural law, distinguishing it from the CNers bad use of it. So does that mean that natural law is real after all, but only acceptable for those who agree with her? Przybyla then lauds Christians “who leave these God-given rights at our inherent right to ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’—vs banning abortion, contraception etc.’” So natural law should only be understood to have a general teaching but not imply any specific policies? What a mess.

If you weren’t already aware of the invincible ignorance of our elite class, you should be now.

The problem is, Przybyla is far from the only one to make a fool of herself in the Christian nationalist discourse. The recent Rob Reiner-produced documentary God & Country, along with a cottage industry of books excoriating Christian nationalists, are also major contributors to the cause.

Beneath the ignorance, however, is malevolence. Especially in recent years, there’s been a collective push by the regime and its flunkies to make the opposition tap out. Dissent from their agenda is not to be tolerated.

God is no longer the source of our natural rights—instead, a bureaucratic, managerial system doles out rights to groups at the managers’ discretion. This is part of the Left’s overarching project to transcend the bounds of humanity through technology overseen by a woke clerisy. They want to make themselves gods, replacing the God of the Bible.

Fortunately, some Americans seem to be awaking to these dangers. Refusing to submit to the woke gods, they are looking to the God of old America. They feel the pull of a past moral order, an America that was defined by a Protestant form of Christianity on which our shared public life rested. They want their leaders once again to point to Christianity as the saving faith. As General George Washington told the people of the Delaware Nation, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life and above all—the religion of Jesus Christ.”

The push to transfuse Christianity back into our nation’s bloodstream is nothing new. Consider, for example, what Micah Meadowcroft recently pointed out: the mid-twentieth century elevation of Christianity into the national consciousness. It was not only helpful in the fight against atheistic communism but was also a “recognition that the West and America’s Christian inheritance had been insufficiently enshrined in public life.” Eisenhower and other leaders of that time “saw that what the nation’s founders had taken for granted now needed to be articulated.” References to God on our money and in the Pledge of Allegiance were aimed at renewing the Christian character that was an integral part of American life from the first colonial settlements onward.

Sensing the political Right’s failure to offer a proper treatment for the maladies currently affecting America—the best rhetorician making logical appeals to lofty principles is not the answer—American citizens are looking for guidance on how to pass on the blessings of liberty to their children in a world that confuses liberty with license.

Christian nationalism, therefore, is simply the latest attempt by a shrinking majority to recover an America that once was: a country that protects and promotes things worthy of honor and praise.

The course of actions the regime is currently undertaking against millions of citizens who are fed up with the withering away of old America will only widen the fractures in our nation. More browbeating by elites and tut-tutting by evangelical “conservatives” will predictably backfire, sending us further into a spiral of rage and enmity.

These attempts will ring hollow as more Americans weigh the alleged “extremism” of Christian nationalism against the so-called normalcy of the past few decades: state power turned on Christians and conservatives, a corrupt and venal political class operating without fear of reprisal, people and drugs streaming into the country unchecked, and stagnating wages as everything gets more expensive.

Christian nationalism isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it will be here long after Trump exits the national political stage. Until a solution to the problem of the two Americas is found—until America is refounded either on the woke gods or the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—regime-level battles will keep occurring—and with increasing intensity.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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