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Christian nationalism

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Christian nationalism is a type of religious nationalism that is affiliated with Christianity. It primarily focuses on the internal politics of society, such as legislating civil and criminal laws that reflect their view of Christianity and the role of religion/s in political and social life.[1]



Christian nationalism seeks to establish a particular exclusivist version of Christianity as the dominant moral and cultural order.[2] Christian nationalism overlaps with but is distinct from theonomy, with it being more populist in character.[3]: xxi  In countries with a state church, Christian nationalists seek to preserve the status of a Christian state by holding an antidisestablishmentarian position to perpetuate the Church in national politics.[4][5]

By country




In Brazil, Christian nationalism, a result of a Catholic-evangelical coalition, has a goal of curbing the influence of "moral relativism, social liberalism, alleged neo-Marxism in its various forms, and LBGTQ rights."[6]



The COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise in Christian nationalist activity with many groups using anti-lockdown sentiments to expand their reach to more people.[7] The group Liberty Coalition Canada has garnered support from many elected politicians across Canada.[8] In their founding documents they argue that "it is only in Christianized nations that religious freedom has ever flourished."[9] Their rallies have attracted the support of Alex Jones and Canada First, a spin-off of Nick Fuentes' group America First.[10] Many of Liberty Coalition Canada's leaders are pastors who have racked up millions in potential fines for violating COVID protocols and in many cases express ultra-conservative views.[11]



The far-right and pro-Russian Power Belongs to the People (VKK) has been described as Christian nationalist by Helsingin Sanomat.[12] The party's parliamentary candidate[13] Johan Bäckman and editor-in-chief of pro-VKK organ MV-media Janus Putkonen have recruited combatants for the Russian side in Ukraine, who have then after gone to the Russian Imperial Movement's training camps in St. Petersburg and become fighters in the Russo-Ukrainian War.[14][12][15][16][17][18] Sanan- ja uskonnonvapaus ry (Freedom of Speech and Religion Association) associated with MP Päivi Räsänen of Christian Democrats has also supported openly fascist candidates of Blue-and-Black Movement that seek to ban the LGBT movement and "non-native religions". The association also supports aforementioned VKK.[19] The Blue-and-Black movement itself is also inspired by the Christian fascist Patriotic People's Movement.[20]



In Ghana, Christian nationalists seek to uphold what they see as "traditional markers of Ghanaian identity including, Christianity, social conservatism, and antagonism to 'progressive' 'Western' ideas, such as LGBTQ+ equality."[21]



The Kingdom of Hungary under the leadership of Miklós Horthy is often seen by many historians as Christian nationalist in nature. Historian István Deák described the Horthy regime in the following way:

Between 1919 and 1944 Hungary was a rightist country. Forged out of a counter-revolutionary heritage, its governments advocated a "nationalist Christian" policy; they extolled heroism, faith, and unity; they despised the French Revolution, and they spurned the liberal and socialist ideologies of the 19th century. The governments saw Hungary as a bulwark against bolshevism and bolshevism's instruments: socialism, cosmopolitanism, and Freemasonry. They perpetrated the rule of a small clique of aristocrats, civil servants, and army officers, and surrounded with adulation the head of the state, the counterrevolutionary Admiral Horthy.[22]

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has often advocated for Christian nationalism, both within Hungary and as a kind of international movement including Other European and American Christian nationalists.[23]



President of Russia Vladimir Putin has been described as a global leader of the Christian nationalist and Christian right movements.[24] As President, Putin has increased the power of the Russian Orthodox Church and proclaimed his staunch belief in Eastern Orthodoxy,[25] as well as maintaining close contacts with Patriarchs of Moscow and all Rus' Alexy II and Kirill.

The Russian Imperial Movement is a prominent neo-Nazi Christian nationalist group that trains militants all over Europe and has recruited thousands of fighters for its paramilitary group, the Imperial Legion, which is participating in the war in Ukraine. The group also works with the Atomwaffen Division in order to network with and recruit extremists from the United States.[26][27]



In Scotland UK, the Scottish Family Party has been described as Christian nationalist. The party was formed as a push back movement, based on a rejection of LGBT+ topics being taught in schools, with the political party claiming it to be an overly sexualized topic and ideology. They believe it to be an attack on traditional Christian family values, promoted by the Scottish National Party.

South Africa


The future leader of the National Party and Apartheid Prime Minister of South Africa, BJ Vorster in 1942 declared: "We stand for Christian Nationalism which is an ally of National Socialism. You can call this anti-democratic principle dictatorship if you wish. In Italy, it is called Fascism; in Germany, National Socialism and in South Africa, Christian Nationalism."[28]

While the National Party was primarily concerned about the nationalist interest of Afrikaners, there was a strong adherence to Calvinist interpretations of Christianity as the bedrock of the state. Moreover, by advancing ideas of Christian Nationalism, the National Party could incorporate other "nations" in their programme of racial hierarchies and segregation.[29] The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa provided much of the theological[30] and moral justification for Apartheid and the basis for racial hierarchy.[31]

United States


American ideology


Christian nationalism seeks to establish a particular exclusivist version of Christianity as the dominant moral and cultural order.[2] Christian nationalism advocates "a fusion of identitarian Christian identity and cultural conservatism with American civic belonging."[1]: 3–4  It has been noted to bear overlap with Christian fundamentalism, white supremacy,[32] the Seven Mountain Mandate movement, and dominionism.[1]: 5  Christian nationalism features support for authoritarian and boundary-enforcing behaviors coupled with a libertarian, small-government ideology within a neoliberal political economy.[1]: 3–4  Christian nationalism also overlaps with but is distinct from theonomy, with it being more populist in character. Theocratic Christians seek to have the Bible inform national laws and have religious leaders in positions of government; while in America, Christian nationalists view the country's founding documents as "divinely inspired" and supernaturally revealed to Christian men to preference Christianity, and are willing to elect impious heads of state if they support right-wing causes.[3]: xxi 

Christian nationalism supports the presence of Christian symbols in the public square, and state patronage for the practice and display of religion, such as Christmas as a national holiday, school prayer, the exhibition of nativity scenes during Christmastide, and the Christian Cross on Good Friday.[33][3]: 7–10  Christian nationalism draws political support from the broader Christian right, but not exclusively, given the broad support for observing Christmas as a national holiday in many countries.[34]

Christian nationalism has been linked to prejudice towards minority groups.[3]: 4  Christian nationalism has been loosely defined as a belief that "celebrate[s] and privilege[s] the sacred history, liberty, and rightful rule of white conservatives."[35]: 770  Christian nationalism prioritizes an ethno-cultural, ethno-religious, and ethno-nationalist framing around fear of "the other", those being immigrants, racial, and sexual minorities. Studies have associated Christian nationalism with xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, political tolerance of racists, opposition to interracial families, support for gun rights, pronatalism, and restricting the civil rights of those who fail to conform to traditional ideals of whiteness, citizenship, and Protestantism.[36]: 6  The Christian nationalist belief system includes elements of patriarchy, white supremacy, nativism, and heteronormativity.[36]: 7  It has been associated with a "conquest narrative", premillennial apocalypticism, and of frequent "rhetoric of blood, specifically, of blood sacrifice to an angry God."[36]: 16 

American Christian nationalism is based on a worldview that America is superior to other countries, and that such superiority is divinely established. It posits that only Christians are "true Americans." Christian nationalism also bears overlap with the American militia movement. The 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff and the 1993 Waco siege served as a catalyst for the growth of militia activity among Christian nationalists.[32] Christian nationalists believe that the US is meant to be a Christian nation, and that it was founded as a Christian nation, and want to "take back" the US for God.[37][38]

Christian nationalists feel that their values and religion are threatened and marginalized, and fear their freedom to preach their moral values will be no longer dominant at best or outlawed at worst.[3]: 5  Experimental research found that support of Christian nationalism increased when Christian Americans were told of their demographic decline.[39] Studies have shown Christian nationalists to exhibit higher levels of anger, depression, anxiety, and emotional distress. It has been theorized that Christian nationalists fear that they are "not living up to" God's expectations, and "fear the wrath and punishment" of not creating the country desired by God.[36]: 19–20 

Attitudes towards science

Adherence to Christian nationalism has been associated with high levels of distrust of science, especially parts that are perceived as challenging biblical authority.[2] During the COVID-19 pandemic, Christian nationalists frequently opposed lockdowns, restrictions on social gatherings and mask wearing.[1]: 5  In a 2020 study, it was found that "even after accounting for sociodemographic, religious, and political characteristics", Christian nationalism was a "leading predictor" that individuals "prioritize the economy and deprioritize the vulnerable" due to a "pervasive ideology that blends Christian identity with conceptions of economic prosperity and individual liberty."[1]: 16 

Analysis of Christian nationalists in America found that "Christian nationalism is the strongest predictor that Americans fail to affirm factually correct answers." When asked about Christianity's place in American founding documents, policies, and court decisions, those that embraced Christian nationalism had more confident incorrect answers while those that rejected it had more confident correct answers. A 2021 research article theorized that like conservative Christians that incorrectly answer science questions that are "religiously contested", Christian nationalism inclines individuals to "affirm factually incorrect views about religion in American political history, likely through their exposure to certain disseminators of such misinformation, but also through their allegiance to a particular political-cultural narrative they wish to privilege."[40]

Support for political violence

Christian nationalism has been linked towards support for political violence. Such support is conditioned by support for conspiratorial information sources, white identity, perceived victimhood, and support for the QAnon movement. A 2021 survey of 1100 U.S. adults found that respondents who combined Christian nationalism with these factors exhibited increased support for political violence.[41]



The Christian Liberty Party and the American Redoubt movement—both organized and inspired by members of the Constitution Party—are early 21st century examples of political tendencies which are rooted in Christian nationalism, with the latter advocating a degree of separatism.[42][43] The New Columbia Movement is an organization in the United States that identifies as being aligned with Christian nationalism.[44][45] Another group is the New Apostolic Reformation, which includes Christian nationalist themes in its goal to bring about dominionism.[46]

In the 1980s and 1990s, the religious right in America featured religious traditionalists who advocated for religious liberty, racial equality, democratic values and the separation of church and state while also working to maintain white Protestant dominance. By the mid-90's and especially following the 9/11 attacks, religious traditionalists gave way to Christian nationalists who sought explicit state favor and the exclusion of national and racial minorities. Islamophobia soon spread to include Latinos, Asians, and other immigrants as threats to Christian democracy, and Christian nationalists embraced ethonationalist white nativism and racism. The ethno-nationalist developments saw a majority of white conservative Christians support the presidency of Donald Trump, the QAnon movement and the January 6 United States Capitol attack.[35]: 774–776 

Author Bradley Onishi, a vocal critic of Christian nationalism, has described this theologically-infused political ideology as a "national renewal project that envisions a pure American body that is heterosexual, white, native-born, that speaks English as a first language, and that is thoroughly patriarchal."[43] Commentators say that Christian-associated support for right-wing politicians and social policies, such as legislation which is related to immigration, gun control and poverty is best understood as Christian nationalism, rather than evangelicalism per se.[37][47] Some studies of white evangelicals show that, among people who self-identify as evangelical Christians, the more they attend church, the more they pray, and the more they read the Bible, the less support they have for nationalist (though not socially conservative) policies.[47] Non-nationalistic evangelicals ideologically agree with Christian nationalists in areas such as gender roles, and sexuality.[47]

A study which was conducted in May 2022 showed that the strongest base of support for Christian nationalism comes from Republicans who identify as Evangelical or born again Christians.[48][49] Of this demographic group, 78% are in favor of formally declaring that the United States should be a Christian nation, versus only 48% of Republicans overall. Age is also a factor, with over 70% of Republicans from the Baby Boomer and Silent Generations supporting the United States officially becoming a Christian nation. According to Politico, the polling also found that sentiments of white grievance are highly correlated with Christian nationalism: "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% of all Americans who say white people have been discriminated against ... favor declaring the U.S. a Christian nation, compared to 38% of all Americans."[48][50]

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has referred to herself as a Christian nationalist. Fellow congresswoman Lauren Boebert also expressed support for Christian nationalism.[51] Politician Doug Mastriano is a prominent figure in the fundamentalist Christian nationalist movement, and has called the separation of church and state a myth.[52][53]

Andrew Torba, the CEO of the alt-tech platform Gab, supported Mastriano's failed 2022 bid for office,[54] in order to build a grass-roots Christian nationalist political movement to help "take back" government power for "the glory of God"; he has argued that "unapologetic Christian Nationalism is what will save the United States of America".[55][56] Torba is also a proponent of the great replacement conspiracy theory, and he has said that "The best way to stop White genocide and White replacement, both of which are demonstrably and undeniably happening, is to get married to a White woman and have a lot of White babies".[55] White nationalist Nick Fuentes has also expressed support for Christian nationalism.[57][58]

Author Katherine Stewart has called the combined ideology and political movement of Christian nationalism "an organized quest for power" and she says that Florida governor Ron DeSantis has identified with and promoted this system of values in order to gain votes in his bid for political advancement.[59] According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis has also promoted a civics course for educators, which emphasized the belief that "the nation's founders did not desire a strict separation of state and church"; the teacher training program also "pushed a judicial theory, favored by legal conservatives like DeSantis, that requires people to interpret the Constitution as the framers intended it, not as a living, evolving document".[60][61][62][49]

Some Christian nationalists also engage in spiritual warfare and militarized forms of prayers in order to defend and advance their beliefs and political agenda.[63] According to American Studies professor S. Jonathon O'Donnell: "A key idea in spiritual warfare is that demons don't only attack people, as in depictions of demonic possession, but also take control of places and institutions, such as journalism, academia, and both municipal and federal bureaucracies. By doing so, demons are framed as advancing social projects that spiritual warriors see as opposing God's plans. These include advances in reproductive and LGBTQ rights and tolerance for non-Christian religions (especially Islam)."[64]

January 6 US Capitol attack and election certification


In the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the term "Christian nationalism" has become synonymous with white Christian identity politics, a belief system that asserts itself as an integral part of American identity overall.[55][65] The New York Times notes that historically, "Christian nationalism in America has ... encompassed extremist ideologies".[55][66] Critics have argued that Christian nationalism promotes racist tendencies, male violence, anti-democratic sentiment, and revisionist history.[67][68] Christian nationalism in the United States is also linked to political opposition to gun control laws and strong cultural support for interpretations of the Second Amendment that protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.[69]

Political analyst Jared Yates Sexton has said: "Republicans recognize that QAnon and Christian nationalism are invaluable tools" and that these belief systems "legitimize antidemocratic actions, political violence, and widespread oppression", which he calls an "incredible threat" that extends beyond Trumpism.[70]

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) released a 66-page report on February 9, 2022, titled "Christian Nationalism and the January 6, 2021 Insurrection."[71] It chronicled the use of Christian imagery and language by protestors on January 6, detailed the "various nonprofit groups, lawmakers and clergy who worked together to adorn Jan. 6 and Donald Trump's effort to overturn his electoral loss with theological fervor," and discussed the important role that race had to play.[72] The Congressional Freethought Caucus hosted a virtual briefing of the report on March 17, 2022, called "God is On Our Side: White Christian Nationalism and the Capitol Insurrection." Speakers included Amanda Tyler, Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty; Dr. Samuel L. Perry, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Oklahoma; Dr. Jemar Tisby, speaker, historian, and author of The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church's Complicity in Racism; and Andrew Seidel, Vice President of Strategic Communications at Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. On March 18, 2022, Seidel delivered written testimony to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, and opened by quoting a statement he originally made on September 19, 2019, at the Religion News Association conference in Las Vegas: "Christian Nationalism is the biggest threat to America today. An existential threat to a government of the people, for the people, and by the people."[73]

The Washington Post reported that God & Country, a documentary film produced by Rob Reiner, was released in early 2024 to "wake up churchgoing American Christians" to the "threat of anti-democratic religious extremism in the United States".[74]

Criticisms of significance


Responding to media analysis about the effects of Trumpism and Christian nationalism following the 2020 presidential election, Professor Daniel Strand, writing for The American Conservative, said that there was a "superficially Christian presence at the January 6 protest" and he criticized claims that Christian nationalism played a central role in the attack on the Capitol. He cited a University of Chicago study which found that "those arrested on January 6 were motivated by the belief that the election was stolen and [influenced by] what they call 'the great replacement' " theory. Strand says the study failed to mention "any explicit religious motivation, let alone theological beliefs about America being a Christian nation".[75][76]

See also



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Further reading