Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. – Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

White Christian Nationalism in the United States – Session 2

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White Christian Nationalism in the United States – Session 1
White Christian Nationalism in the United States – August 18, 1 pm – 3:15pm

Session 1: White Christian Nationalism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow – August 18, 1 pm ET – 2:15 pm ET

Session 2
: Engaging White Christian Nationalism in Public Spaces – August 18, 2:30 pm ET – 3:45 pm ET

Participants: Anthea Butler; Caroline Mala Corbin; Kristin Kobes Du Mez; Samuel Perry

Moderator: Andrew Whitehead

Description: The Trump presidency, culminating in the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021, brought into sharp relief the importance of white Christian nationalism as an animating force in American civil society. Millions of Americans believe that the United States should be distinctively “Christian” in its public policies, sacred symbols, and national identity. As the insurrection made clear, the implications of such beliefs are very real.

This online mini-conference brings together the leading scholars, authors, journalists, policy experts, and public theologians in order to discuss white Christian nationalism from a variety of perspectives.

The first panel“White Christian Nationalism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”—will revolve around the study of white Christian nationalism from a cross-disciplinary perspective, including history, social science, and law.

The topic of our second panel will be “Engaging White Christian Nationalism in Public Spaces.” This panel will move beyond the study of white Christian nationalism to include journalists, clergy, policy experts, and public theologians to hear more about how they engage it in their various spheres of influence.





"Justice is a journey. We are responsible
to promote the next, right step."

 - Jemar Tisby



* * * * * * * *


SESSION 2 - SECOND PANEL

“Engaging White Christian Nationalism
in Public Spaces.”

Notes by R.E. Slater
August 18, 2021

Amanda Taylor - Moderator. Director of a Baptist organization for religious freedom for all, not simply white Christian nationalists (WCN). People of all faiths and none have the right to engage against religious white nationalists. That America is a melting pot for all races, etc.


What is White Christian Nationalism?

Denker - It conflates the God and Jesus of the Bible with America. To be a Christian is to be an American patriot thus reinforcing WCN.

Jenkins - The belief that America was founded and should remain as a Christian nation.

Tisby - An ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christian with American civic politics - an ethnocultural identity of race, faith, and nationality (cf. Perry, Whitehead's book). It looks like the American flag in the pulpit, Trump flags with the Cross, The bible held over Trump's head, etc.

WH - What good Christian people always have believed. That it is a cultural product for white people to hold onto power.

What Threats Do WCN Present?

WH - It is a direct threat to the soul and to the Christian faith. Nationalism has nothing to do with faith. It is an idol in one's life. Idols twists and turns one's faith away from God. Too, it excludes all people except white American Christians and refuses to expand American democracy to all. Seen in voter suppression and election subversion (overturning votes), and propagandized WCN lies by rightwing social media and news media.

Tisby - WCN is the greatest threat to the witness of the church in the United States. Not Critical Race Theory but WCN. It consolidates and holds on to power by any means necessary. It is a mortal threat to democracy. It is also a literal, physical threat in that it condons force and violence in preserving white power (sic, Jihad, Nazism, Taliban extremists). It aligns its self with acts of violence and terrorism. Especially to minorities it considers as a threat. It leads to the invisibility of the other. It removes the humanism of humans. It doesn't see a person but a threat to its power.

Jenkins - WCN threatens the very core and nature of Christianity itself. It is both a heresy and a cultic/sectarian terroristic threat. To pluralism, to democracy, to national unity embracing diversification of all. It is also being denied as a movement. It's vision is being ignored to our harm. So it is both an existential and physical threat to Christianity and American democracy.

Denker - A direct threat to the Gospel of Jesus. It is an idolatry. It is a search for worldly power and money. Isaiah 52 end - quoted by Jesus. All this goes against the vision of Jesus by WCN. Too, it presents a very real threat of violence and racism. It will participate in the harm and suffering, if not murder and death, of the unrecognized other.

How Has Christianity Changed Over the Years?

Jenkins - WCN has always had a presence in America's history. From its earliest days unto now and beyond. But for today's landscape WCN has consolidated around the rise of Trump. In Trump's Inaugural Speech he is speaking over WCN. It is very present danger.

Tisby - We are living in the modern day Civil Rights Movement (BLM). It is a very large movement bringing both symbolic and real-life changes. State flags, monuments, laws are being removed, amended, and adapted. Too, the opposition against racial advocates declares the civil rights movement is an active upsetting force to white power (aka, the Capitol insurrection). Even in the Homeland Threat Assessment are mentioned the racially and violently motivated white supremacy groups as part of WCN. MLK's dream speech says we must always respond to the fierce urgency now to support all our brothers and sisters of all colors and genders. John Lewis, Bob Moses (MS) have died and are the last of MLK's legacy. Who now will grasp the baton and continue this present desire for equality for all?

WH - This didn't just happen. There are forces heavily invested to maintain white power and privilege. We need a shared vision of how to lift from the bottom and to put away our white needs for the help and assistance of the other. 

Denker - We are in a war for the truth. Conspiracists, Qanons, Trumpites, and Supremacists are providing alternate versions of facts with fictional gaslighting charades each and every day. Working with a heavily based Trump-based blue collar community, especially in rural Minnesota, has presented a particular burden of responsibility to speak out to conservative Christians in the hope for dialogue and understanding. I feel today even a greater weight and more personal cynicism towards what my faith had played in its display against the Other. Its hate. And its desire to harm the Other for their own personal gain. Trump people are not good Americans. They have corrupted the faith of Jesus and its outreach to all people. That WCN has victimized communities, people groups, and unwanted Christians standing for Jesus and God's love. Trump signs are anathema against God indicating violence and Christian Jihad against America. We are to encourage fellow Christians to continue to speak up against racism and bigotry. To call it out and to dismantle it.

How Then Do We Work Together With One Another?

WH - Constructive Vision shows what a beloved community looks like, how it invests in others, how it lifts up the beautiful ways of Jesus through all cultures and not just one.

Tisby - We must march, resist, be non-violent activists, calling out inequalities, showing courage, willing to risk and lose honor given by white Christian friends and relatives if they will not respond. We need to create goodness, benevolence, sing, write, paint, dissent, etc. To tell a different story. A better story of solidarity with God and man. Effective change must happen on the micro level. If it doesn't than it cannot be effective.

What Would an Organize Response to WCN Look Like?

Tyler - Firstly, to name it. To stand up for everyone's rights.

WH - WCN is for a limited electorate. For lower taxes with smaller government, denial of climate science, lesser services for poorer people. As versus, what is God for? What is the bible for? What is Jesus for? Poor people. Justice. Love. A revolution of values is a revolution showing God's love.

Denker - A movement for biblical literacy. For complimentarism. For reclaiming the biblical text. For seeing the people of the bible not in white cultural terms. True Christianity breaks up, burns up, destroys idolatrous religion. Unloving religion. Unhealthy institutionalism.





Helpful References




* * * * * * * *


John Lewis was the last-surviving speaker from the historic 1963 March on Washington
for Jobs and Freedom | Image: REUTERS/Dustin Chambers




* * * * * * * *


SESSION 2 - TRANSCIPT

THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES WERE MISSED RE DEFINING WCN...
TOO, THE SPEAKERS HAVE NOT BEEN IDENTIFIED IN TRANSCRIPT.


Unknown 0:00
I'm really about confronting Christian nationalists that we have to understand it and understand its threats, and so you know I'm going to start off with Jonathan and kind of go in reverse order here, if you could all kind of share with us what you view to be some of the main threats of white Christian nationalism. These could be threats to society at large to Christianity to adherence of other religions to those who don't claim a religious tradition to religious freedom for all. or to your particular sphere of influence, and you know as you answer it also invite you if there's anything from the first panel that you'd really like to draw out or highlight as well invite you to do so. So Jonathan, if you want to lead us off and talking about what threats we should be watching out for for Christian nationalism.

Unknown 0:56
Well, I'm concerned about Christian nationalism, because I think it's a threat to the soul. And I was caught up in it myself, and came to understand that when you conflate this kind of ideology that's tied up with white supremacy American supremacy and an extreme political agenda at the moment. When you conflate that with faith, then you get into what the Bible calls idolatry right to turning an agenda that humans pursue into the thing that we actually honor and worship with our lives. And so, I am concerned about it as Christian and as a preacher, as a kind of idolatry that has twisted and turned the faith, for many people who are sincere believers. They're sincerely believing something that's not Christianity and the church has a responsibility to pastorelli walk people towards conversion in that situation, but I'm also concerned about it, you know, as a citizen of this country, and as a citizen of the world. I see. Religious nationalism, doesn't just affect Christianity there's religious nationalism all over the world. And it can use other religions too. And here I see it as a fundamental threat to democracy and to the kinds of goods that democracy can can give us. So I said, a bit earlier that I think the organizations that have created the culture behind this, it's important to know about those pay attention to them. I've been following them closely since I wrote revolution of values, and one of the things I know is that they have a very clear policy agenda for this year and it's voter suppression, and voter suppression and vote and I should say election subversion, not just getting people not to vote but overturning votes that they don't like, if this happened to be the majority of the votes in particular states. That's a big threat to democracy. And I think it's important to realize that even when the language isn't directly connecting Christian nationalism, to voter suppression and elections aversion, the people who are doing it are certainly understanding that they have the support of the white Christian nationalists base as they pursue that agenda tonight I think you're next I want to talk about some of the threats, we're facing. There's so many. Oh, my, my mind.

Unknown 3:38
So I have called White Christian nationalism. The greatest threat to the witness of the church in the United States. That is a direct contradistinction to the erroneous falsehood, life on the critical race theory is the biggest threat. And we'll get into that later, I'm sure. I echo what Jonathan said from a civic perspective, what white Christian nationalism does is try to consolidate and hold on to power by any means necessary, including voter suppression and election subversion. So it's a mortal threat to democracy. I also want to highlight. It's a literal, physical threat, we cannot overlook the fact that in order to consolidate and hold on to power there is this condoning of force and violence. We saw this in many cases right in the first panel. Dr Anthea Butler said this January 6 is not the last we've seen a bit and she's so right, is not the first we've seen a bit either if you go back to the unite the right rally, so called right. Heather hire was killed by a white supremacist Nazi sympathizer, the ways that white Christian nationalism, allies itself with the terroristic acts with excellent violence. If the most notorious white supremacist group that we know in the US the Ku Klux Klan envision themselves as Christian. And we can't overlook that, and then events is itself in real, literal, physical threats, especially toward people who white Christian nationalists would consider other which would encompass anything from black people to LGBTQ people to Jewish people, so there's that real physical threat. And then I think the subtler threat of white Christian nationalism is a ubiquity. That leads to indivisibility. That ubiquity that leads to invisibility meaning for so many white Christians. White Christian nationalism isn't white Christian, it's just Christianity. It is what they've grown up with, it's what the people they've trusted their pastors their parents whomever, that's what they've communicated and promulgated, as the faith, so to identify why Christian nationalism say hey that's not the Christianity of Christ is to them, attack the very foundations of their faith. And so, that compels us to constantly name it and identify it and pointing out because otherwise people don't even see it. And that is the deadliest threat, the one that you don't even see Jack, what do you think about threats to white Christian of white Christian nationalism.

Unknown 6:50
Well yeah as a as a reporter, I'll know, I have heard any number of people describe Christian nationalism as an inherent threat to a number of things I've heard both as activists and average faith leaders, describe white Christian nationalism as a threat to me as has already been described, the nature of Christianity itself. That's why ever prominently, faith leaders, decry Christian nationalism white, Christian nationalism as a literal heresy, you know, the strong language you can get in the Christian faith. You have also heard people describe it, I think outside of the Christian context and Christian Christian nationalism, often seems to mirror threats that people often describe as nationalism in general, right, so the idea of in group out group of white Christian nationalists and then every body else apparently, any number of scholars or activists have noted that if they inherit threat to pluralism, this idea of multiple different groups being able to fully express themselves in the same society which is also a de facto threat to democracy, because we often understand it so we've heard scholars for years argue that, you know, versions of Christian nationalism in general tend to lean themselves in the direction of coming up against our understanding of representative democracy here in the United States. And on January 6 there's overwhelming evidence to see that that a literal attack on democracy was, you know, Christian nationalism was part and parcel of that event, I don't think you have to look very far to see that, as both things are essential, and perhaps literal threat to Democratic lawmakers and democracy itself. And so, you know, as someone who what's been interesting as a reporter for the last few years, you know, as I as I attend these events and I should mention, you know that I'm a consistent presence at these events that's because I'm covering them that December participating in them. You know what I see this really increasingly vocal subset of Americans, you know, kind of involved themselves Christian nationalism. I am also seeing this sort of equally vocal religious outcry against it, and it's funny how they're kind of gives this call and response where I'll be you know, at the Capitol, on, on January 5 to be talking to people, you know, at the Jericho March who have one very specific vision of what America should be and then on there six months later, you know, covering the Portugal's campaign in the exact same location, you're praying, and, and, you know, singing hymns and having with a very different vision of what America should be and those groups, quite often, those people pushing back against Christian nationalism describe it as both a existential and digimarc point literal threat to the faith into their own security. Thanks for that important clarification to about your role. Angela you want to. In this question with how you

Unknown 9:57
view the threats. I want to speak first as a pastor and as a leader and then secondly, as an American, as a woman and as a mom, versus a pastor and as a faith leader. I would echo what some of the previous panelists talked about, which is that I see this directly as a threat to the Gospel itself that Christian nationalism is an idolatry and a threat to the gospel in much the same way as you read the entire Bible, the threats to both in the Hebrew Bible the threats to the God of Israel, the threats to Jesus, are all rooted in idolatry search for worldly power and often for money. And so I actually when we were talking about the question I pulled up. Luke chapter four. And the very first speech that Jesus gives and he stands up I think emerald was the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, He says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. And so everything that Christian that white Christian nationalism is lifting up in America is fighting against this vision of Jesus it's fighting against good news for the poor it's fighting against release to the captives, and you know that's the gospel that I believe in so strongly that I left sports writing I left my previous career to go and to become a minister and to, you know, fight against this culture that wants to reject much of what Jesus is saying here, so I see a very real threat to the gospel and of course, I don't believe the gospel is meant to lose. But I actually believe it's a big threat to what, what I believe in in what I'm fighting for. And then secondly, particularly, you know, as an American that asks, as a woman, as a woman pastor, and as a mom. I see a very real threat of violence and a very real threat of death that comes out of Christian nationalism. Both myself having been the recipient of violent threats from people who espouse Christian nationalist beliefs, maybe I'll get some more after this conference we'll see, but also as someone who has watched people suffer from COVID folks who are suffering because they didn't get vaccines, folks who are suffering because their children can get vaccines. People who have suffered directly because of racism. Here I'm speaking to you from Minneapolis just a few miles from where George Boyd was murdered. So the violence that comes out of this rhetoric and the debt that we've seen on a huge scale are very real for us.

Unknown 12:46
Well thank you and thank you to all of you that this show us, you know, how varied, I think the threats are as serving in this role as both moderator, but also as an advocate on this cause. I would say, Amen and all of the above to everything that you all have said, and and I would also add, you know as the leader of an organization devoted to religious freedom for all. and a faith based organization devoted to that when people ask me what I view as the biggest threat to religious freedom. I have come to answer Christian nationalism and white Christian nationalism because they think that the ideology undercuts the principles that support the freedom of every American to believe and to act on those beliefs without unnecessary interference of government. If we espouse to Christian nationalism, so I would just round out the conversation with that comment. So now I'm going to just talk to specifically to each of you and your particular areas of expertise and the context of your work and starting with you, Jack is a reporter you have been covering Christian nationalism for a number of years, long before it ever we ever dreamt that it would be a term that would trend on Twitter as it certainly has, Over the last several months and in many different ways and so I'm curious to know kind of how you've seen the conversation around Christian nationalism change over the last several years, and also to hear what advice you might offer to your fellow journalists who are covering religion and covering Christian nationalism about what they might look for and how they might report on it.

Unknown 14:29
Sure, thank you for this question, I, I should note as a caveat from as it's been rightly pointed out to me. Many a time, there young Christian nationalism has popped up in a variety of ways throughout American history and as a consequence you know there has been ample writing about it, and condemning of it primarily people who aren't included the image division right so if the jukebox plan it's an overtly Christian nationalist entity, then the outgroups for genuine people of color, non Christians are very particular kinds of Christians all folks that were excluded from Christian nationalist visions in the past have all written about this extensively throughout American history, but in its contemporary sense for me you know when I started noticing it beyond the the fringes of say evangelicalism and some other parts of American Christian landscape was around the time of the rise of Trump, both his campaign and then into rapper who was elected and I noticed that there were actually some conservative writers, who were some of the first people to notice in his campaign at least in public. And then, for me I was, I was sitting in a cabin in the woods, listening to his inaugural speech in 2017 on a radio of all things, and I, as I was listening to his speech, it occurred to me like well this is over, Christian, nationalism of certain how those words get put together. And, and so that kind of launched me throughout 2017 I'm working on this series of pieces about this tracking it understanding in the Trump Era how it has been configured in the Trump era, and I thought I was particularly clever he was writing about this thing that other people weren't writing about Andrew Whitehead drops an email in my inbox with like, not only do we know a lot about this, we have all this data, would you like it, that's like, absolutely. And I think what has been interesting to observe, over the course of the last few years is that, you know, observations about Christian nationalism, went from this thing that prior to the Trump era my husband centered on Woodson seemed like a more fringe elements of, you know, when it's often described as the Christian right through the religious right, you know, Michelle. Goldberg wrote a book called kingdom coming back in the pushing era looking at this group, as this sort of sub culture and in the Trump era because so many of these leaders were elevated positions of power and influence and that the President himself was constantly invoking this or at least in active and enthusiastic conversation with people who are unapologetic Christian nationalists, this, this rhetoric around this conflict around Christian nationalism shifted from this thing that might be interesting to subculture of people to oh this is what political power can look like in America, in 2016 2017, and so on and so it started to be become understood as a political bloc as a group of people that might vote or advocator, you know storm a capital, and, you know, and in pursuit of this very specific vision for how they think America should look and you know I've seen even my fellow religion journalists start to take this, this concept this ideology this identity far more seriously, both in terms of looking for it. And, you know, in the American public and in the mountains of politicians, as well as just in data as well as you know, like, looking at voting blocks and how people turnout on election day and I will know that. Unsurprisingly, the biggest spike, I've seen have been going from something that people might talk about in general or you know very into the sixth or seventh paragraph of a piece that changed a lot after January 6, when suddenly there were a series of national conversations about this ideology and this identity and so you know I think that that that is something that's interesting to have observed as to your second question about my fellow journalists about what to look for. I mean, in some ways, it's rather simple, right, like it's one of the things that once you've seen it, it's hard to unseat and you can find it in rhetoric, you can find it in speeches, but I think it can be easy, and I think this is a problem that we have both religion journalists fall into who, who don't want to be super salient in politics because it's not their main beat and politics reporters can fall on to you who aren't super salient religion that's there, maybe, is that, for instance, you'll read a political article that will just leave out the Christian nationalist sentiment that a politician, delivered from a podium, and a religion reporter that will get really into the weeds about the theology believe out the nationalist call that is a part of that same faith leaders sermon, for instance. And so looking for one of the two overlap I think is one of the most valuable ways of understanding how Christian nationalism can operate as a theology and can operate as this political rallying cry, what is perhaps most prominently observed when it is an identity. We're just the two that almost distances itself from theology in favor of a specific way of viewing oneself and the world. In other words, the same way we view any number of other political nationalist movements throughout human history, so that's a long winded way of saying, I think it's, it's a serious political topic now and one that's difficult to ignore, and frankly it's something that you now see the phrase Christian nationalism, at least if not white, Christian nationalism appearing in the pages of legacy outlets today.

Unknown 19:52
I think that's really helpful Jack and I do think that even if we've seen it in the past having it labeled as such really helps us draw this together and help make sense of it, when we do see it again. Jamara turning to you you know your professional expertise and how you come at this originally is, as a historian, but I know from your writing and from your public speaking, you always turn to act. How can that studying history, help us understand white Christian nationalism and importantly, how can it help us move into action.

Unknown 20:30
So, first let me start with what may be a controversial or provocative statement and certainly not least because it's coming from a historian and we're supposed to focus on describing and training past not pontificating about the present but, nevertheless, the statement is this. We're living in the modern day civil rights movement. We're living in the modern day civil rights movement now I think there's an empirical data that reinforces this different polls in 2001 showed that between 15,000,020 6 million people in the United States participated in some form of Black Lives Matter protests, and just by the numbers that will eclipse, the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. We've also seen important changes, some of them are symbolic, but I don't discount symbolic changes because symbols tell stories and stories are powerful. One of the most notable changes, certainly for me, who lives in the Delta is that the state flag of Mississippi finally came down in 2020 Of course, it was the last state in the union that had the Confederate emblem on its Canton and it was literally a white supremacist symbol flying above the state that has the highest proportion of black people in state in the union. And that finally came down in the midst of the racial justice uprisings 2020 After 126 years. And then also I think it's important to know, in the context of this conversation about white Christian nationalism, one of the indicators that were in the civil rights movement of our days not just sort of the participation or the progress. But the opposition that that, that, that racial justice advocates face. And so, of course, the the kind of most prominent example is the January 6 insurrection, at the Capitol, which was not at all disconnected from the fact that black voters helped propel Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the presidency. And, you know, white supremacist and white Christian nationalist forces pushing back against multiracial democratic participation, like that. I'll also know, sort of highlighting something I said before about the physical threat that the Department of Homeland Security annually puts out. Its, its homeland threat assessment in the homeland threat assessment. It said that domestic violent extremists that online domestic violence extremist racially and ethnically motivated by extremists, specifically, white supremacist extremists will remain the most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland. And we are seeing a rise in in these groups from, you know, the folks there under all kinds of names and labels and banners, but they often have this sort of Christian Protestant veneer that could be categorized as white Christian nationalism, and so when I'm talking about action. I'm talking about what Martin Luther King called the urgency of now. He said this in 1963 in his I Have a Dream speech so that's almost 60 years ago, but in many ways, we need to still respond to the fierce urgency of now when it comes to racial justice so many people say you know if I was alive in the 50s and 60s I would have I would have protested, which I say well, what you're doing right now is exactly what you would have done back then. And so, it is incumbent upon us, when this breaks my heart is the past generation of people who actually lived through the Civil Rights Movement are passing away. So John Lewis died last year, not long before this mini conference, Bob Moses integral, leader of this team won by the coordinator of voting rights, especially in Mississippi. He adopted. So the question then for this generation in the modern day civil rights movement, who's going to pick up. Who is going to grab the baton and continue this race for racial justice. And so, I studied history, and I study raised and study social movements because it informs the present. But my hope and my desire is that it always moves for action,

Unknown 25:30
beautifully, beautifully put in and, you know leads me right into Jonathan, you know, it that fierce urgency of now and what a powerful voice you have as a faith based advocate. And so, just wondering, you know, what have you learned about the best way to combat white Christian nationalism, which can so often serve as an impediment to that kind of change that we're seeing calls for right now. And how do face based advocates, including Christian advocates that reject white Christian nationalism, engage engaged constructively in the public square in a way that can provide a really powerful counterpoint to the influence of white Christian nationalism that we see in our politics and what's his name, good.

Unknown 26:26
Really important, as I mentioned earlier to recognize that this didn't just happen that a culture was created. There are forces heavily invested in continuing to perpetuate that culture. And frankly, important say group parachurch organizations that influence people often more than their pastor or small group Bible study. I'm talking about Christian TV I've done my Christian radio I've done with these organizations to send free mailers, folks. And so all of that existed and I would say, since he's not here today, I think and Nelson's work on this is critically important and for anyone wants to understand the mechanics of how this culture has been cultivated and reproduced over. Really the past several decades, her shadow network on the council for national policy really lays out the organizational connections through which much of this happens, I think it's critically important to understand that and. And so given that that's the reality we face. I'm moved by that, dear sister behind my brother tomorrow on the wall. Sister, Ella Baker from my home state of North Carolina, Who understood, if you want to build culture you build movements, if you want to build movements you build people, you build people in local communities. And so that's why I invest much time as I have in the work of the four people's campaigns doing national movement I know this committed counting specifically religious nationalism. Five interlocking and justices to the Poor People's Campaign understand to be the threat to wellbeing for all of us in American society. And I think it's through building an understanding where people can bring their faith into action in public life, with people of the same faith people of other faiths, people of no faith, but who have a common vision for how we can live from the bottom, so that everybody rises and and is committed to putting that into practice in public in a constructive play, because I think what I would say to my fellow Christians, many of them well. But you've already describing is really the backlash against the civil rights movement we started during the civil rights organizations when I'm talking about Paul wire against established many of them in the 1970s have many partners and colleagues, and they have continued until today. So the reason that Christian nationalists, why Christian nationalism can have influence is because it has cultural institutions. They didn't used to be as loud as explaining. So they didn't get the same kind of attention, but that is the base. And I think their willingness to use Christian faith to sponsor lies, and I'm pretty explicit about using that term because I know these people knew they realize. Once you've convinced people to believe lies because of their faith. At some point I think you lose control over which lies people believe. And the other thing I would add to that is that I think some people in the communities that have been most directly targeted by this campaign are beginning to see that those lies can kill them too. And I think that's one of the things we're grappling with right now whether it's, you know, the fact of COVID denialism and indexing skepticism, you know, is creating real death right now in communities where Christian nationalism is really targeted to the kinds of conspiracies that we see now that people believe, because they were taught in Jesus name to believe lies, and now they believe that they can literally kill people. There was a story out of a community in California this week that most most of the news coverage didn't cover it is a story of Christian national father who killed his children killed him because he is a Christian in his community came to believe lies that

Unknown 31:06
have been perpetuated by conspiracy theory groups and q&a and the like. But I think you have to you have to understand the context in which Christians believe lies is a context that was created by this culture so creating an alternative culture to that and lifting that up, letting that be very public, and, and, and convincing churches that having a public witness in that way is important, is critical to the agent as it is referred to as moment.

Unknown 31:37
Thank you, thank you for that and I think it really does. You know what what inspires for me is there's so many different ways for people to states to take a role in in public life, and the principal way that many people continue to engage is in, in the face community and a specific faith community and so, Angela you've, you've referenced the many different hats and in different experiences you have but one of those is pastoring a church and so you know this in, In my role of speaking about Christians against Christian nationalism, I often get this question about pastors engaging their congregations in understanding Christian nationalism understanding that it's something that is present in nearly every faith community in this country, it's not something that's just in those other faith communities. And so, wanted to know from you to hear from you what advice you would give to pastors who are wanting to engage their congregations in a conversation about white Christian nationalism, And how can we challenge people to have difficult conversations while remaining in community with each other, to try to dismantle this ideology.

Unknown 32:53
Yeah well I really appreciate Jonathan's explicit framing of, of what we're, what we're up against right now is really boring, it's the truth. And this idea that defense of the truth defense defensive the sense that there is truth, is really what we're up against as citizens, and as faith leaders, and as fellow human beings. And so that hits me, of course, as a journalist to enter into that profession, seeking to tell the truth and also as a pastor. So what I'm going to do. To answer this question is to tell a story, and I have a unique experience because I live here in the city of Minneapolis, but the church that I serve. I'm their only pastor, but I drive an hour to get to my congregation I serve them part time we're a little Lutheran Church. They built it with their own hands were there about an hour west of the Twin Cities and a little town, and the majority of my church members are either farmers, or they're factory workers we have a big food processing plant, or else construction workers, people who really make up, in many ways, the base of white Christian nationalism, and so I'm pastoring in a county and in in the area of Minnesota that voted over two thirds for Donald Trump. And so what's really interesting for me is that every time that I drive up to my church. I drive from the very corner of Minneapolis and represented by Omar, to a very red corner of Minnesota, so I drive from one one America really to another America and I drive on one road the whole way. And as I drive, I begin to see signs for Donald Trump, more and more and more, and I remember in. So I want to take you back to the Sunday after taking racist. And I think like many pastors. As I watched January 6 unfold, and I was filled with fear. And, or terror in a lot of ways. I was also filled with a huge sense of responsibility of what in the world do I say, and I know for me. Yeah I wrote Redstate Christians that I had this amazing opportunity to travel around the country, and to really speak to conservative Christians in all different corners of America I tried to cover a lot of breath. And I did so with a sense of hope that there was hope for dialogue, that there was hope for understanding. And I will say that my hope in that has, has diminished in some ways. I've become much more cynical and I've also become weighted with the responsibilities that we must, must speak more explicitly and maybe even more explicitly than I did in the book, against the roots of Christian nationalism, so I felt this way, that as I spoke to my Congress. I had to do so very clearly and concisely and I could not mince words about what had happened on January, 6, and the role that Christianity had played in what had happened in America diamonds for pastors, is that when you feel that way, you feel you, I'm going to need to speak to my congregation on this, and especially for those of us who are serving congregations, But we may really disagree with politically broadly and not saying everybody in my church, but broadly,

Unknown 36:23
what I would urge you to do is speak clearly and speak honestly, and speak forcefully and also speak, contextually, because what I see sometimes what happens for a lot of pastors is will condemn real broadly what happened, but you'll leave your people sitting there listening, like, okay, but that wasn't us. Those other people you know there was an Tifa infiltrators but that doesn't have anything to do with us, you know, we just got our from signs up and that's, like, We're good Americans. So what I decided on January 6 Before I even began the service is I addressed what happened. And I addressed it by saying that you think that you don't know anyone, because of where you're situated, this is so far away, you think that you don't know anyone who has been a victim of the threat of right wing Christian violence, and I don't want you to look at me and see that I have that I have gotten that I have experienced this violence, and that this is personal, this isn't far away. This stretches right into our small town and I'm not, I'm not the only one. There's others among you who have been threatened in who have been victimized by right wing white Christian nationalism. And so, what I encourage them to think about locally, is to think about that for somebody like me, for people who have been victimized by the threat of white Christian nationalism, when they drive through this little town that, honestly, I love, I love the people in this, they have, they take care of that church. They take care of one another. One of my church members recently fell off the female there and everybody came together and harvested his crops for him. There's a lot of good there. But I said when people come through and they see those Trump sites. They don't see who you are as a parent, what they see is the threat of violence against them. And I asked people in my congregation to consider what those signs might mean, even if they didn't think that that's what those signs were saying, and to consider taking those signs down in there. So you give people something that they can do locally, like tomorrow and like Dr Sal pushes towards action, and you speak really honestly and concisely about how it relates, and so yeah I wasn't quite sure how that was received, you know right away. And I will say, because even when I'm real cynical and real hopeless because I have been, you know, lately. Summarize get pushed back towards hope. So here's a little story I hope one of my, one of my church leaders. He called me like a couple of weeks after that sermon, and he said, You first. So this is a guy he's a farmer he owns a lot of land I've been driving by, and I saw a Trump sign, and I wasn't sure if it was his land or not and I thought oh gosh, I hope that that's not his land, but it was. So he called me and he says, you know that really rubbed me the wrong way the first time I heard it. And he's like, so I've watched it again. And he's like, Yeah, I think it was important for us to hear. and I think it really, and then he goes, you know, and now I'm kind of ashamed of myself because I voted for the guy. So you got to think okay, you know, there's what the conversations that you're having in your community. They're making incremental change and we're up against as Jonathan says very well funded, very powerful organizations. But I think that pastors and faith leaders in their local community should be encouraged, that when you step out you're doing so with the holy spirit behind you and you're doing so in the service. Thank you for that...

...

Unknown 0:00
The big takeaways, both from panel one but also from this conversation is just how deeply entrenched Christian nationalism is how pervasive it is and how it really takes everyone working in their own spheres of influence, to call it out to understand it to work to dismantle it, that this is something that will take many, many years, and many people were working in a concerted way to do something about. And so my question that I would throw out for everyone to answer before we start turning to some audience questions, is how do we work together on this, how do we pull together I mean obviously we we do things in our particular experience and in our context, but what can we do to work together across our spheres of influence in order to confront Christian nationalism.

Unknown 0:51
For anyone who'd like to respond.

Unknown 0:57
Let me just say one thing I love, I love what you're doing with the witness.

Unknown 1:06
Because you're building culture. You've created a platform where people who, who are rooted in tradition that sees through the lives of white Christian nationalism, but also has a constructive vision, what the local community looks like for what discipleship looks like give them a platform. Right.

Unknown 1:28
and, and when there's not, you know, a media outlet for the people who have that message to share, create more. That's what you do.

Unknown 1:41
And now you know you're, you're trying to spread that you're trying to invest in other people, We're doing that because we need to build that kind of culture that lifts up the beautiful beautiful waves of Jesus that exists in this society that is somewhere else that exists right here, it doesn't get amplified by the media apparatus that was created.

Unknown 2:11
Well that's well received brother out appreciate it and I was literally what popped in my mind first was, people should access and support the Poor People's Campaign, and if you feel you should do that too. Yes.

Unknown 2:26
You know some good synergy there but but literally so when I say we're in the modern day civil rights movement if that is true, then what kind of action will it require on our part, is going to require direct action, nonviolent protests. It's going to require marches, it has, has already required people getting arrested. And we should not expect that our actions today would not include actions that others have taken before in the struggle for racial justice now can expand beyond that but I want to put that on people's radar that this isn't just going to be hashtag activism, you're gonna have to put your bodies on the line, your jobs on the line, I think, I think, I think the watchword for any sort of justice movement is courage.

Unknown 3:18
That's why I have been Kaymer over my shoulder. I mean, she was alone with nothing by earthly standards. She was born with the the the oppression trifecta, as I call it, she was poor, she was black and she was a woman. Not only did she risk it all she lost it all the first time she went just to sign up to vote. She not only got fired, but because she was a sharecropper she got kicked out of her home.

Unknown 3:42
No, no, if anyone did that they've sort of proverbial story of the widow's mite, she had very little, but what she had she gave.

Unknown 3:53
If anything hammer could do that what is incumbent upon us would have far far more in so many senses, right, and then why would justice not include us putting so much on the line. Now, the question is, you know, how can we come together. Well, number one, there are organizations doing this, so So seek them out, don't, don't necessarily try to reinvent the wheel for others are doing good work. But if, if there isn't, then I think one of the solutions is creation, you create something you put something together so whatever it is that you do, you write.

Unknown 4:34
You sing whatever it is, then we're just.

Unknown 4:38
So this is a call to creatives and artists of all kinds, this is a call to people, wherever your sphere of influence is to to make something that tells a different story, and a better story, and I can go on and on and on about how we come together to fight. White Christian nationalism, but I'll go back to Reverend anchors. So much of this you know we're looking for the big thing. So much of this is happening. Change happens on a micro level, and it's very unsatisfying in that sense it's not a law pass. It's not a, you know photo op that makes a national paper. It's that person makes that Facebook comment was that Facebook. And you may comment publicly or not, but if you got there.

Unknown 5:32
That's the hard part. That's where courage, because now it's personal and you're risking that relationship right. It's when your pastor says, or your church member says, where your, Your, your relative says when your friend says or does something there's smacks of white Christian that we're going to show up in that moment, because I ain't gonna be there. Most likely, they there's a wall of separation because of what I look like and what I stand for, but you might be in those conversations.

Unknown 6:00
And how would you use that is when we can get into specifics, but that's what I would say is a call to courage, and not just on the macro level, but the micro level as well.

Unknown 6:15
Right, well I'm gonna shift we have a number of audience questions, so I'm going to shift now into the audience questions. The first question is about building an organized response to white Christian nationalism, the question is, what would an organized response to white Christian nationalism look like it's not enough to simply gathered Christians against Christian nationalism, being against is a weak position, what compelling and persuasive stance, should we be offering, what are we for, so I'm going to I'm going to answer that specifically as it comes from Christians against Christian nationalism both would welcome other responses about what we're for. This is something, candidly, we struggled with, well as we were naming it. We thought it was very important though to name firmly what we were against. But if you go to Christians against Christian nationalism.org, you'll see a statement of principles, that is all for something that draws people across theological difference together. And what you'll see are principles that support religious freedom for all. And so that's my short answer is, how are we going to what is the best antidote to the poison of Christian nationalism. It's a commitment to the strong principles and standing up for everyone's religious freedom, and not basing someone's citizenship or someone's status in our community, on what they believe or don't believe so. So that's, that's what I would answer about what we're for but I wanted to open it up to anyone else about, about what the movement can be for as we as we combat Christian nationalism.

Unknown 7:55
It's really important to know what Christian nationalism is for. In concrete terms right we've mentioned it's for a limited electorate that allows for, particularly in the United States, older white people to have disproportionate influence. It's for lower taxes, smaller government programs, explicitly for the denial of climate science and other science now.

Unknown 8:26
And so, when you understand that people who have interest in that. And in that agenda, who have backed Christian nationalism as a Christian I go back to the Reverend negative was earlier, what is next for Jesus for what is God for. If you read it honestly I think you gotta say, Jesus is for the poor. That means against the basically got nothing to say to the rich sometimes.

Unknown 8:54
If you're not for the poor, you know, if you're not for justice to those will get marginalized or go to the side you not 40. So what does that look like and what's the bare minimum, all look like if people work all week long, they ought to be able to eat and feed their family, right, ought to be able to have access to health care, ought to be able to get affordable house

Unknown 9:23
study we got there's not a single place in the United States, where you can work full time at minimum wage and rent a two bedroom apartment.

Unknown 9:31
That's sinful, because people can't live if people can't live whether you're Christian or not, you can't be all the God wants you to be so so so to be for that, I think, is to come together around an agenda. And then, you know, as Christians, to read the text and understand the communities that have read the text to say, This is what God has poured, this is how, this is what it means to to be Christian. So, I mean those are the people who inspire and move me and I think that's the culture that I've been trying to encourage here, when I wrote revolution of values I paid attention to the community that have been reading this text this way for a long time, and simply tried to say you know there's a lot of us got led astray, and led astray by powerful forces, you know, in some sense, it's not the sole responsibility of the people who were desperate and yet people who've been led astray have to take responsibility for turning around but listening to other voices, and for reading the text in new ways, I think that's how we build, we build by lifting those voices we build by following the lead of those who understand that the gospel is for the for the marginalized.

Unknown 10:50
Yeah, I wanted to jump in, in that same vein and I remember when I, my first job as a pastor I worked as a pastor in Chicago, near you know large prints of harvest Bible Church. And when people were thinking about leaving to go to willow creek or go to harvest Bible Church they'd be saying, you know, well I really want to go to a Bible based church. Well that drove me crazy, especially as a Lutheran you know with this heritage of being, you know the Reformation movement to put the Bible in the vernacular and help people to read the Bible for themselves. So I think reclaiming, you know, I will say that this movement is for biblical literacy, this movement is for understanding aligned with a movement against complementarianism that has been led by people like Kristin Dubay from the last from the last presentation and like Brett Allison bar and this movement against complementarianism of movement towards really reclaiming the biblical text, and the liberation that they seek that they seek to bring, and who's who in the biblical text. I remember also there was sort of a discussion going around last summer where people were saying, Well, do you there's actually no white people in the Bible, and it was like actually guys, there are white people in the Bible, and we're the Romans are the ones who crucified Jesus, and so I think, really understanding not only American history but Christian history, and understanding that this movement is seeking to reclaim this buried gospel, the gospel that often gets buried but this gospel that has played a role in America, often through black Christians through the Civil Rights Movement.

Unknown 12:38
This gospel center Christianity has brought huge change to America, and has brought sources of hope to America. And so I think that understanding, again, what it would really look like to have a Bible based church, breaking down the design journey that has enabled White Christian nationalism is a huge piece towards re understanding what Christian witness in America can look like. And speaking for white mainline Protestants and denominations that try to, you know, we were shrinking we've been shrinking for a long time we've been crying out for it for a very long time, but there's still a heck of a lot of numbers, and money and institutional power within right mainline Protestantism, and I think that people need to sort of get over ourselves, and move to what we still have to, to put that together to really fight for the gospel and fight for Christian liveness instead of seeking to sort of maintain institutional power.

Unknown 13:45
Thank you.

Unknown 13:47
So now I have an audience question for Jack Jenkins.

Unknown 13:53
The question for Jack is, how might people support journalists who are covering white Christian nationalism and telling the truth.

Unknown 14:03
Well first of all, subscribe to your local paper, encourage them to have a religion reporter, and if you hear Christian nationalism article click on it and read it and share it if you can. I know that sounds like a very small practical reality but, you know, journalists, you know, we don't live in a stable fashion, as it were, in terms of being able to keep our jobs there aren't that many religion journalists in the country, full stop.

Unknown 14:30
And, you know, the even larger outlets don't really have, you know, dedicated singular religion reporters who might otherwise cover that you don't be a religion reporter to cover for sure nationals, you don't even have to be a religion reporter to cover religion a good reporter can cover anything if they have enough time energy care and dedication to the facts.

Unknown 14:52
So I say that to be like, you know, when you see a good article or you see a journalist who's really kind of, you know, covering this topic in an important and interesting and revealing way, feel free to reach out and let them know that or tell the world on Twitter or Facebook that ticky tock whatever those things are now, and and let people know that this is an important subject that people should cover because that's it it's frightening the back symbol also you know, donate to any, any at all, journalistic enterprises, but in addition to that, you know, I will say as a reporter.

Unknown 15:31
You know I think it's covering Christian nationalism doesn't just require covering those who might label themselves as such, although a lot of them don't you know people who might fall into the category of Christian nationalism, it's also, you know, chronicling those who are in conversation with them. That means those who are often decrying them or those who are standing up against them and one thing that often is the case in my profession is that you'll see a lot of people cover what Christian conservatives in general do, and it's, it's more rare than find a lot of attention and around, you know, very a variety of religious communities Christian and non Christian who might be, have a very different view of America or their own faith and so I would only add the identity matrix, we do, but there's actually a fun thing that's happened in the last few years, it's now that mature people like on this panel know about this, like whenever somebody mentions Christian nationalism, they'll be like this little thing on Twitter or they'll be like, oh this person wrote about it, and this person, you got to really nice this person who's going into their system has grown, the people who are writing about this topic, and they deserve support but also support those who were talking about those who might be impacted by Christian nationalism, you know most negatively, but whether that's, you know, chronicling ghosts who live within that sphere with those who are negatively impacted by it, as well as communities that decry it or have alternative visions it's, you know, it's a long winded way of saying the word religion journalism, but, but I think, you know, recognizing that it's a broad spectrum of coverage is important.

Unknown 17:03
It's really helpful and in good to have some concrete things that people can do. I'm going to go to something that's less concrete but pretty important and in a question that came up in panel one and that is resurfaced here, you know, we heard in panel one about how white Christian nationalism often relies on a persecution narrative, and in, it feeds into it and then this idea of loss of privilege, like Dr Keyaki Joshi, it's called you know white Christian privilege right this idea of when we see that loss of privilege, you view it almost as a loss of rights in the society and how that combined with a persecution narrative really is a toxic combination so the question is, how do we provide a different narrative, how do we flip the script on that, it, you know whether we're coming from a Christian perspective or not I wonder if anyone can can tackle I think what is a really difficult question that, that we need to address.

Unknown 18:10
Always remember, it's the party.

Unknown 18:14
Looking at me very sincerely with loving eyes as he always did, and asking me to consider what privilege, is it really to be descended of people who claim to own other people.

Unknown 18:29
And in a lot of ways that has shaped my own ministry to others who, you know we're taught to imagine themselves as white to interrogate the so called privilege that we both, you know, err, when we act like it doesn't exist, right, but also when we, When we just assume that there's something positive, that can be used without doing the soul work necessary to address the lies that are part of that formation. So, I think that's critically important from a pastoral perspective.

Unknown 19:16
Help people interrogate all the lies that come with imagining yourself as white, in society.

Unknown 19:25
We are wrapping up on our time, and so I wanted to give all of our panelists. Just a quick 30 seconds. Any last word, you have to offer a note of encouragement something that, that you want to be sure that our that our group here, hears before we end our time together. So, just to kind of open up for anyone who wants to offer.

Unknown 19:57
I'll just say if anyone was under the impression that dialogue around nationalism is going away. It's not, you know, Just over this past weekend, there was a, it was an anti vaccine anti mass growing in Los Angeles, and I think, you know, it made some news because there was a stabbing there were reports of a stabbing as well as scuffles between some more extremist groups, and some counter protesters at that rally but if you watch some of the speakers at that rally, they repeatedly invoked Christian nationalism, one of them, literally said that we need to instill the government with Christian values, it was, it was another one, quoted turning over the tables and making a with a core is something that people should do, you know, to push back against vaccine mandates or mask wearing.

Unknown 20:43
And the thing is that's pretty common. And I think this is a story that will continue to add, if not escalate at least continue to be a part of the American story for some time. So just continue to keep an eye out for it you know whether that's from reporting from Religion News Service, but also a number of other reporters and outlets as well.

Unknown 21:10
I think I'm gonna just offer some of the words that the apostle Paul often gives in his letters to the churches, is that we cannot get stuck in being discouraged, and there's many reasons to be discouraged but I think that if you're watching this and hearing the work of so many people here and especially the work of Dr. Whitehead, for putting all this together.

Unknown 21:35
There is great reason not to be discouraged, that, as you know we're experiencing terrible tragedy in Haiti, we're experiencing terrible loss of life and hope in Afghanistan, and also experiencing terrible tragedy around the Delta variant in the US, I think, finding ways out of discouragement and into hope, and remembering that for Christians, our hope is rooted in the cross. The thing that I always noticed about my investigations of Christian nationalism and being in spaces where Christian nationalism is prevalent, is that you really hear about the cross, it's a it's an emblem, it's something that maybe people wear a necklace. But you rarely hear about the cross. And so if we can reclaim the cross as the center of our faith.

Unknown 22:31
Then we have real reasons for hope, because our hope is rooted in something that looks like your death. And we wouldn't know much about it without those first women creatures, so how about that. All right. For me, a fantastic, thank you for that.

Unknown 22:49
I'll just say one thing I learned from your and Sam's work. Andrew is, you know, when you look at the data.

Unknown 23:02
Christian nationalism is real.

Unknown 23:05
And it's a minority.

Unknown 23:08
But the disproportionate influence of a minority has really worked our society. And so, I think, that data is a kind of call to action for people who have found themselves you know somewhere in the middle. They don't embrace this stuff but they also don't really understand it and often don't feel, you know, like they have a clear enough understanding to speak organize against it, I hope. If you've been here today, you feel like you have something better have a grip on it and can at least join those folks who are already organizing and working to create some real alternatives so I think that's where the hope is inviting the. We are the majority. But we've been quite

Unknown 23:58
laid back.

Unknown 24:00
Maybe the kindest way in our response.

Unknown 24:06
Amen highlight, underline everything that's been said, and all I'll say is justice is a journey. And you don't have to have the entire pathway mapped out marked out or understood, all you got to do is take the next right step. So don't go to sleep today before you decide on at least one thing you can do to promote a vision of the beloved community. Promote provision of justice and equity for all people to fight against white Christian nationalism, because you have the agency, you don't have all power only God does, but you have some, and use that for good.

Unknown 24:53
Thank you, and I will take moderators privilege very briefly Andrew and give one more moment of hope that I have, you know Christians against Christian nationalism earlier this summer just a month ago we released a new curriculum that churches can use to have conversations that highlights Andrews work and works if religious leaders and tomorrow's work and, and we were bringing it all together and in a month we've had 1000 unique downloads, that's 1000 communities that are ready to have a conversation that's helpful to me, and it's in it's that next right step, And so I wanted to draw that resource to the group's attention, but also to offer that that piece of hope and and give my final gratitude to this wonderful panel for your insights and your inspiration today.

END





White Christian Nationalism in the United States – Session 1

White Christian Nationalism in the United States – Session 1
White Christian Nationalism in the United States – August 18, 1 pm – 3:15pm

Session 1: White Christian Nationalism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow – August 18, 1 pm ET – 2:15 pm ET

Session 2: Engaging White Christian Nationalism in Public Spaces – August 18, 2:30 pm ET – 3:45 pm ET

Participants: Anthea Butler; Caroline Mala Corbin; Kristin Kobes Du Mez; Samuel Perry

Moderator: Andrew Whitehead

Description: The Trump presidency, culminating in the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021, brought into sharp relief the importance of white Christian nationalism as an animating force in American civil society. Millions of Americans believe that the United States should be distinctively “Christian” in its public policies, sacred symbols, and national identity. As the insurrection made clear, the implications of such beliefs are very real.

This online mini-conference brings together the leading scholars, authors, journalists, policy experts, and public theologians in order to discuss white Christian nationalism from a variety of perspectives.

The first panel“White Christian Nationalism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”—will revolve around the study of white Christian nationalism from a cross-disciplinary perspective, including history, social science, and law.

The topic of our second panel will be “Engaging White Christian Nationalism in Public Spaces.” This panel will move beyond the study of white Christian nationalism to include journalists, clergy, policy experts, and public theologians to hear more about how they engage it in their various spheres of influence.




* * * * * * * *


SESSION 1 - SECOND PANEL

“White Christian Nationalism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”

Notes by R.E. Slater
August 18, 2021

Introduction by Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds

The protests of 2020 has made it necessary to focus on the topic of White Christian Nationalism. Mr. Edmonds introduces Andrew Whitehead who will serve as the moderator for panel one:

  • Andrew Whitehead, Moderator
  • Dr. Anthea Butler - Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies
  • Professor of Caroline Mala Corbin - Professor of Law, University of Miami (Specialist in First Amendment Issues)
  • Dr. Kristin Kobes Du MezProfessor of History, Calvin College University
  • Dr. Samuel Perry - Prof. of Sociology at the Univ. of Oklahoma

Andrew Whitehead is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) His writing been featured in the Washington Post, NBC News, and the Huffington Post, where he examines Christian nationalism, religion and American culture, and childhood disability and religion. His work has won several awards including the 2019 Distinguished Article awards for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Association for the Sociology of Religion. In 2017 he was awarded an Excellence in Research award from the College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences at Clemson University. Andrew Whitehead is also a Project Director at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI, and a co-Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives (theARDA.com), the world's largest online religion data archive.

Anthea Butler is Chair of Religious Studies and Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her new book is White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America,  on Ferris and Ferris, a division of UNC Press.  Her other books include Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making A Sanctified World,  published also by The University of North Carolina Press. She is also a contributor to the forthcoming book, A New Origin story, The 1619 project out November 2021. A historian of African American and American religion, Professor Butler’s research and writing spans African American religion and history, race, politics, and evangelicalism. Professor Butler was awarded a Luce/ACLS Fellowship for the Religion, Journalism and International Affairs grant for 2018-2019 academic year to investigate Prosperity gospel and politics in the American and Nigerian context. She was also a Presidential fellow at Yale Divinity School for the 2019-2020 academic year. Professor Butler currently serves as President Elect of the American Society for Church history, and is also member of the American Academy of Religion, American Historical Association, and the International Communications Association. Professor Butler is currently a contributor to MSNBC Daily and has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, and The Guardian. You can see her on the recent PBS series The Black church in America, and the forthcoming American Experience on Billy Graham, airing May 2021 on PBS.  

Caroline Mala CorbinProfessor of Law & Dean's Distinguished Scholar, Social Justice/Public Interest Concentration Affiliated Faculty, J.D. 2001, Columbia Law School, B.A. 1991, Harvard University. Caroline is Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law. She teaches U.S. Constitutional Law I, U.S. Constitutional Law II, First Amendment, the Religion Clauses, the Free Speech Clause, and Feminism and the First Amendment. Her scholarship focuses on the First Amendment’s speech and religion clauses, particularly their intersection with equality issues. Professor Corbin’s articles have been published in the New York University Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Boston University Law Review, and Emory Law Journal, among others. Her writing has also appeared in the online editions of the Harvard Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Michigan Law Review, California Law Review,  and Texas Law Review. As well as writing for blogs such as SCOTUSblog, Take Care Blog, ACSblog, and Jurist, Professor Corbin is a frequent commentator for local and national media on First Amendment questions. Professor Corbin joined the Miami law faculty in 2008 after completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at Columbia Law School. Before her fellowship, she litigated civil rights cases as a pro bono fellow at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and as an attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. She also clerked for the Hon. M. Blane Michael of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Professor Corbin holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She was a James Kent Scholar while at Columbia Law School, where she also won the Pauline Berman Heller Prize and the James A. Elkins Prize for Constitutional Law.

Kristin Du Mez’s research areas focus on the intersection of gender, religion, and politics in recent American history. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation (Liveright 2020). Coverage of Jesus and John Wayne can be found in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and on NPR, and also internationally (in Germany, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and in Al Jazeera). She has written for The New York Times, The Daily Beast, NBC News, and The Washington Post, among other outlets. Her first book, A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism (Oxford 2015) traces the remarkable life and innovative theology of Katharine Bushnell (1855-1946), an intrepid social reformer and anti-trafficking activist. She is currently working on Live Laugh Love, a cultural study of white Christian womanhood. Kristin Du Mez teaches courses in US women’s history and US social and cultural history, and has enjoyed working with students on historical walking tours of Grand Rapids for the GR Walks app. Topics have included an East Grand Rapids walking tour of Ramona Park, a downtown Grand Rapids historical river walk, and a historical walking tour of beer in Grand Rapids. For additional information, see kristindumez.com. You can follow Kristin and her research on Twitter and on Facebook.

Samuel L. Perry (Ph.D., Chicago) is a sociologist of American religion, race, politics, sexuality, and families. He is the author or co-author of four books: Growing God's Family (2017); Addicted to Lust (2019); Taking America Back For God (2020); and The Flag and the Cross (forthcoming). He teaches at the University of Oklahoma. Research Areas: Religion, Culture, Families, Race/Ethnicity, Gender/Sexuality, Inequality, Collective Action. Recent Recognitions: 2020 Vice President for Research and Partnerships Award for Outstanding Research Impact, University of Oklahoma 2018 Irene Rothbaum Outstanding Assistant Professor Award “In Recognition of Distinguished Teaching as Demonstrated Through Scholarship, Dedication and the Ability to Inspire Students to High Levels of Academic Achievement,” College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma. Biography: An award-winning scholar and teacher, Dr. Perry’s is among the nation’s leading experts on conservative Christianity and American politics, race, sexuality, and families. Along with numerous articles published in leading academic journals, Dr. Perry has also authored or co-authored four books including Growing God’s Family (NYU, 2017), Addicted to Lust (Oxford, 2019), Taking America Back for God (Oxford, 2020; co-authored with Andrew Whitehead) and the forthcoming The Flag and The Cross (Oxford, 2022; co-authored with Philip Gorski). He is currently working on a forthcoming book about how culture wars and money shape English bibles.


What is White Christian Nationalism (WCN)?

Butler - Belief that Christianity is for white people including accepting their white culture and what America means to them. A practice of faith where whiteness is the driving force of the faith and the special role America is leading the world in.

Corbin - Belief that the USA always as been and always will be Christian. That it has a special relationship with God and must uphold its commitments to God to keep God's favor.
There is no separation between church and state.

Du Mez - America is founded as a Christian nation and must be defended as such including its Christian orthodoxy. That militarism is highly important, etc.

Perry - A political theology and strategy which idealizes American civil life. 


Is WCN a Fringe Ideology or Is It More?

Perry - How popular is it and how many Americans embrace it? According to national surveys we have found the following - see table above. Consequently, should the federal government define America as a Christian nation? Among evangelicals there is a majority who agree with this. All white "somethings" generally nod to this idea as a block of 30%

Corbin - Suggests 50% of American "Christians" generally agreed with this sentiment. This defines citizens as who is a "Real American."

Butler - To say we are a Christian says to many that it gives us the right to enact power, create rules, and do what a white Christian wants without consideration to non-Christians. Mentions NASCAR Christians as God and Country Christians who identify with but do no attend church or are a part of a Christian fellowship.

Du Mez - The accommodators of society allow the conversation to shaped by WCN's. The flags in the front of church indicate a privileged location of WCNs.

Perry - WCN really like labels and placing people into identity camps. 

Where Are We Today? How Did We Arrive Here Today?

Du Mez - You can find it everywhere. Examples: "The City on the Hill," the Puritans, Late-19th & 20th century American Empire, the American South (slaveholder Christianity), WW1 and the following wars. Versus:
  • 1940s - Communists - anti-God, anti-Jesus
  • 1960s - Pacifists, counter-cultural movements, feminism, gender, BLM
  • 2020 - Christians sensing a loss of something meaning they HAVE TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. The feeling everything is trying to destroy Christian America. We have to get back to what we were.
Butler - The rise of Black nationalism, the religion of the lost cause, anti-Southern construction, anti-Church dominionism, anti-Christian (Kingdom) Reconstruction. WCN encompasses many, many more people now. Not just white Christians but many feeling sympathetic towards their country.

Corbin - Only citizens who were white could become nationalized. Whiteness was identified with Christianity. Thus minorities turned towards Christianity to be accepted.

Perry - An expanded democracy for all is generally unwanted unless it is expansive as a Christian nation across all races and nationalities including all sub-cultures. WCN fear God's judgment and an upcoming future day of apocalypism.


How to Christian Laws Become Enshrined in American Institutions?

Corbin - The courts have allowed monuments to honor and revere Christian beliefs. It should rather open society up to all, even non-Christians. It continues to support WCN institutes of school prayer, Christian holidays, Nativity Scenes, giant crosses towering over highways, roads, etc. All these perpetuate the idea of supporting Christian beliefs as one with patriotic values. As versus the ACLU attempts to weaken these systematic Christian racisms to allow other religions and beliefs to be honored and considered.

Perry - American understanding of our Founding Documents have imbued their with Christian interpretation. Thus WCN builds and perpetuates misleading Christina beliefs. That they are divinely inspired, God empowered, etc. Thus Christian Nationalists believe America has become weaker, less godly, more pagan, in offending God.



How is WCN Connected to the Capitol Insurrection?

Butler - WCN have shown themselves to be more important than the general flag: Christian flags next to Trump flags, symbols of the Cross next to executionary guillotine, the battles with the police, the infamous prayer in the House Chambers. Such fervor are indicators of when nations fall because of disillusioned populace not in the name of Jesus but in the name of insurrection.

Du Mez - White privilege had leant itself to the feeling that it could create a national Coup because it was their white. We're in the Lord's Army (SS & VBS songs) being reenacted. The Diaz Prayer could be said on any white evangelical church in America on any given Sunday (words, rhythm, cadences, etc). Wall plagues: We Don't Call 911. I Kneel for the Lord, Stand for the Flag. We are Pro-Blue Lives Matter. Very militant. Very callous to others needs. Very idealistic re Christian manhood. 

Corbin - Christian Symbols + White Supremacist Symbols were coexisting together. Versus Critical Race Theory which is pointing out the privilege of white Christians to get away with these demonstrations. Entitlement, perceived victimhood, fear, anger = White Christian Fragility.

Butler - Evangelicals always have felt persecuted, that they are losing their privilege, and that they are the unrecognized group which needs to be taken care of, versus those that "don't deserve it."

Perry - Amen. See how white Christians blame others for racial instability: BLM, Antifa, etc all ruled out false and wrong but deeply believed in by white Christians. White justification for ungodly behavior.


What Should We as Christian be Paying Attention to re WCN?

Perry - Afghanistan Crisis. Refugee Crisis. WCN will refuse to help and continue to ignore the world's pain. Why? Their Muslims, a terrorist threat, except for Christian refugees.

Butler - All schools must begin teaching about what WCN is and why we must dissent, resist, and provide more democratic (and biblical) movement towards non-whites. We haven't seen the last of 1/06 Capitol Insurrection in the upcoming elections and denial of Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Du Mez - Talk, Talk, Talk about WCN. Create vocabulary. Discussion. Etc. Pay attention to sites of "cultural production" continuing to preach WCN (social media, news media, home school textbooks, Christian texts in school, televangelism, church, etc.). To provide more ethnographic studies and pay attention within our churches to: Rejectors, Distractors, Resistors, etc. to help churches with their racism.

Corbin - The existing Supreme Court will continue to accommodate, enable, and support WCN (Example: Hobby Lobby's case against women re contraceptives); continued support against LGBTQ groups as rights to discriminate by white Christians; religious liberty exemptions to impose their unbiblical Christian beliefs upon others.



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Amazon Link

Why do so many conservative Christians continue to support Donald Trump despite his many overt moral failings? Why do many Americans advocate so vehemently for xenophobic policies, such as a border wall with Mexico? Why do many Americans seem so unwilling to acknowledge the injustices that ethnic and racial minorities experience in the United States? Why do a sizeable proportion of Americans continue to oppose women's equality in the workplace and in the home?

To answer these questions, Taking America Back for God points to the phenomenon of "Christian nationalism," the belief that the United States is-and should be-a Christian nation. Christian ideals and symbols have long played an important role in American public life, but Christian nationalism is about far more than whether the phrase "under God" belongs in the pledge of allegiance. At its heart, Christian nationalism demands that we must preserve a particular kind of social order, an order in which everyone--Christians and non-Christians, native-born and immigrants, whites and minorities, men and women recognizes their "proper" place in society. The first comprehensive empirical analysis of Christian nationalism in the United States, Taking America Back for God illustrates the influence of Christian nationalism on today's most contentious social and political issues.

Drawing on multiple sources of national survey data as well as in-depth interviews, Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry document how Christian nationalism shapes what Americans think about who they are as a people, what their future should look like, and how they should get there. Americans' stance toward Christian nationalism provides powerful insight into what they think about immigration, Islam, gun control, police shootings, atheists, gender roles, and many other political issues-very much including who they want in the White House. Taking America Back for God is a guide to one of the most important-and least understood-forces shaping American politics.

Amazon Link

Jesus and John Wayne is a sweeping, revisionist history of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, revealing how evangelicals have worked to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism—or in the words of one modern chaplain, with “a spiritual badass.”

As acclaimed scholar Kristin Du Mez explains, the key to understanding this transformation is to recognize the centrality of popular culture in contemporary American evangelicalism. Many of today’s evangelicals might not be theologically astute, but they know their VeggieTales, they’ve read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, and they learned about purity before they learned about sex—and they have a silver ring to prove it. Evangelical books, films, music, clothing, and merchandise shape the beliefs of millions. And evangelical culture is teeming with muscular heroes—mythical warriors and rugged soldiers, men like Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and the Duck Dynasty clan, who assert white masculine power in defense of “Christian America.” Chief among these evangelical legends is John Wayne, an icon of a lost time when men were uncowed by political correctness, unafraid to tell it like it was, and did what needed to be done.

Challenging the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Trump in fact represented the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values: patriarchy, authoritarian rule, aggressive foreign policy, fear of Islam, ambivalence toward #MeToo, and opposition to Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community. A much-needed reexamination of perhaps the most influential subculture in this country, Jesus and John Wayne shows that, far from adhering to biblical principles, modern white evangelicals have remade their faith, with enduring consequences for all Americans.


Amazon Link
  
The American political scene today is poisonously divided, and the vast majority of white evangelicals play a strikingly unified, powerful role in the disunion. These evangelicals raise a starkly consequential question for electoral politics: Why do they claim morality while supporting politicians who act immorally by most Christian measures? In this clear-eyed, hard-hitting chronicle of American religion and politics, Anthea Butler answers that racism is at the core of conservative evangelical activism and power.

Butler reveals how evangelical racism, propelled by the benefits of whiteness, has since the nation's founding played a provocative role in severely fracturing the electorate. During the buildup to the Civil War, white evangelicals used scripture to defend slavery and nurture the Confederacy. During Reconstruction, they used it to deny the vote to newly emancipated blacks. In the twentieth century, they sided with segregationists in avidly opposing movements for racial equality and civil rights. Most recently, evangelicals supported the Tea Party, a Muslim ban, and border policies allowing family separation. White evangelicals today, cloaked in a vision of Christian patriarchy and nationhood, form a staunch voting bloc in support of white leadership. Evangelicalism's racial history festers, splits America, and needs a reckoning now.


The Gospel According to Sarah is a fascinating new look at a little understood but crucial side of Sarah Palin: her Pentecostal roots. Anthea Butler’s perfectly timed analysis trains the keen eye of a noted religion scholar on religious and political currents that have been widely caricatured but, until now, poorly understood and rarely discussed.

Butler shows that Palin’s widely publicized fumbles and verbal gaffes are irrelevant to her committed core of “Christians on steroids,” whose beliefs in miracles, literal readings of the Bible, and apocalyptic patriotism make traditional evangelicals like James Dobson and Pat Robertson seem almost mainstream. Although the media cannot hear the regular dog whistle of Christian buzzwords Palin uses to rally her base, it’s plainly there.

To Sarah Palin’s millions of devoted followers, religion is everything; to her detractors, it is a puzzle. The Gospel According to Sarah brilliantly deciphers this new breed of religious conservative.

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SESSION 1 - TRANSCIPT

REMAINING 20 MINUTES OF DISCUSSION WILL BE FOUND
IN THE SESSION TRANSCRIPT TOWARDS THE BOTTOM. TOO,
THE SPEAKERS HAVE NOT BEEN IDENTIFIED IN TRANSCRIPT.


Unknown 0:00
uses when we're trying to understand. White Christian nationalism and Dr. Butler I'll start with you, if that's okay.

Unknown 0:06
Yeah, thank you Andrew. Appreciate it. The with here with everyone. I think the way that I would define why Christian nationalism is a belief that Christianity is for basically white people. And that, for everyone else you need to accept the cultural ideas of what that Christianity means first of all. And then secondarily, that also means that you have a fealty to America and the definitions of America, that these white Christians believe it. In other words, it's not just about how you practice your Christianity, but it's a practice of Christianity that engages with the idea that whiteness is the driving force behind Christianity, first of all, and it's secondarily, America plays a special role in the way that Christianity is going to be lived out or read prophetically in the kind of ways people read Scripture. Yeah. Professor Corbin

Unknown 1:13
on your work. And, and so I define Christian nationalism as the belief that the United States is has always been and should always be the Christian nation. It's the belief that the United States has a special relationship with God. The Goddess, Christianity, of course, and that in order to meet God's favor the United States, as a society, including its government must uphold Christian values. In other words, it's pretty much the end of the Establishment Clause command to keep church and state, separate because Christian nationalism not only rejects separation of church and state, which lies at the heart of the First Amendment. Establishment Clause, but it believes in the complete overlap of Christianity. Yeah, Dr. Do me.

Unknown 2:10
Yeah, so I wrote my book while you were reading yours and so I didn't benefit from your definition but we came awfully close so I'm a cultural historian and I came up with a very simple definition just describing what I was seeing. And essentially it's the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation, and must be defended as. And that defense takes the form of defending Christian orthodoxy, as those in power define it. It involves defending the privilege space, like Christianity, within American society and it also involves defending America, in terms of foreign policy military and so forth, and the adjective white, and all of this is extremely important, as has already been stated very clearly in particularly by India here.

Unknown 3:05
Yeah. Yeah, I think, just, I concur with all of the panelists have said a little bit of nuance, I think I have also starting to think of Christian nationalism, both as a political theology that people hold at the individual level, but also a political strategy that that one doesn't necessarily need to hold to execute. So for example, white Christian nationalism, can be an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of American civic life a very particular kind of path to a size Christianity that white conservative Christians favor and feel like this is the definition of Christianity. And I think that's the kind that we're picking up in surveys, but I think what we see among say Donald Trump and, and I think his surrogates and people like him I don't necessarily believe any of this, you know, but they they're very effective at leveraging Christian nationalism as an ideology and utilizing it to be able to mobilize and and and to depend on that promotes and to into use it as a scare tactic and that kind of thing. And so, Christian nationalism both as as an ideology and a political strategy, both work hand in hand to bring about, I think. Favorite girls. Gotcha. Yeah, thank you all for that. And so, you know, having defined it now I think the next big question that I think all of us here, and especially after the insurrection, that some Christian leaders or politicians might love Yes, or worse, word is how prevalent really is white Christian nationals, right, is it just a fringe ideology right the people that are in the capital that's just the way on the outside, there isn't anything about like Christian nationalism that is prevalent in our society. and I think it's important to think through that, that question. So, you know, Dr Perry I'll come back to you, since you continue to gather data on white nationalists, can you share a bit about what we know right now. Concerning the prevalence of this political ideology, ideology, so how many Americans embrace it, you know where is it primarily located is it just. And then to open up to other panelists have thoughts as well about prevalence but sure I think so many people have done such excellent work in tracing the narratives of Christian nationalism historically and where it emerged, politically, theologically, and, and so I think if there's a unique contribution that we have Andrew and I'm coming to you and this sociologists and quantitative scholars and Christian nationalists have tried to try to tease out is, is, is, is making, making making estimates of Okay How common is this among American public and for that we draw on national surveys that allows us to ask Americans questions, and to see not just among leaders but the grassroots individuals. So what I'll do is I'll just share my screen and I think what, what I want to do is I want to set the bar high and not use something that might be indicative of Christian nationalism, like say someone's attitude toward prayer in public schools, or whether you think Christian values are a good thing. Those gives us that necessarily have to say Christian nationalism, but let's, let's use a really narrow definition somebody who thinks the federal government should declare us a Christian nation, I would consider my definition of Christian national so how common is that view and is that branches just take a quick look. All right, so this is real briefly what I've done here is I've just made a distribution, and this is adds up to 100% and so we can look at it from left to right, but this is the percentage of this population that believes the federal government should declare us a Christian nation pretty explicit like Christian nationalists statement. So among all Americans, You got a little over a quarter, between a quarter and 30% that agree with this statement, at some level, solidaire because I haven't defined this down at all. And so, you know you're looking over over a quarter of Americans at the very least you would affirm that statement at some level, when we start looking at all white Christians that starts to grow this is right at 45% now. Okay, so that's obviously not not a small group. When we get to white evangelicals we're looking at the vast majority,

Unknown 7:20
now we're looking at roughly

Unknown 7:22
about two thirds, white evangelicals who would. Oh, sorry, sorry, not not two thirds we're looking at well over 50% of white evangelicals who are in front of the statements but what I want to point to is is it's not just about being a white evangelical so we see it on white liberal Protestants who consider themselves not born again, evangelical Christians, why Roman Catholics, you got anywhere between 25% and 30%, and this is also what I want to point out, this is white, nothing in particular, people who have the option on a survey to say I'm a Christian or I'm whatever they say on nothing. They're the nuns. And here we see 16% This is about a sixth of the nuts. Now that's not a huge percentage but, but think about this 16% of the nuns say that they would favor the United States being defined formally as a, as a Christian nation, what we can take away from this at the very least, is that among evangelicals, it's the majority who would who would who would affirm a very explicit segment of Christian nationalism among white Catholics and mainline Protestants you're looking at over a quarter. At the very least, and even among people who are unaffiliated with Christianity. Christianity would say, a sixth level would say yes this is a good thing we ought to do that so this is I think where we're getting into Christian nationalism doesn't necessarily have to be Christian, you don't have to be a Christian to affirm it you certainly don't have to be an Evangelical, all you have to think is that this language of Christian Christianity and the national identity. That sounds like it favors people like me, and that's I think what we're really getting to in Christian nationalism is a kind of a language, and a mindset that says, This nation is for people like me with my traditions my views, my culture. Yeah. Wonderful. Thank you Sam for that. Yeah, other panelists, any thoughts on prevalence. Yeah, go ahead, Professor Corbin and then Dr. Butler.

Unknown 9:16
I think a disturbingly large number of people in this country are on board with the way that Christian nationalists sort of creates an in group of Christians, and an output of non Christians, so I think if you think about it, it's a true America is a Christian America than true Americans are Christians. And the flip side of that is that non Christians are not true Americans, and, and then suddenly number of Americans share this view. So looking at public opinion polls, about a third of Americans, one out of every three agree that being Christian is very important to being a true American, and about another 20% say that it's somewhat important. And I think the numbers might have gone down a bit in the most recent survey, but I still think that roughly half of Americans are walking around this country, believing that Christianity is a prerequisite to true belonging and citizenship, and all these people may not be as hard for white Christian nationalists. But enough of the ethos has seeped into their understanding of who is a real American and this is a this is a startling and not terrifying proposition. For those of us Americans. Yeah,

Unknown 10:40
I think that's that's really true and the other part of what I really like what you did there to show how many people who aren't really Christian so there's sort of the 16.5%, because I think that's actually crucial to understanding what happened on one six, right, because you have a lot of people there, they're like, they're not normal church goers, they're not regular church goers, but there's something about when we say Christian in America that connotes something to people in their head that they go past whether they believe in God or not, it's somehow equated with the right to be in power, the right to be the people who direct, other people in this country, and the right to make the rules, the way that they want to make them, and I have an example in my book that I wasn't quite used for nationalism, but I think it really works about an interracial couple who asked to get married at a place in Mississippi, and they were told that they couldn't because we only, we only do people who are Christians to sort of say, in other words that interracial marriage was wrong. First of all, And then secondarily, that you know you must not be Christian if you were going to marry outside of your race I eat white, right. So I think these are important kinds of things that your survey shows, and that we really need to pay attention to this because, as I used to call it, it's like, it's sometimes this is a mixture of the church going Christians the people who go every Sunday, and the people who are called NASCARs Christians who only are Christians, at you know, sort of like car events or football games and all this stuff with the pledge comes up or the Star Spangled Banner, and there's a prayer right those are those kinds of Christians, those are the people who identify that with a certain kind of nationalistic fervor.

Unknown 12:19
Yeah I would add that

Unknown 12:22
I think exactly I think in the garden country kind of bracket is helpful also to adjust the one of your initial questions you know how is this fringe. And that's where I think these, the survey data is certainly helpful, though, but also the category there that most intrigued me are the you know, somewhat, or the neutral or in terms of your, your book The accommodators write to me that that's where a lot of my interest focuses, because when you include those that's a very large swath so you can have the ambassadors, or those who strongly agree, really, you know, pushing the policies and shaping the conversation, but then you have a very large swath of Americans, and white Christians and white fn telescope in particular, who are going to go along with this we're going to identify why they're certainly not put on the brakes at all. And so that's the party that terrifies me Caroline. In terms of January 6 that's those are the dynamics that I was watching very closely I will also add that, you know, if you talk to your ordinary white of angelical and, and you suggest that they might be a white Christian nationalists either say absolutely not this is not terminology that they would use to describe themselves at all. And so you're probably going to get a lot of pushback there. But as it was suggested this is, this is just what it means to be Christian Right, it's just so much the air that they breathe is kind of mashup of Christian patriotism, and you know it's it's part of their home decor. It's the flags in the front of church, and this is just Christianity to them, and that is this privileged location of white Christianity white Christian nationalism.

Unknown 14:21
Just Just a quick follow up on that. we often get. We often get in our reactions to showing people the numbers numbers because it's disturbing and a lot of conservative Christian white conservative Christians be like, What are you accusing me of are you talking you're attacking me Are you saying, they really want us to put people in camps immediately like hey I'm a Christian nationalist or I'm a you know I like to define the person, rather than to talk about something that you're kind of falling into like an ideology like you can embrace

Unknown 14:48
more or less on a spectrum. And even though I think there are times to use the language you, you are a white Christian nationalist, I think I'm far more in favor of talking about the ideology and the belief system and that cultural

Unknown 15:02
framework that then I can explain to people, hey, this sounds a lot like Christian nationalism that you're embracing uncritically and rather than I think put them on the defensive immediately and say, I would consider you a white Christian nationalists that's who you are now I've clinically diagnosed you as, as, I think it's, it's far better to talk about like kind of the, the, I think the, the, the, the ideas and the beliefs that people are embracing, right, like you were talking about. Yeah, that's really great, thank you all for that insight and so you know now having defined it talking about prevalence, we know that where we are today we are products of our history and so I want us to look back. Next at the whole historical trajectory of white Christian nationalism, so the reality of much of the values narratives and symbols that you know kind of gotten put together and packaged up and really in some ways, you know, tell us kind of where we are today and how we see that spread across the population so Dr. Butler and Dr. Can you share with us. We know from your own work and understanding, and from historical perspective. Yeah, how did we arrive here today what is some of that. More recent or even further back historical trajectory that leads us to where we see much of Americans today. I want to go to Dr DNA first and then I'm going to follow up. I'll check on you

Unknown 16:32
to pitch it to you. Okay, so I'm a first, I'm a 20th century American, so keep that in mind. But you know history, history is about both continuity and change and I think that's important to keep in mind because if you want to look for continuity if you want to find the roots, you're going to find it you can go to the city upon a hill right because the Puritans you can can find it in terms of, you know defenses of slavery certainly also abolitionism if you want if you're looking at a more kind of prophetic Christian nationalism. You know we can discuss whether white Christian nationalism applies, or not you can certainly find it in late 19th, early 20th century discussions of American Empire. You can find it in the first world war right you can find iterations of it expressions of it but you can also find this continuity, I should I should also say, in terms of the American South right this kind of like Christianity as well. And so you definitely find antecedents and you can see some of these strands coming together in different ways. But in my own research. I also wanted to show the, the change over time because otherwise this can just all start to feel very inevitable. And so one of the things that I took pains to point out is if you look in the early 20th century, I mean here you have both liberal and conservative. Conservative Protestants who were embracing nationalism to varying degrees in the First World War, you had a number of conservative Protestants of angelical as if you will reject

Unknown 18:09
Christian nationalism

Unknown 18:11
and embrace pacifism, is one of the reasons that that surfaced a lot is America cannot be a Christian nation because to be a Christian means that your soul is saved and a nation does not have a soul. And besides, look around you. Things aren't looking at that Christian, and so just keep that that change over time in mind, is really helpful, where I see things really come together in in the shape and form that is very recognizable to us today is really in mid century 1940s coming together in the Second World War, but really solidifying in the Cold War era, and, and this is where you can see, the idea of Christian America really jelling in terms of anti communism because communists were anti God, and they were anti family right and they were anti American and it was a military threat and so you need a military defense, and that really unified a lot of Americans in the late 40s In the early 1950s, those core values, but then the 1960s. And we have the civil rights movement, we have the feminist movement and we have the Vietnam War, anti war movement, and this is one of those core values really become oppositional values, and it's conservative white Christians in particular who double down when many other Americans start to question American goodness and American greatness and question, white privilege, white supremacy and all that comes together and so our current iteration, it really has to be rooted in that historical moment, the 1960s this backlash and it's moving to his core identity. And so for Americans who are embracing white Christian nationalism today, they do so with a feeling of threat. They are under siege, there is a loss that has happened. Things were great, up until the 1960s and then things fell apart and so we have to make America great again. You're here to break the whiteness is absolutely critical here because that narrative makes absolutely, absolutely no sense to somebody who is not white.

Unknown 20:17
And I would deliberately last for different reason and you'll see why I decided, I think about this, almost in a way, about how to describe what other people think Christian nationalism is right, and so I just taught a class this summer for a week on black nationalism, and I think what's very interesting is to look at people who want to be outside of this American context, and what they think this white Christian nationalism is. So I'm thinking about you know whether that's the Nation of Islam, back to Africa movements in the 19th century with people like Henry Weil Turner and others. These are the people who are fighting against whatever it is this thing, you know, puts its head up to be right. And so I think that's a really crucial part if you want to include something in that it's not black nationalism, but I think we have to think about the religions in the last clause, and post slavery to really consider what that construction is because if we have a southern kind of construction that talks about God in country in very different ways than what the North thinks about it, then that hat actually is defining lots of the ways in which Christian nationalism shows up in the 20th century, especially in the south where you know Billy Graham is or where we have, you know, citizens groups and all these kinds of groups that want to instantiate a certain kind of Christianity. But there's one more thing to say and I think this is really important for what we're talking about in terms of how we think about this in an, in a scholarly kind of way. I think the way people have thought about Christian nationalism before, has been through groups like storefront and other people who have been written about you know, in the late 80s and early 90s As this beginning of, you know, we got to watch these nationalistic groups that are out in Idaho and all these other places. But then what happens at 911 is that you get a certain kind of Christian nationalism, that is against everything else that is outside of this country that is trying to destroy the nation right. So we think about what's happening, you know, in terms of kind of the conversation around Afghanistan right now. You can see some of this Christian nationalism rising in the conversations around what has happened in Afghanistan. But I do think that, you know, Donald Trump and the Make America Great Again, kind of thing this declension narrative about America isn't what it used to be. We've got to get back to what it was what Kristin was talking about in the 70s forward, is a really important point about why Christian nationalism encompasses so many more people now than it did before because before it was just like, Oh, we're just patriots we believe in God and country, and now it's like, we believe in God and country, and we want those other people come here, and we need to go figure out how we're going to take over the rest of the world and make sure that they don't take us first.

Unknown 23:03
Thank you. Anything for supporting Dr Perry with the back question the circular trajectory.

Unknown 23:11
I'm not a historian and but one historical tidbit that I find really does help with some of the things we've heard is that at one point in the United States, You could only become naturalized as a citizen, if you were white. And one of the ways they determined whether you were white or not, was whether. And so there was a real equivalence with whiteness and Christianity. And it was only when African Americans started converting to Christianity, that there was a turn to a hierarchy based on rather than religion, but I just, I remember reading that and be really struck by the long history of whiteness and

Unknown 24:02
just wait I think the idea that like the declension narrative of the Marga nation is going downhill fast and we've got to do something to pull it out of this nosedive. I think that that that probably helps explain a little bit of why there is such a close connection between we find this in surveys actually dispensational premillennialism like and and and Christian nationalists, that this narrative that well everything's gonna go to hell in a handbasket, this is part of like God's Kingdom you know coming here and like it's all going to go downhill and this is really what we see and we're looking forward to everything, everything is going down. And this story of redemption and trying to stave off Lord Jeffers, Trump's Trump's kind of main hype man during his administration community was, was, was, was often saying we this is part of what's got to happen is we can we can try to take the country back and stave off judgment as long as possible but what we're witnessing is is is all in the Bible and what's supposed to go down. Yeah, thank you very much. So, Professor Corbin, I want to come back to you and that historical tivity you shared I think is, is incredible to hear and then really wants to have a larger conversation as well with how these values and narratives and white Christian nationalism became enshrined in law. And so, you know, with your work, and expertise on various aspects of our legal system first amendment constitutional law. What are some of those can you give us some content or context, right, that, that really helps show how this became a part of the air we breathe, legally to and how the US functions.

Unknown 25:55
Well there's, there are a lot of different ways to answer that but I think one of the best examples is the way that the law has reflected and promoted Christian nationalism is the way the Supreme Court has interpreted the establishment clause to allow government sponsored Christianity whether monuments, prayers, things that really ought to be unconstitutional. I think they really could violate the Establishment Clause and again that's the religion clause, but the First Amendment, long associated with separation of church and state. And one of the core mandates of the establishment clause is that the government should not favor one religion over, avoiding favoritism among religions not only protects religious minorities from discrimination and second class citizen it actually protects the integrity of the favorite decision as well. Yet despite this, again and again the Supreme Court has committed the government to prefer Christianity night was Christianity, creating a hierarchy based on religion and exactly the hierarchy sought by white Christian. And again this is particularly obvious in the Supreme Court's decisions, rejecting Establishment Clause challenges to government Christian monuments. And even in the decisions you can see, grounds of Christian nationalism, or maybe I should say the Supreme Court's reasoning sometimes further advance Christian nationalist views may be a little more specific. So for example, there are hundreds of Christian 10 commandments on government property around the United States and their Christian not Jewish commandments are different. And while the Supreme Court has not allowed, every display it's allowed a lot of them, and it does so on the grounds that the 10 commandments have played an important role in our nation. Right and that kind of reasoning system that was you that Christianity is inextricably linked in our nation and in our wall. Despite the fact that constitution says nothing about Christianity. Or another example with a nativity scenes that you see in villages and towns and cities across the country during Christmas season, which, in the United States last few weeks if not months. And again these are government nativities not private ones. And again when a challenge on the establishment brawls grounds, sometimes the Supreme Court will strike it down. But if you surround the nativity scene with a few snowman and candy canes and Santa Claus. It's fine for the government to put up a depiction of the birth and adoration of Jesus. And again the reasoning given is, well, it's just showing it just celebrating the holiday season, or showing the historical origins of Christmas Bates you have the Supreme Court describing the religious event as a historical fact, or one more Christian display. The most recent one, a giant 40 foot cross on public property. Towering over the middle of a busy public highway. Again, the Supreme Court, allow this government cross arguing to be understood as a World War One Memorial meant to commemorate the patriotic sacrifices of those who died in the First World War, and even assuming that a giant Latin cross could have a secular, meaning the acquainting of a Christian symbol with each notic values is exactly what Christian nationalists greatest equating of American with Christian. Um, so we see this not only with Christian monuments, but with Christian prayer, which the Supreme Court has often also upheld against Establishment Clause, challenges, and it's really, it's hard to come up with a better example of Christian nationalism in practice, then government sponsored Christian prayers. So there was a case town of Greece versus Galloway, where the Supreme Court said it's fine that most of your prayers, your prayers before the town meetings are Christian, even if people have protested against them because legislative prayer states.

Unknown 30:23
So I think the way the Supreme Court has allowed all this tight link between the government and Christian monuments and Christian prayers, clearly reflects the existing Christian nationalism, but it also perpetuates it as well. And again, the Supreme Court. It happens I'm not saying to stop it, but it hasn't done nearly enough. And I think its decisions allowing it really sort of cement that link, so crucial to white Christian nationalism, between our nation, and Christianity. And that's just the Establishment Clause jurisprudence.

Unknown 31:01
Thank you so much. Other thoughts or comments from our panelists on that, or professor Corbin starts there. And it's okay if not we'll, we'll continue on with a connection to that but I just don't want to limit. Well I mean to connect with, with what a professor program say Sam, you've gathered some data on Americans understandings of the founding documents. First Amendment those types of things and so we can see how the Supreme Court shapes, legally, what, what is going to happen and be allowed, but then to we know that what Americans think about it or believe about or whether it's true or not, can play a really big role as well and so curious. You can tell us a little bit about white Christian nationalism and how they interpret some of those laws in the Constitution. Right, so I think something, something we've been shocked as we feel that these various surveys and ask been able to ask questions and really ask questions about whether whether Americans understand what's in the Constitution at all, and how it connects with Christian nationals because I frankly feel like Christian nationalism both builds on historical misunderstandings of what happened historically what's in the founding documents, but also perpetuates those things and I'll just give you a quick example because I appreciate so much with that information share. There we go. Okay, so really quickly. This is across the bottom of the step save Christian nationalism statements and we do see this as the two questions on the side. They believe the founding documents were divinely inspired, and they believe the Constitution references our obligations to God. Reference references our country's obligations to God several times and it does not, but it doesn't mention God or anything like that but as we see as the more you refer this Christian nationalist statement, you're far more likely not only to think the founding documents were divinely inspired, but also to hold a false understanding of what's actually in the Constitution in the First Amendment. So how prevalent is this though and how pervasive do we see this this misunderstanding. This is the founding, this is the founding documents. This is the divine inspiration declaration in the Constitution. And I just want to point out, it's, you know, among all white Christians we do see a slight majority, among all white Christians having this view that the founding documents are divinely inspired among white evangelicals. It's almost, it's, it's basically half who strongly agree that the founding documents were divinely inspired nearly three quarters, agree with it, but basically half strongly agree with that statement. Well what about this, this false understanding of the Constitution referencing our country's obligations to God. This was a true false statement we asked him one of our servings and we see a little over, goodness, I can't keep up believe this to be true that the Constitution references our country's obligations to God, and we're approaching two thirds of why evangelicals, believe this and I think this is powerfully connected to Christian nationalism their tendency to to embrace this ideology that there really depends on God being very much so connected with our founding documents, and also a persecution complex feeling like you know what the Supreme Court has taken this from us and these liberal activist judges have robbed us of this and this is what the nation is all about and so I think it's been fascinating to see how both of these things kind of build on Christian nationalism building on a historical misunderstanding and really a historical fundamentalism. And also, how it, not only builds on it but it supports that and it reproduces that that's what we see with David Gardner Focus on the Family and those kinds

Unknown 34:48
of things as well. Your reactions to some of what I think this kind of segues into the next kind of question that I have for you all.

Unknown 35:08
In this understanding of who we are as a nation through our wall and, and what our founding documents say has implications for today. And by today, you know, even just this year. Turning to the January 6 Capital insurrection. So you've all written and spoken about that day, and I would love to hear from Richard and thinking in terms of, you know what you've already discussed already, but even the last things discussed by Professor Corbin and Dr Perry. Yeah, what what did we witness and how is white Christian nationalism connected to what we saw there. And so if it's okay Dr Vogler would you, would you mind starting us off, and kind of connecting to these current events.

Unknown 35:51
You know, I sort of made a joke but it wasn't a joke on Twitter that day when I said this is why boys wilding out. And, you know, it wasn't funny. Let me just put it that way but I think you know what we did see was this idea about Christian nationalism, coming to the fore. In other words, at the Capitol, taking a, you know, deciding that they could take over, instead of the elected officials, instead of democracy instead of everything else. And I think one of the things that's important is to think about the Christian symbolism that was there that day, the cross next to the gaiety the signs of that Jesus the the you know the Christian flags, alongside the Trump flags, the kinds of things that people said, but all of that, and I think this is really important for people to understand is that for a lot of people they thought one six was an aberration, but there was lots that went into one six, we had Jericho marches we had, you know, political figures and religious figures, talking about how they were going to take back America, long before one six happened, and there were a group of us paying attention to that. But I think that the general public, nor did the journalist pay attention to this because he didn't understand how to understand that language, right, and they didn't know what it was that they were seeing. So when we got to one six, and you had, you know the tremendous battles that happened with the Capitol Police and the kinds of things that were said and done in the Capitol, and that you know infamous prayer, right, that happened in the chambers. I think what people need to understand is that and this is going to be hard for people to hear, but I think people need to hear it, that these kinds of movements this kind of idealism this kind of fervor, is just the same kind of fervor that you've seen in other countries, what countries begin to fall. And when democracies fail, and when and when people lose themselves in the idealism of a certain kind of rightness and net rightness has been, you know, reinforced by political figures and disinformation and all of this that come together to make this noxious stew. That is supposed to be in the name of Jesus, but is actually in the name of this direction.

Unknown 38:09
Yeah, I could add to that, I dangerous so this is this is where that question of, you know what is friends, and what is meets three really does come into focus. and I was really taken by Oh, first I agree that there was almost this like cosplay feeling to the whole event, even as it was being filmed as you can see on some of these men's faces that they weren't really sure this is like a bunch of fun right this is a joke, and they're storming the Capitol and attempting a que, I mean, talk about privilege there that you can you can kind of do both at the same time. And then, yes, there's the, the symbolism. The the cross the Christian flag, the patches of the armor of God which I looked up online and they're popular items for vacation Bible school, or anybody who's gone to vacation bible school you know I'm in the Lord's army and you can mark around and things like that so again you know, friends, and, and where you send your kids for free summer daycare, and actually the, the prayer on the, on the floor of the Senate was one thing I was most taken by the prayer offered by the proud boys on their way to the Capitol. Earlier that day, because you can just make it out on the video and the New Yorker video and, and it struck me as that prayer could have been offered in any evidence on any given Sunday. It was just so familiar the cadences, the words, all of it. And, and so your doctor brought this right this is, this is what has brought us to that, this place, and what has brought so many American Christians to a place that they are unable to unequivocally condemn the actions of this view on January 6 has is really where, where we should be focusing a lot of our attention on one of the things that I like to do in my spare time is visit my local hobby lobby, it's just a mile down the road. And I just pulled up some of my pictures I've written about this at The Daily Beast but you can, You know I mentioned, home decor. Earlier today, and I mean just some examples you can get a wall plaque of two six shooters that says we don't call 911 with bullets for the 911, you can get walpack to say if you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them. And of course the ubiquitous, I kneel for the Lord, stand for the flag plaque so you can get a whole shelf of pro military pro law enforcement all the figurines are white, I noticed in the law enforcement area. Right, so this is, these are again, these, these unspoken values, not just a Christian nationalism, but again, this militant defense of Christian America, you know, Christian men's groups have been participating in boot camps for generations now have been consuming this very kind of militant ideal of Krishna manhood. And now the question is you know is this all in good fun. Is this something to kind of lock out or roll your eyes that or in what ways is this both reflect and shape some core values that then we can see acted out in their extreme forms on January 6 began how many we saw that in the survey data, how many of those white evangelicals who embrace those views are going to find a find it within them to say, this is where I draw the line. So,

...

Unknown 0:00
As hostility and even attack again because the privilege don't realize that they're simply moving towards equality. And so there's this really potent combination of entitlement and perceived victimhood and fear and anger.

Unknown 0:18
And so, right, this is sort of the typical reaction of white Christian fertility so I don't know how much of that lays behind the insurrection. We're simply white Christian nationalism in general, but I definitely think it's an important part of the story. And I'll just respond to that very quickly before Samuel. Yeah, it's really important but let's let's put this together and make it look like a Lego okay, what you just said is really true, but it's also true that there's a narrative of a geocells that they've always been persecuted, so that persecution narrative lined up with this other thing, creates a powerful mix of very powerful mix. So when you have people who feel like they're persecuted, they feel like they're losing their privilege, and as a matter of fact, as many of them have said they feel like they are the ones now, who are the undeserved you know, the unrecognized group, that group that needs to be taken care of, you have a situation that creates the kind of mess that we saw on one set, and that's what it is, it really is, you know, the loss of privilege, the idea that I'm losing something that I'm not gonna be able to get back to some other people who don't deserve it. and I'm always persecuted anyway because I'm a Christian. So all of that just makes for a very powerful mix. Absolutely.

Unknown 1:42
Yeah. Just Amen to all of that, I think, Just real briefly, I think we surveyed Americans on February, early February, just after Biden's inauguration and so people insurrection was still fresh in everybody's minds and I just want to show you quickly and, because I think this dovetails with a lot of what you're talking about like I want you to see how quickly this, the how quickly Christian nationalism flips from this is something that was Trump's fault Trump's instigation to people of color spot and and and and this is and this is. So, I'll just give you a couple examples in here I don't use the same question I'll just use our scale when we do, taking America back as we, we organized into four categories rejecters resistors accommodators and ambassadors ambassadors being true believers of Christian nationalism, so real quick so this is for questions. President Trump holds much of the blame for the event escalating the violence, violence was the result of misinformation spread by Trump and others so rejecter is high on this ambassador is almost nobody basically 10% of ambassadors would admit something up, but look at look at look at the opposite trend over here, outside agitators like anti fun Black Lives Matter were mixed into the crowd and started the violence obviously false proven false and demonstrably untrue and yet we see over 80% basically 85% of white ambassadors believing this to be true and given that there's a racial bias and looting America witnessed in the summer of 2020 So, real quick to pivot, and to say, hey, that was nothing, you know, January 6 It wasn't Trump's fault anyways, really was Black Lives Matter and and. And by the way.

Unknown 3:25
Last summer was so much worse than anything we witnessed at the at the Capitol, and I think those things have to be connected. Carefully from from where to blame. We did anything wrong to know by the way, it's actually the dangerous. The dangerous out of control wildly minorities who are at the core of it.

Unknown 3:47
As I said that they had to be any black person, you know, a group of black people out there on that lawn, it would have never gotten up to this depth again. We all know this. So that's, I mean, I love seeing that, but I hate seeing it at the same time because it just proves how this information has really influenced people, and how that is used as a weapon to continue to make these kinds of divisions.

Unknown 4:13
That's a good point. Now I know we're getting close here and I knew we would run out of time and I want to get to questions from those attending. But before we do that I would like again to direct this question to all of you. And, you know, in kind of a succinct way if you can.

Unknown 4:32
Looking ahead, you know, to those in your various fields of study or across academia, what should they be paying attention to, with white Christian nationalism, whether it's our historical understandings that need further exploration for Sam, no other arenas of public life, that we find white Christian nationalism as a major influence or professor COVID legal scholars, where, where else we need to or direct attention I would love to hear. And I think those attending to with within this academic realm, what work is still needed to be done. And so if it's okay. Sam, do you want me to start with you. Yeah, can I just, I'll just get mine out of the way and I want to hear from my fellow panelists here So, real quick, I shared this on Twitter today because I think it really is what we're dealing with so the Afghanistan crisis, we're going to deal with the refugee crisis and, and how do we solve this, this problem of all these people running for their lives and we need to help them. Christian nationalism is going to be powerfully associated with us, refusing to our using to help any of these, any of these people and I'll just give you an example of where we see this we see this in recent data that we collected as recently as February so let me just go to this, this is across federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation, and this is us should decrease the number of refugees, America should cease accepting Muslim refugees should pass a law to prevent causing refugees were a terrorist threat they pose a threat to traditional values they drain the economy as Christian nationalism increases, all of these attitudes, increase anti anti anti refugee, except for one group. Look at the Reverend right here. That's Christian refugees.

Unknown 6:13
So attitudes don't change as Christian nationalism increases your at your Christian refugees does nothing but Muslim refugees or anywhere else, that actually, as you're powerfully opposed to those kinds of things so I think this is actually something that we're going to have a national conversation about need to pay attention to.

Unknown 6:33
Yeah, thank you.

Unknown 6:37
Yeah, I'll go ahead and jump in, I think one of the things that's really important right now for people who are in either religious studies environments or divinity or seminary schools is to realize you need to start talking about Christian nationalism and teaching about what it is, because I think that a lot of your students have these ideas, and they don't even know that they have them, right, first of all and so you have to sort of introduce them to the fact that this is the way that this works right or this is not quite the way that you feel Christianity in its purest kind of form there is a pure form, we can think about it, You know that these are American ideals and these are ideas that you see on Facebook or Twitter or tick tock or all these other places. First of all, I think there's a, there's a way in which we really have to start talking about this and thinking about how we talk about nationalism more broadly and in my field of African American religious history we have to, because we talk about this all the time in terms of, you know the history of black America, but I think for, you know, a broader history of America writ large, we really do have to start talking about this, and writing about it more and I will say this because I'm a pessimist. We have not seen the last one, six, and that is just the truth, it's, it's going to come back in another kind of way, I'm looking ahead to the 22 election and especially the 24 election, what is happening right now with COVID and all these kinds of things and the ways in which people are fighting about math because that in itself is a naturalistic kind of conversation to whether we like it or not. And I think that more of us need to, you know, step it up let's put it that way and put our voices out here, not just in the scholarly ground but in the public sphere to talk about how detrimental these things really are.

Unknown 8:25
I agree. To position to write negative yes or document. Yeah, I agree that we need to talk about it and your candor and salmons really helped, I think, give a vocabulary and facilitate that conversation over the past year, it's been, it's been really important in that respect, I think that we need to see things like the anti CRT movement as simply the latest expression of white Christian nationalism obviously this did come out of nowhere. So, to situate it appropriately. I also think that, you know we can continue to pay attention to, signs of cultural production, where are these values really house where how do people learn these, These beliefs, how did they come to embrace Christian nationalism.

Unknown 9:23
Catherine Wellman has a new book coming out soon hijacking history. That is a incredible presentation, highly detailed presentation, essentially white Christian nationalism in homeschool textbooks and and these materials that are used in Christian schools. And, you know, again, in popular culture from home decor to Christian radio are very important televangelism all these like we have to. These tend to be off the radar for people who are not in these communities, but it's really hard to overstate the significance of, of this, this kind of cultural and religious and political formation. Finally, I think that it would be very, very helpful to have some more ethnographic studies, to understand how, how, you know, take your, your categories from ambassadors to rejecters and everything in between all those can actually be found within the same church within the same community or within the same family and so I'm always intrigued by what explains within these common spaces, how some could become diehard ambassadors and others resistors in it, what can change somebody what can shift somebody from one category towards another on this spectrum. And so I think we could use some very, very careful ethnographic work.

Unknown 11:01
And, sadly I don't anticipate much improvement so first I don't see this Supreme Court curbing government sponsored Christianity, anytime soon. And second, I fear that this Supreme Court will continue to decide, religious liberty cases in ways that contribute to the flourishing of white Christians.

Unknown 11:24
I think the Supreme Court will bend over backwards to accommodate Christian employees and employers and Christian businesses for seeking religious liberty exemptions from laws designed to produce quality. So, you know this is not your grandmother's religious liberty exemptions, where you had a religious minority, like a Jewish man who wants an exemption from dress codes so that he can wear his yarmulke. Instead, you're looking at cases or exemptions, like the one the Supreme Court granted to Hobby Lobby stores, speaking of Hobby Lobby, right, where you had a billion dollar company, get an exemption from health care requirements, provide certain cancer shots into women.

Unknown 12:14
And so now we have women who can't get basic health care and so, again, there are many Kristus business owners many Christians, social service organizations also who want a religious break to discriminate against LGBT to clients and customers. And I think this ties to white Christian nationalism for popular reasons. First, these exemptions are usually thought by white Christians.

Unknown 12:45
Right, so their religious objectors who were winning the right for us health care or the right to discriminate are almost all wait. And I don't think enough has been made of this back. And secondly, these kinds of exemptions. Religious Liberty exemptions that the Supreme Court seems to be on board, granting around the more powerful Christian employers Christian organizations that sort of impose their beliefs on others.

Unknown 13:19
So, I think, under both the Establishment Clause and religious which of course has really enabled through law, The promotion of white Christian values.

Unknown 13:34
Thank you all for that. Right, and so we have a bit of time left so I'm going to turn to some questions, and I've been trying to scroll through the q&a, the pics somehow and kind of see what people are asking and so we'll do these it's kind of a quick hit.

Unknown 13:52
Yeah, there are no one of you and then we'll move on to the next one to try and get as many as we can. But okay so here's my first question.

Unknown 14:01
A number of the people that are with us today, you will say white American shouldn't matter, right, so what's the difference with white Christian nationalism and patriotism. So can one of you dive in and help us kind of distinguish that. So that, yeah. Are we not supposed to be patriotic or love our country. Now I'll just quick take those now be patriotic but it depends on how we define the country it defines how we define who we are, right, that's That's key here, who are real Americans who are true Americans, and you can have a patriotism that is inclusive of patriotism that it particularly within the nation, and then we can talk about what a healthy patriotism looks like in terms of international relations as well. But yeah, patriotism, love of country is not a bad thing. And and that's I think why often we're distinguishing white Christian nationalism, we're not talking about patriotism and one could argue that patriotism must entail a love, love a country, a desire to improve, and even a prophetic vision of kind of achieving our aspirational ideals.

Unknown 15:18
Yeah, so I would say patriotism is. Yay, America is great Christian nationalism is America is Christian and Christian Americans are great.

Unknown 15:30
Yeah, thank you both for that. Okay, next one. The census shows that the white population is declining as a proportion of our country. What implications might this have for white Christian nationalism in the United States.

Unknown 15:48
You know, I'm gonna say something here and I know Senator will have something really good to say here.

Unknown 15:53
I think that this has been latched on to as a way to put fear into people, right, we've been seeing this demographic change for a long time. And I think that the ways in which this is rolled out in the media is almost, you know, it isn't a way to make white people afraid like I'm losing my country and so the very people that we might be talking about today why Christian nationalists will get galvanized by that particular you know census poll, because you know half the people didn't fill out the census anyway because they hate the government. So, I mean, do we really know. I mean, this is sort of my question here is like do we even really know the numbers and. And if that is the case and that may be the case, then what does that mean in terms of civic engagement. I think that, you know, the previous question about patriotism that say whether we can't be patriotism versus nationalism, patriotism and nationalism are two different things. But one of the things that's really important is who do you think is a citizen, who do you think gets to be involved. Who do you think has the right to be able to say, God bless America. Right. You know, so I think we have to ask ourselves these kinds of questions when we see this kind of falling happen and to try not to put fear into people about what they think they're losing rather now that I got nothing to add to that.

Unknown 17:14
Thank you. Now, the Australians on our panel, understand the value of nostalgia, how powerful that can be and is, and it's usually owned by those on the right, generally politically. And so what can be done by scholars academics are those engaging this in the public sphere to kind of read the valid drives or present a different narrative for for Americans to latch on to that maybe moves us away from white Christian nationalism towards, kind of, as the person asked this question talking about kind of the happy better portions of, of what it means to be American, what, what might be done what can be done what what

Unknown 17:58
story and it's not going to be happy.

Unknown 18:01
Let's just get that out there right right now that it's you know, happy and historian do not come in the same sentence, right, because we're going to tell you the truth, and I think that one of the things I mean I want to bring up what Kristin said about you know CRT being another tool in this toolbox about why Christian nationalism. I mean, the work that I do every day just to teach after every religious history would be called, you know, they do CRT, and I'm like, is it CRT for me to show you know, the kinds of things that Billy Graham said or is it is it CRT for me to show the you know the Citizens Council, from Mississippi, you know, is it CRT for me to show you know a segregation school and to talk about Bob Jones, so I you know, there's ways we can play with this, but I think that what people need to understand is that we need a fullness of history, not just the happy histories that we want to tell ourselves about America because this, this focus on nostalgia is why we're in this problem in the first place we are back in the 50s people did take their polio vaccine. Now we can't get anybody to take a COVID vaccine that's for free that will save their lives. So you know, I'd like to have some nostalgia about having common sense, that would be great too, we can think in terms of aspiration, ideals, I mean look at the 1619 project and I think it's often this this misperception. On the right, that I mean, just because we're looking at, negative things in history that we are dour and depressed individuals, if not inspires hope and change right change that we can be better, we have some ideals yes we failed yes we've failed repeated that we've also had so many examples of people who have who have pushed for greater liberty and justice for all. And that can be our tradition that can be our narrative and don't you want to participate in that. Yeah, so I was going to, that was what I was gonna say I think we have certain ideals in our Constitution, that we have never yet achieved, but it's something that we have them. And to the extent we want to build the mythology we can try and build the mythology, on promising equality hoping for equality for all and really emphasizing the fact that we have come from all over, and that we have people, you know, we have so many different sort of the, sort of, we welcome all. I mean, we haven't, we don't. But if you're talking about a more beneficial mythology that probably the mythology, I would go for.

Unknown 20:41
I would actually just the only thing I would add is three books that are talking about these, these, these things, recent, recent books so Jill before is this America case for the nation. I think she talks about this creedal patriotism that can unite, Americans shrinks historians I'll be writing about as well. Steven Smith and Yale political philosopher, reclaiming patriotism in an age of extremes, fantastic book and also Samuel Goldman after nationalism, also argues for like a creedal patriotism and so I would say if somebody is looking for a start of like what's the way forward, we kind of unite around this aspirational, patriotism, I think these are three recommendations I get initial. Yeah, thank you all there were there a couple of more really great questions that I wanted to get to but hopefully in our next session that we'll get to those. How can we be, how can people be Christian without being Christian nationalists, or how can they resist the persecution narrative but I think what we'll need to do now to allow everybody to move to the next one is to start to wrap this up and so first I want to say thank you to each of you for taking the time today to share your expertise. I'm really grateful for that. And I encourage the attendees to find each of our panelists, through social media and buying their books and supporting their work. It's really important. They're doing really credible important work and so grateful for them. And to those of you that joined us, thank you so much for your interests, for all your questions, I mean there were, what's the number now 135 All those. But thank you for taking time and so be sure to register for session two, because they're going to build on this word.

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