An Introduction to White Christian Nationalism

In this episode we focus on White Christian Nationalism and why it’s an existential threat not only to religious freedom for all but also a to democracy then we hear a keynote speech given by DR. ANTHEA BUTLER at the recent Summit for Religious Freedom

Episode 76: An Introduction to White Christian Nationalism

We take a very deep dive into the topic of White Christian Nationalism and why it is an existential threat to the religious freedom for all of us. Then we hear from keynote speaker Dr. Anthea Butler at the recent Summit for Religious Freedom, who well versed on the danger we are facing.

[01:00] What is Christian Nationalism?
[16:55] Keynote speech by Dr. Anthea Butler

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A Concise Introduction to Christian Nationalism

Dr. Anthea Butler Bio and Resume

White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America


Click Here to Read Full Transcript

[0:01] This is Glass City Humanist, a show about humanism, humanist values, by a humanist. Here is your host, Douglas Berger. In this episode, we focus on white Christian nationalism and why it’s an existential threat not only to religious freedom for all, but also to democracy. Then we hear a keynote speech given by Dr. Anthea Butler at the recent Summit for Religious Freedom. Glass City Humanist is an outreach project of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie, building community through compassion and reason for a better tomorrow.

[0:37] Music.

[0:59] Coming up on May the 4th is the National Day of Reason. It was originally founded as a counterpoint to the National Day of Prayer that happens on, I believe it’s the first Thursday of May or something like that. I don’t remember. But it’s the National Day of Reason.

[1:21] And the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State hosted their Summit for Religious Freedom on the weekend of April the 14th and 15th. And one of the keynote speakers they had was Dr. Anthea Butler. And she wrote a book called White Evangelical Racism, the Politics of Morality in America. And she did a really good presentation about white Christian nationalism, which is a big danger in this country. And she was not very optimistic. She’s not really optimistic about our political situation right now. She said that we are in the most dangerous situation. Point that we’ve ever been in as a country in losing our democracy. And she points the finger directly at white Christian nationalists. And so what I wanted to do is, one of the things that she put me onto was a document.

[2:34] It’s from the Interfaith Alliance, Protecting Faith and Freedom. them. And I’m not sure when this was published, probably 2022. Yeah, this was published in September of 2022. And it’s a concise introduction to Christian nationalism. So I kind of wanted to go over some of this information with you to know what we’re talking about when we talk about Christian nationalism and why a National Day of Reason, why reason is important in the first place. And it’s not just because we’re in danger of losing our democracy. But it opens up this document. It’s a short document. How many pages? Four pages? Yeah, it’s only four pages. And it has some bibliography later of other books that you can read and things like that about it. But it’s a concise introduction. It says, for millions of Americans, the January 6th insurrection demonstrated the potent threats our nation faces from anti-democratic forces. While the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol included self-identified Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and other far-right groups, some of the most indelible images from that day prominently featured religious symbols and language. In the aftermath, many are coming to understand the threat of Christian nationalism for the first time.

[4:02] And then the Interfaith Alliance is a national advocacy organization that champions an inclusive vision of religious freedom, protective of people of all faiths and none. So, you know, they get it. The Interfaith Alliance get, I’ve probably detailed my problems with the term interfaith, but this group seems to, they understand it. They understand what true interfaith is. It also includes people who have no faith. It says Americans adhered to nearly 3,000 religious and spiritual traditions. Actually, it’s over 4,000. I did, when I did another podcast episode about it, I came up with like, no, I know what it was. I wrote a letter in support or against a bill in the Ohio legislature. And I found information that there’s over 4,000 religious and spiritual traditions. And all of these are protected by the First Amendment. And it’s protected by the First Amendment right to believe as we choose without fear of discrimination or harm. The Establishment Clause safeguards this diversity of belief by setting out the expectation that the government won’t play favorites among religious traditions or favor religion over non-religion.

[5:22] It says, Christian nationalism rejects these constitutional guarantees, instead seeking to privilege Christians above all others. Drawing on recent scholarship and thought leadership around religion, the First Amendment, and racial justice, this primer offers an introduction into this ideology and the distinct threat its proponents pose to our pluralistic democracy. And so then it defines what Christian nationalism is. All right. And this is important. It says, Christian nationalism is a cultural framework that conflates American identity with an exclusive form of religious identity.

[6:02] Rooted in the myth that we are founded as a Christian nation and therefore enjoy special favor by God, proponents of Christian nationalism seek a fusion of religious and civil life to the detriment of both. Both Christian nationalism incorporates anti-democratic notions of white supremacy, nativism, patriarchy, and authoritarianism, seeking to concentrate power in a select group. And Katherine Stewart, who wrote a book called The Power of Worshippers Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, notes that because Christian nationalism is identified, or more accurately, because it identifies itself with a religion, the movement is often understood as a set of religious and or theological positions. But she emphasizes Christian nationalism is first and foremost a political movement. Its principal goal and the goal of its most active leaders is power.

[7:03] By infusing Americanists with an exclusive view of Christianity, non-Christians and even those who identify as Christians but don’t meet its qualifications are perpetually suspect. In practice, this ideology motivates laws and policies that undermine voting rights for marginalized groups, exclude diverse perspectives from public schools, withhold access to reproductive and gender-affirming health care, and more. So what it is, is in Dr. Butler, in her talk at the conference, the SRF conference, she talked about a marriage of convenience.

[7:46] That that these right-wing political conservatives glob on to these religious, christian nationalists to not it basically it’s like a symbiotic uh.

[8:02] Configuration where the christian nationalists get what they want they get to have power they They get to force Christianity into the public sphere more so than it already is, like in the public schools and banned books and everything. And then the right-wing political conservatives get what they want, which is subservient women. They do away with DEI and CRT and gender affirming care, and they get tax cuts and end regulations for businesses. You know, it’s all globbed together. And so Christian nationalism draws on the symbols and language of Christian religious life in service of a political and cultural goal. Supporters tend to believe that the federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation, believe our laws and policies should be guided by Christian principles, support the display of religious symbols in public places, and prayer in the schools, and view our national success as part of the divine plan. One of the things that these Christian nationalists did here in Ohio is they passed a law requiring public schools to teach how great capitalism is.

[9:24] And that comes from the Christian nationalists.

[9:57] It says, For instance, being evangelical is less predictive of one’s support of a Middle East travel ban than espousing strong Christian nationalist views. So not all evangelicals are Christian nationalists. One of the things that they talked about, too, in the conference today was they showed some survey results. And they had, you know, the United States is a Christian nation. 20% said that, supported that. And they went down the line. And then the last thing was that U.S. Laws should be matched biblical law. It’s like 40% of people agreed with that. Christian nationalists agreed with that. So you have like a range of 20 to 40 percent of people buy into this Christian nationalist claptrap.

[10:54] And so you’re telling people and they’re like, well, you know, that’s not that’s not a majority. You know, we’re OK. And then we have the courts. Well, the courts have been taken over. You know, how do you think we lost Roe v. Wade? Catholic judges. And why did we get Catholic judges? Because the Christian nationalists put the Catholic judges on the bench because they knew that they would get rid of Roe v. Wade because abortion was one of those issues that united these Christian nationalists.

[11:31] And so, and, and so I have to tell people, I said, yes, we, it’s a small number relative. It’s below 50%. It’s not, it’s not half the, half the country. We’re not, you know, they talk about a political divide. That’s not the political divide. You know, say 60% and 40% is not a divide. But that, that 20 to 40%, they are in power. They’re in the State House. They’re down in Columbus. And they’re going to try to keep power. They’re going to enact laws that support their Christian nationalist beliefs, their political beliefs, and they’re going to rig it so that they stay in power. And that’s why we get that gerrymandering, that illegal gerrymandering that they ignored for five court cases here in Ohio. It says, the Christian nationalist conflation of religious and national identity has deep ties to racial subjugation. Now, if you go back into your history books and you look up the history and find out about the Ku Klux Klan, Everybody knows about the Ku Klux Klan. They used a lot of religious imagery. One of them was that they burned crosses.

[12:56] They also excluded Catholics. They did not have any Jewish members. They were white Christian, they were Christian white supremacists, put it that way. And so now we call them Christian nationalists.

[13:17] It says, white proponents of slavery justified the dehumanization of enslaved Africans, even those who converted to Christianity, using Christian scriptures. The North’s victory in the Civil War gave rise to the religion of the lost cause, providing texture and grounding to an aggressive worldview that connected an idealized Christian past with an ongoing investment in white supremacy. And so this religion of the lost cause is how we got a statue of Robert E. Lee in Cincinnati. Look it up. Go to your Google, and it talks about a statue of Robert E. Lee. Yeah, it was a statue of Robert E. Lee in Cincinnati.

[14:00] And it sat for 90 years at the corner of Hamilton, Middletown Road, and South Dixie Highway. And in June of 2018, they moved it to the Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge. Private property. You know, Cincinnati. Cincinnati was in the North. The North won the Civil War, but yet there’s a statue of Robert E. Lee in Cincinnati. That’s Christian nationalism. That’s all the result of Christian nationalism. And then we also have kind of a conflict or a conflict between beliefs and Christian nationalism. As I said, they believe that the United States was created, it holds a special status because of God’s favor. But then they also say that it’s in a state of moral decay requiring action by real Americans to regain power and control.

[14:56] And so contemporary supporters of Christian nationalism aim to achieve this goal by declaring the United States a Christian nation, reintroducing prayer in the schools, and more.

[15:07] And there’s a whole Project 2025 that I’m not even going to get into today from the Heritage Foundation that has a lot of this about Christian nationalism in it. And finally, it says, It says, understanding of patriotism, our success will require a sustained multi-faced commitment to achieving a truly inclusive democracy. And that’s the thing. You know, some people use their faith to help people. Christian nationalists Nationalists are using their faith to hurt people. That’s the difference. That’s why I’m opposed to Christian nationalism.

[15:57] And I think that we need to fight it in every corner of the country, in every public sphere, anywhere it rears its ugly head. We need to bash it in the forehead, essentially. We need to smite it, to use a religious term. But that is an introduction to Christian nationalism and why it is a danger to our democracy. Thank you.

[16:47] Music.

[16:53] And as I mentioned a little while ago, I wanted to play, I thought it was, I originally thought maybe some short clips from the keynote speaker at the Summit for Religious Freedom. But I think that she has such a powerful message in her keynote remarks that I’m going to play pretty much the whole thing, about 25 minutes worth. These were her opening remarks, and then they had a question and answer session later after she spoke. But the keynote speaker was Dr. Anthea Butler. She is a Geraldine R. Siegel Professor in American Social Thought and Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a historian of African-American and American religion. And Professor Butler’s research and writing spans African-American religion, history, race, politics, evangelism, gender, sexuality, media, and popular culture. Her recent book is White Evangelical Racism, the Politics of Morality in America. And she was also a contributor to the 1619 book, A New Beginning, with the chapter entitled Church.

[18:12] And she currently serves as president of the American Society of Church History. She was president of the Society of Pentecostal Studies in 2005. So when she says that she is from these people, she knows these people, believe her. She is a sought-after commentator. Professor Butler is an op-ed contributor for MSNBC. And she’s had articles featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, The Guardian, and served as a consultant to the PBS series, including Billy Graham, The Black Church, God in America, and Amy Semple McPherson.

[18:53] And so, like I said, she’s got some really strong things to talk about in her keynote speech about white Christian nationalism. It’s, as I said, it’s very, very dangerous. And it’s really important that people understand how dangerous white Christian nationalism is, and that we need to do everything we can in order to maintain or to take back separation of church and state. And so here’s Dr. Butler. And so in order to understand this, what you’ve got to really get a hold of is that this is more insidious than you think. And it’s not just a five-year project or a project that started when the Capitol was run over on 1-6 for the insurrection, but it is a project that has been going on for a very long time in American history. And we can trace this back and think about people like Billy Graham and others who brought us to this place because they wanted to have Christianity part of the government. And that separation of church and state that Jefferson talked about in the Danbury letter is as Lord Boebert put it, there’s no real separation of church and state. And I hate to say that now I agree with her.

[20:13] Because we have to fight to get that separation back. And so what I want to talk to you about today is not only Christian white nationalism, but the kinds of movements that are underneath this that you need to understand. And so I have this thing up, white Christian nationalism. What is it? Simply put, it’s a belief that America’s founding is based on Christian principles. White Protestant Christianity is the operational religion of the land, and that Christianity should be the foundation foundation of how the nation develops its laws, principles, and policies. And you can read the rest. But part of this has to do with the fact that people have an erroneous idea about how America was founded. They think the founders and framers came here to make this a Christian nation. Well, they came here to escape from religious persecution.

[21:00] They didn’t want a king. But now we have people who want a king, and they want Donald Trump to be that king. Now, there’s nothing king-like about this man. There’s nothing majesty about him. But what you need to understand is that their idea about America is that it is a chosen nation. It is about prophecy. It is about how they see America in this. And usually when I give a talk about Christian nationalism, I show a video by General Michael Flynn, who talks about America being in the Bible. But I’m sorry I spent time, three years in seminary. I don’t see America in the Bible. If y’all can find me that scripture, please let me know afterwards at the book table, and I will rescind everything I have to say. But it’s important to understand why people think this and what is the value of this. And the reason why I say this in my book, White Evangelical Racism, it is because they believe that this part of being white has a part to do with being American and being Christian. As I say in my book, it is the promise of whiteness. And if you don’t think that that’s just for white people, It’s not.

[22:04] It’s for anybody who buys into this. So what you have to understand is this promise of whiteness gives people power and white Christianity gives people power. And so this is why Donald Trump said what he did, because it’s important for people to get that in their head is that if you acquiesce to what we want you to do, you will have that same power. You will have the protection of that power. And for many people, this is really important. And so I want to point to this last line that talks about a longing for nostalgia for a time that never really was. The longing for nostalgia in this country, the nostalgia of having men, white men, run everything is part of what drives this movement. And understanding that is how you will understand what is going to happen next. So let’s talk about this because one of the things I.

[22:54] Really wanted to do is kind of show a couple of charts here today. We could have more conversation about this, about how people see this. God has called Christians to exercise dominion. This word dominion is really important. I’m going to talk about it towards the end. Over all areas of American society, 20% of Americans agree with this. The U.S. government should declare America a Christian nation. 27% of people think this is true. This is from PRRI. Being Christian is an important part of being truly American. 30% of people think this. If the U.S. moves away from our Christian foundations, we will not have a country anymore, 38%. And then this is the part that should really worry you. 40% of people think that U.S. law should be based on Christian values.

[23:36] Now, you all talked about a lot of the things that have been rescinded, but I need to tell you that the things I’m going to talk about today, if we have some certain people back in power, we don’t get back the House and the Senate, and we’re not going to ever get the court back for a a while, unfortunately, unless the court is expanded.

[23:56] If we don’t get these things back, then you are going to be living under Christian values and Christian laws. And I don’t think that’s anything that anybody wants. So in order for you to understand this, hit this and play it and let this guy tell you what this means to have. That’s what we’re practicing for. That’s why hell hates it that we’re worshiping at every capital across America.

[24:20] That’s why we get called well you’re a christian nationalist you want you want the kingdom to be the government yes you want god to come and overtake the government yes you want christians to be the only ones yes we do we wouldn’t be a disciple of jesus if we didn’t believe that we want god to be in control of everything we want believers to be the ones riding the lots Yes. Guilty as charged. I mean, it’s funny when I meet Christians where I’m like, I don’t really, I’m not really, I’m like, have you read the Great Commission? Like, this is actually what we want. That’s Sean Foyt. During the pandemic, Sean Foyt is a worship leader, and he started doing meetings across the country that were unsanctioned, basically, because people were not supposed to be getting together in large groups like we are today because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has become a major figure in Christian nationalism right now. And so what you heard was a speech of his outlining basically what this program is. We want to be in government. We want to run everything. And this is a kind of theological viewpoint that Christian nationalists have. And I’m going to expand on that today because we talk about this mostly in the press about being evangelicals and people like that. But I’m here to tell you evangelicals are not in anymore.

[25:39] And that may be surprising to you, but what you really have is a souped up charismatic Pentecostal movement that has subsumed evangelicalism and has taken over. And most of the Christian nationalism that you see today is about these people who are calling lawmakers demons, who are talking about violence to take the government by force. Many of these same people were at one six at the one six insurrection, and they are are not afraid to use violence in order to get their agenda put forth. And it’s not simply just an agenda. It’s a whole revamping of what we would call the democratic process. So what I’m saying today is that we can talk about white Christian nationalism in one way, but the real thing that you actually need to focus in on is the fact that this nationalism is not simply about a belief system or how people talk about it or how they worship Donald Trump as a God, but it’s deeper than that. It’s about fundamentally changing America and fundamentally changing us into a theocratic state. And as a historian, I can track how many times people have tried to do this in certain sorts of ways. But now, right now is crucial because we’ve never had this much of of a conflagration of people with so much money behind them, with so much media push behind them.

[27:03] And I’m here to tell you, I’m gonna say something to you that’s gonna really make you upset, we’re behind.

[27:10] We are woefully behind because nobody thought Roe would fall. No one thought that that could go away. No one thought that the court could be captured, but courts have been captured. School boards have been captured. State legislatures have been captured. All of these things have happened because of Christian nationalism. I am from the state of Texas. I have had plenty of time to watch how state government has been captured. Most of you probably might remember when Wendy was standing in front of the state legislature in Texas in her tennis shoes doing a filibuster because they were trying to push back against the abortion laws in that state. What has happened since then? You can barely get an abortion. And I must leave you at the end with Arizona, because I want you to understand what you’re going to get if these people get in power. Now, let’s talk about Christian nationalism, theocracy in the 2024 election. What is at stake if Trump wins? What is at stake is an existential crisis because your government will be overturned. Complete revamping of the government with Project 2025, and I will talk about that in a minute. Abortion being kicked back to the states. Now, you have to understand that statement he made this week, anybody who does race and knows anything about the history of this country, when you hear the word states’ rights, you should freeze.

[28:28] You should absolutely freeze. Because once they say state rights, that means we don’t care what happens and we can take away everything. You’re lucky that some of these states allow voting on this because some places don’t. Think about a place like Mississippi where the whole deconstruction of Roe happened. If you are not paying attention, you will be lost in this. Church and state separation is going to to be obliterated. And it’s already cracked in so many places. It’s hanging on by a thread right now because what you have are people like Sean Foyt and others who are telling people every Sunday that, you know, God wants to run this government and we are God’s messengers. There will be erosion of voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and trans rights especially. What you need to understand is that CRT, DEI, trans people being vilified, these are all marketing campaigns.

[29:27] Oh, they hate us. Don’t don’t get me wrong. But they are also marketing campaigns because they are ways to put wedge issues into the press that people pick up on these things and the laws start to be destroyed that are there to protect you. And so if you understand that, then you can understand how this massive deconstruction that is happening underneath the democratic processes of this country have been run by Christians. Revamping the education case through 12 in a college university level. This is really important. The decimation of books in Houston, Texas right now, what are libraries being used for? Libraries are being used for detention centers, okay? This is absolute travesty. You have librarians who are afraid to just check out books to people right now because they may be sued or arrested because of some overzealous Christian nationalists who thinks that, you know, when Bobby made Bobby is some kind of really terrible book.

[30:26] Immigration restrictions and constrictions. I am from a state, again, where the governor of the state put absolute giant saws in the middle of the river where people could not cross. He had to take them down, but he took a few days before, you know, after the law went down to take them down. But we’re going to have immigration restrictions and all kinds of things. You may even see a Muslim ban come back. All kinds of things could happen. Increased imposition of Christianity, evangelical beliefs, and ideas about government, education, and culture. You heard part of that happen already through Sean Foyt, but I will tell you that it will be deeper because this project, 2025, the Mandate for Leadership, led by Kevin Roberts, a Catholic, by the way. Catholics are very important in all of this because they are providing the intellectual intellectual think tank for everybody. Okay. Understand this. This project 2025 is going to be the worst thing that ever happened to this country.

[31:25] Because if it happens, we have a 900 plus page document that is going to outline a massive restructuring of the federal government. You will have loyalists in the federal government. They have already interviewed over 4,000 people that they will be able to hire that will come in and take over regular government offices. Is people will lose their jobs because if they don’t do their little loyalty oath and answer the kinds of questions that make them sound like good Christians, they will not be there. You have to embrace conservative Christian values. This Heritage Foundation has so much money. They’re one of the top think tanks in this country. And we have sort of taken them for granted in certain circles because, oh, it’s just a Heritage Foundation, whatever. But if you pair the Heritage Foundation with all the other legal and restrictive organizations of these kinds of evangelical groups, what you will find is that they work symbiotically and they work together to put forth these things. And so these think tanks, this Project 2025 is talking about stripping out anything about diversity in the federal government. It is talking about getting rid of the Department of Education.

[32:33] It will do so much to change what we understand and what we live with every day, that it will be unthinkable. But on top of that, if you don’t think Project 2025 is bad enough, then Trump campaigns has Agenda 47, which is if he gets into office, and this one really hits home for me, he wants to take endowments of universities, literally take them, and repurpose them for an online school.

[33:03] Yeah, well, you know, we know what happened with Trump University. That was a crock of you know what. just like the stakes and everything else. But this is where this becomes very important. So you have, I realize this is a lot to pay attention to, but the assault is coming from every side. It is not just simply all these crazy Christians that are standing up here with Donald Trump. Actually, the more important people you need to be watching are organizations like this because they’re the ones underneath like termites tearing apart everything. And so my job between now and November remember, is to help you see that. But part of this has to do with the shift in how these evangelical Christians think about themselves. And so what I want to talk about is this blue graphic that shows you Reclaiming Seven Mountains is about the New Apostolic Reformation movement. This movement actually started in the 90s with people thinking that they were apostles and prophets, and a man named C. Peter Wagner, who actually taught at the seminary, went to Fuller Seminary, who was a former missionary and came up with this and moved everything out to Colorado Springs. And what he talked about was that they were real apostles and prophets walking through the land right now. Okay. All right.

[34:21] And the bottom part of this says, take possession of the land, the Lord and God, you’re giving you for your own. Joshua 1.1, okay? Now, you notice these seven mountains, business, government, family, religion, media, education, entertainment. Their mandate is to put Christians in every area of this, every area. So when we talk about education, we’re talking about we need Christian teachers. We need Christians to be in the university arena. We need Christians in every area of government, in business, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. This kind of philosophy has called into every bit of what you see Christian nationalism is right now. And so to help you understand that, let me show you another picture, which will be really important. This is Michael Flynn’s Reawakened America Roadshow Recruits Army of God. AP did this great series on this up in Batavia, New York a year and a half ago. This will be out again this year, this summer, into the fall, and they will be running this again. It’s called The Great Awakening and The Great Reset. This is going to be the latest meeting that’ll be in Detroit. This is a series of people who are pastors, religious folks, people who are self-styled apostles and prophets. And what they are doing at these meetings is basically doing something that is very interesting. They are marrying political activity with religious activity. So this woman you see in basically the cow trial here, she’s getting baptized. This is not a church.

[35:49] This is a meeting that happens. How do people get into this? They allow pastors to come in at a cheaper price than everybody else. So if you’re a pastor, you could pay $25 while everybody else pays $150, $200 a set.

[36:01] This is how pastors are being trained. So you have to understand it’s not just about bringing regular folks in. It’s about bringing people who have small to medium-sized congregations to help train them to be Christian nationalists. Part of what is important about this is that these meetings have a lot of prophetic utterances that go through this. And this is where I know you’re going to be like, I don’t even understand. This is crazy. But go with me for a minute. it. These prophetic utterances are about Trump taking back power, about how Christians are going to be back in power. They’re also about violence. This is really important because the level of violence that we may be experiencing, I hope not, come this fall, could be very serious because of these kinds of messages. People are being primed, not just in religious spaces to love Jesus, but to also grab their gun and do something with it.

[36:54] Support for political violence, Because things have gotten, this question is on the Christian Nationalism Survey, a PRRI. Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country. Please look up here at the top where it says adherence, 14%, mostly agree, 26%. You put that together, you already have 40% of people who think that it’s okay to have political violence. One-sixth might have failed, but it was also a primer. The primer is that we can do this again. But see, this time, it’s not going to happen down the street at the Capitol. It could happen on Election Day. It could happen at different times. There are militias all over this country. We could have a whole other hour-long conversation about this where people agree with this. You also have sympathizers who agree that if we have to go violent, we will go violent.

[37:52] The violence is not coming from people who are not thinking about religion, but it’s actually religious violence. Lots of the people who are at 1-6 also have very deep religious beliefs. And so what the other thing I want you to get here is that we’re not just talking about people who are babbling on and listening to Trump. What we’re talking about are people who are motivated to do violence in the name of their God and in the name of winning something that they believe should be the nation’s right, that is to be a Christian nation.

[38:25] Beliefs about political violence, revolution of violence is by support for Christian nationalists. Those who are adherents of Christian nationalists believe 54% that there’s There’s a storm coming soon that will sweep away elites in power and restore rightful leaders. OK, so that’s number one, because things have gotten so far off track. American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save the country. That percentage goes down a little bit, but it’s still 38 percent. You see how this is tracking this all together. People who are sympathizers also believe in these kinds of existential prophetic sort of beliefs about there’s going to become a bad time. And not to go into a theological lesson, but evangelicals and Pentecostals are already primed to do this because they believe in the end times. Except there’s one problem. We used to have people back in the 70s who thought the end times meant that Jesus was going to come back. This is not how people believe in the end times now. What they believe in the end times now is that we need to make those end times so that we can get into power. So that that first thing that you heard Trump saying to release the broadcasters, which are most his most important people, because they’re going to get this message out that he said over an hour in Nashville, Tennessee, is about people being ready to take up arms and do that political violence in the name of God so that they can achieve power.

[39:48] Now, here’s where I’m going to get ready to close and say a couple of things before I show you this last slide. What I’m here to say about Christian nationalism is this. It is probably one of the most dangerous things that has happened in this country. Because it’s not simply about love a country and love of Jesus and Jesus should be involved in the country. Now Christian nationalism is about a movement that is just as bad as what Stormfront was and everything else. This is why it’s with Southern, you know, Christian leadership, but not Southern Poverty Law Center, in terms of talking about this as a particularly violent movement. You are here because you want separation of church and state. And there’s certain kinds of ways you want it. But what I need you to understand is that there are people who are motivated and who will die to put these two things together.

[40:38] They will die in order so that their kind of theology, their belief system, the people that they believe should be in power should be there. They don’t care about you. They don’t care about your sexual orientation because it upsets them most of the time. They don’t care about your race. What they want is a theocracy. And that word doesn’t get used very much, but I’m telling you, when you begin to live there, you will understand what it means. And if you think this is something just endemic to America, let me roll off some countries for you where this is happening right now. Russia. The Russia versus Ukraine situation is not simply a situation where Putin wants to take over Ukraine. This is a religious battle. It is a religious battle because he wants to take back the original land that there was. You have a Christian leader in Italy who’s also a fascist kind of leader, Giorgio Maloney.

[41:35] Same thing there. You could take this to Hinduism and think about Narendra Modi and his abuse of Muslims. You can think about countries like Ghana, which were supposed to build a big, giant cathedral to thank God for the presidency. And that has enabled one of the most draconian laws against homosexuality ever. We could think about this in terms of Brazil and Jair Bolsonaro, who, incidentally, all of his people just did the same kind of coup that happened here at 1-6 January a year ago. But they’re moving faster to indict people than we ever will, which is sad.

[42:14] Why am I saying all of this? This is not just this country’s movement. It is a nationwide movement, an international movement of religious nationalism. And so what we do here not only affects us, but it could affect the rest of the world. How you fight here will change things. How you take on the battles that are here, whether that’s a statewide or a local battle, whether you’re thinking about your school board that has been taken over by some crazy Bops for Liberty people. Well, yes, I said they were crazy.

[42:45] Or it was taken over by some overzealous person. Or you have somebody who took over your school board and you’re not going to the school board meetings. Or you just don’t think that’s the thing that you should pay attention to. Or you think that calling your legislature or your congressperson or showing up for things are not going to work. And maybe, you know, you could come to a meeting like this and say that you belong to give somebody and that’s going to be that. That is not enough this election cycle. This election cycle you’re going to have to fight for every inch of the democracy that we are supposed to have in this country you’re going to have to wrestle this back for people who have more money and and more time and more structures and this is true that then we have but it can be done because what you don’t want is something like this in arizona what just happened this week an 1864 law being used to completely ban abortion. This is where people are trying to take us back to, folks. 1864. There could be interpretation of other kinds of laws like this trying to get back against abortion. What we have to do now is to make sure that we don’t have these scenes in our state government houses of people bending over the state seal and praying and invocating their God up against everybody else who’s trying to live in this country and pay their taxes and be free.

[44:14] This is not what we need. And that’s what we’re fighting against. We are fighting against white Christian nationalism. Why do we put white in front of Christian nationalism? Well, because one of those things that is important to understand about Christian nationalism is that in it, it has embedded whiteness. And so as I look around this room today, I see a lot of white people in here. Okay. You want to know why people of color are here? Because we’ve been fighting this shit for a long time. Here’s where I’m going. This is where I’m going to put it back on you. Black people, especially Black women, Latinos, Asian-Americans, and everybody, we have been fighting because we know that the rights of this country that were stated by the founders of Framers did not apply to us. We know how to fight for democracy already, but we’re tired. You have a responsibility if you want to hold on to this place to do the work. And I thank you all for being here, but you need to go out and talk to 10 more people that you know about this. You have to do your part because you cannot expect Black women to rescue you in November. But, you know, some people are tired. They’re tired of all of this. We are seeing something that is really troubling right now. When I think about, you know, the power of the Black church to do all this stuff and everything, it’s not a religious speech I’m giving you. I’m just saying that the structures that Democrats and others have usually relied on may not be there because of everything that has happened.

[45:43] And so now it’s up to you. Do you want this country? Do you want it to be the way that it is? Then we got to push back these folks. They can have their churches, they can do whatever they want, but they do not have the right to put this on us and put this on our government. And so with that, thank you for listening. And hopefully I can answer all of your questions. Thank you for listening.

[46:09] For more information about the topics in this episode, please visit the episode page at Glass City Humanist is an outreach of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie. Surely can be reached at Glass City Humanist is hosted, written, and produced by Douglas Berger, and he’s solely responsible for the content. Our theme music is Glass City Jam, composed using the Amplify Studio. See you next time.

[46:49] Music.

Transcript is machine generated, lightly edited, and approximate to what was recorded. If you would like perfect transcripts, please donate to the show.


Written, produced, and edited by Douglas Berger and he is entirely responsible for the content. Incidental voice overs by Shawn Meagley

The GCH theme is “Glass City Jam” composed using Ampify Studio

This episode by Glass City Humanist is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.