Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sunday Reading

Charlie Pierce on the rise of Christian Nationalism:

The mainstream embrace of explicit Christian nationalism is a truly terrible idea, and it’s spreading its poison all over the country. From Politico:

Prominent Republican politicians have made the themes critical to their message to voters in the run up to the 2022 midterm elections. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, has argued that America is a Christian nation and that the separation of church and state is a “myth.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia hard-liner, declared: “We need to be the party of nationalism and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian Nationalists.” Amid a backlash, she doubled down and announced she would start selling “Christian Nationalist” shirts. Now Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to be flirting with Christian nationalist rhetoric, as well[…]Our new University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll suggests that declaring the United States a Christian nation is a message that could be broadly embraced by Republicans in the midterms and 2024 presidential race. But our findings also see limits to its appeal — and over the long-term, Christian nationalism could be a political loser.

“Could be,” you say? I am not reassured. In the long term—to paraphrase John Maynard Keynes—we’re all dead. If it’s just the same to everybody else, I’d just as soon not live under the reign of heretics—because that’s what these people are. You can scour the gospels from Matthew to Revelations and you will not find anything there that encourages nationalism, Christian or otherwise.

Not surprisingly, much of the support for declaring the U.S. a Christian nation comes from Republicans who identify themselves as Evangelical or born-again Christians: Seventy-eight percent of this group support the move compared to 48 percent of other Republicans. Among Democrats, a slight majority of those identifying themselves as Evangelical or born-again Christians also backed such a declaration (52 percent), compared to just 8 percent of other Democrats.

To be fair, the poll also shows overwhelming majority support for the notion declaring the country a Christian nation would be unconstitutional. But numbers do not delineate the poison, which is bound molecularly to an even more deadly strain:

Our polling found that white grievance is highly correlated with support for a Christian nation. White respondents who say that members of their race have faced more discrimination than others are most likely to embrace a Christian America. Roughly 59 percent of all Americans who say white people have been discriminated against a lot more in the past five years favor declaring the U.S. a Christian nation, compared to 38 percent of all Americans. White Republicans who said white people have been more discriminated against also favored a Christian nation (65 percent) by a slightly larger percentage than all Republicans (63 percent)[…]Indeed, as our polling shows, a non-trivial number of Americans want to see the U.S. become a Christian nation—even if they acknowledge that the Constitution prohibits such a designation. Prominent Republican politicians have seized on this sentiment and are openly campaigning on a message of Christian nationalism.

It’s too late to get these mooks to stop juggling hand grenades. They’re going to do it until something blows up, and all we can do is hope to avoid the shrapnel.

Doonesbury — Generally speaking.


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