'Accelerant of polarization': Far-right 'Christian nationalists' still consider Trump their strongest ally
The Christian Right has had a stranglehold on the Republican Party ever since President Ronald Reagan allied himself with the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson in the early 1980s, and in 2022, some of former President Donald Trump’s strongest supporters are far-right white evangelicals. Those evangelicals, according to NPR’s John Burnett, believe that Trump is still their best chance to keep their movement alive.
“If anyone thought that Christian nationalism would decline with President Donald Trump out of power, they were mistaken,” Burnett reports. “Christian nationalists believe, in general, that America is Christian, that the government should keep it that way, and that Trump was — and is — their best hope to accomplish that. This movement of ultra-conservative, politicized churches is apparently on the march, though there are no firm numbers because the congregations are mostly nondenominational.”
One of the far-right evangelicals Burnett interviewed was Jim Willis, who attends the Patriot Church in Tennessee.
Burnett told NPR, “We know what (the enemy's) agenda is. Their agenda is to close down churches, to get rid of religion permanently in this country.”
Another member of the Patriot Church, Murray Clemetson, defended the January 6, 2021 rioters when he spoke to NPR.
Clemetson, who attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally that day, told NPR, “The only insurrection that happened on January 6 was by the agent provocateurs, paid actors, and corrupt police and FBI.”
Clemetson described the Patriot Church as a “Trump church,” adding, “Donald Trump represented what we stand for as a nation. You go to flyover country and people have good moral values. They love the Lord and they want the best for the country. And that's what Donald Trump tapped into. That's what he represented.”
But Christian nationalism is by no means universally loved in Christianity. Some Christians, according to Burnett, have a very low opinion of the movement.
Burnett explains, “The rise of Christian nationalism is both a symptom and an accelerant of the polarization that afflicts America. And there is more and more pushback. Beginning last year, more than 24,000 national church leaders, clergy and lay people have signed a statement that condemns Christian nationalism as a distortion of the faith and idolatrous of the former president.”
'No solutions, no leadership': CNN's Van Jones explains why Kyrsten Sinema 'deserves a primary challenge'
On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Lead," anchor Jake Tapper and commentator Van Jones discussed the decision by the Arizona Democratic Party to censure Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for blocking Senate rules reform that would clear the way for voting rights legislation.
"Is that censure really necessary, do you think?" asked Tapper.
"Well, I think she has some very frustrated constituents and that's one way for them to express themselves," said Jones. "I think the challenger will be inevitable at this point. If I were her, I would think to myself, the whole world's looking at me, so far all I've done is say no in the name of bipartisanship. I would expect her to step forward now. Where is the bipartisan deal that she thinks can happen? Maybe there's concern about the Electoral Count Act."
"She's got to go forward and say, I can make the bipartisanship work in the name of voting rights," continued Jones. "Otherwise, all she did was stop this party from trying to rescue democracy and then offer no solutions and no leadership, and that's why she deserves a primary challenge."
Van Jones on Kyrsten Sinema www.youtube.com
A hot mic on Monday caught President Joe Biden calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a "stupid son of a b*tch" after he asked the president if he believed inflation would be political liability for him.
Fox News host Jesse Watters spoke to Doocy shortly after the president profanely slammed him, and he proceeded to have some fun at Doocy's expense.
"I think the president's right," Watters told him while laughing. "You are a stupid SOB!"
Doocy took the ridicule in stride, however.
"Yeah, nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it's not true," he said, which resulted in more laughter.
After Doocy had asked Biden earlier if he believed inflation would hurt him in the upcoming midterm elections, Biden sarcastically replied, "That's a great asset, more inflation," and then added, "what a stupid son of a b*tch."
Watch the video below.