Why do Christian Nationalists look so much like the KKK?
It is becoming more and more obvious: Christian nationalists are suspiciously similar to the Ku Klux Klan. In a video compilation, The daily show spotlighted the nearly identical language and opinions of Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Tucker Carlson and former KKK Grand Magician David Duke. America, they believe, is a Christian nation that must stop “whitewashing.”
And white Christian nationalism today is like that of yesterday. Rachel Maddow recently shed light on America’s First Party founder, Gerald K. Smith, in particular his 1950s statement, “When a Christian is a nationalist, he necessarily becomes a Christian nationalist.” Similarly, in July of this year, Greene rallied Republicans: “We must be the party of nationalism. And I’m a Christian, and I say that proudly. We should be Christian nationalists.
Maddow then revealed Smith’s claims of a “highly organized campaign to substitute Jewish tradition for Christian tradition”, covert forces trying to “enslave the white man” and “mixture of our race” by “mixing black and white races.
Despite being told of Smith’s hatred, Greene only further embraced the label of “Christian nationalist”. A few days after the Maddow segment aired, Greene pulled out a “Proud Christian Nationalist” t-shirt. The accompanying ad shows her clenching her fists, eager to inflict violence, just as Christian nationalist insurgents did on January 6, 2021.
That same month, another self-proclaimed Christian nationalist, Andrew Torba (CEO of Gab and former consultant to Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano) declared that Jews are not welcome in the GOP: “It’s a movement explicitly Christian because it is an explicitly Christian country movement.”
At its core, Christian nationalism is a hateful and exclusive ideology. It posits that America was, is, and must remain a conservative Christian nation, even if that means subjugating Jews, progressive Christians, atheists, Muslims, polytheists, and other groups that white Christian nationalists place low in their hierarchy: people of color, LGBTQ people. , women and immigrants.
Torba, Greene, and Boebert constantly say this quiet part out loud, as they revel in their hatred. Following a mass murder inspired by the “white replacement” theory of 10 black victims, Greene downplayed white supremacy as an issue. She even attended a conference on white supremacy and, when challenged, doubled down. Boebert, for his part, engages in occasional anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic bigotry, among other racist rhetoric. “Yeah, there’s definitely a replacement theory going on right now,” she said.
Meanwhile, the most secret flank of the panic movement. They want to keep their immorality a secret and try to limit the damage. On October 12, the Christian Nationalist Family Research Council (FRC) hosted a conference focusing on the term “Christian nationalism” and how it makes them look bad. Because that’s what interests them: optics.
“Over the past year, for the first time, Christians have started to come out and embrace the label of ‘Christian nationalist’ – Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example. We shouldn’t accept that,” a- he added. Mark David Hall, a professor at George Fox University, said at the event. “We should just identify ourselves as Christians. We are Christians. We are followers of Christ.”
It is not surprising that FRC wants to avoid the expression “Christian nationalist”. This hate group constantly trades in coded language; for them, the word “family” means anti-LGBTQ and “life” means anti-abortion. FRC Chairman Tony Perkins no longer associates himself – at least openly – with David Duke and the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, which inspired gunman Dylann Roof to kill nine black worshippers. Recently, Perkins’ secret organization declared itself a church to hide its finances and extremist donors from the public eye. They want to turn America into a theocracy behind the scenes.
Much like the FRC, disgraced Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, founder of a Christian nationalist militia camp, bristled at the label. “A lot of people hear your rhetoric, and they say you’re a Christian nationalist. Are you?” he was asked in an interview. “What is it? I’m an Irish Catholic. I’m a follower of Jesus,” he replied, channeling Hall’s words.
This is not the first time that white Christian nationalists have attempted to rebrand themselves as normal, everyday Christians. In 2018, extremist bills flooded state legislatures. Activists wondered what was going on. That year, journalist Frederick Clarkson discovered the Christian nationalist Project Blitz campaign and its model bill guide on the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation website. Immediately understanding the importance of this campaign, he published his findings.
Much like Greene and Boebert, the masterminds of Project Blitz revel in images of white supremacy. The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, David Barton’s Wallbuilders and the National Legal Foundation clearly had Nazi Germany’s Blitzkrieg in mind when they came up with the name of the campaign. And, indeed, the goal of Project Blitz has been to pump out as many bills as possible at breakneck speed, preventing lawmakers and activists from opposing them all.
The Project Blitz guide asks Christian nationalist legislators to prepare in three phases:
1. Pass “religious heritage” bills – including mandatory “In God We Trust” school posters – that should receive the least opposition;
2. Pass “Religious History and Liberty” bills—“Bible Year” and “Christian Heritage Week”—that claim America was, is, and always will be a Christian nation;
3. Build on the momentum of previous steps to pass bills that give the green light to discrimination in the name of religion.
To fight the Blitz Project legislative playbook, a collection of secular, religious, LGBTQ, and reproductive rights organizations joined forces and formed the BlitzWatch coalition. went underground. There was even an attempt to change the name to “Freedom for All”, but it failed miserably; investigative journalists, organizations and activists have not let go.
Halfway through, Project Blitz found new relevance. Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (right) tried to directly benefit from an ‘In God We Trust‘ bill. In 2018, Katie Hobbs (D) voted against SB 1289, which encourages schools to teach and display the Christian nationalist mottos “In God We Trust” and “Ditat Deus(“God Enriches”). Lake might have been expected to portray her opponent as “anti-religion,” as Christian nationalist politicians have done in the past. But unfortunately for her, she misinterpreted the law and falsely claimed on social networks“[Hobbs] wants to purge the oath, anthem and constitution from our schools.” Even conservatives Washington Examiner called her.
A campaign like Project Blitz offers white Christian nationalists the opportunity to portray their opponents as “anti-religious” – without most people understanding the source of these bills and their intent: to build momentum to break down the divide between church and state and overturn laws protecting equality for women. , religious minorities, people of color and LGBTQ people.
What do Project Blitz and FRC have in common? These are two of many shadowy groups pushing policies to erect a Christian state. They want to continue operating under cover of darkness because that is the only way to implement their deeply unpopular agenda.
Investigative journalists like Frederick Clarkson, Katherine Stewart and Anne Nelson continue to monitor and report on these secret groups. But the media as a whole must shine a spotlight on this coordinated Christian nationalist network.
Of course, Greene might be more in your face. But these groups, left unaddressed, can prove even more deadly to our democracy. They are the ones pulling the strings in the background. As Clarkson said, “[S]light remains the best disinfectant.”
Tom Van Denburgh is the director of communications for American Atheists and a regular contributor to the LGBTQ publication, Out in Jersey.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.