We're now seeing 'the most disproportionate power that the Christian Right has had in my lifetime': Religion expert
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert speaking with attendees at the 2021 AmericaFest at the Phoenix Convention Center. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

A small but growing minority of white evangelicals are embracing Christian nationalism, and they just achieved two longstanding goals with U.S. Supreme Court decisions on abortion and school prayer.

Even as the number of white evangelicals have shrunk in population, and their median age has been climbing, the high court has helped this influential minority grab power despite a Democratic trifecta in the White House and Congress, reported NPR.

"This is the most disproportionate power that the Christian Right has had in my lifetime," says Robert Jones, CEO and founder of the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute.

Six in 10 Americans say abortion should be legal, but the court just struck down the 49-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling and justice Clarence Thomas signaled a willingness to end same-sex marriage protections, although seven in 10 support that right -- and the religious right has reacted to the loss of their so-called "moral majority" by grabbing for even more power.

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"White evangelicalism rejects pluralism – completely," said Tim Whitaker, creator of a group called The New Evangelicals. "They do not see themselves as coexisting with other religious views or other sexuality ethic views. They see it as a spiritual battle and they are on God's side."

"When they start getting a taste – a small taste – of just making room for other viewpoints, that's perceived as a loss of power," Whitaker added, "and then they campaign on that."

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), one of the most outspoken Christian nationalists in the House, complained just two days after the abortion ruling that Christians were exerting a power they should have had all along.

"The church is supposed to direct the government," Boebert said at a Colorado church. "The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it, and I am tired of this separation of church and state junk. It's not in the Constitution."

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The Constitution does, in fact, explicitly prohibit the establishment of any specific religion in the First Amendment, and Timothy Head, executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said that was done to prevent the government from interfering with religion.

"Not to keep anybody that holds a religious view out of government," Head said. "All of us have certain kinds of worldviews. Some of those are based on college professors, or your favorite philosophers, or a comedian somewhere. It just so happens that some people base their worldview on biblical teachings."

Head disagreed that Christian conservatives were trying to impose their worldview on the rest of the country, but Whitaker believes a small number of influential conservatives were pursuing Christian nationalist ideals.

"It truly does concern for the future of the country because ultimately Christian nationalism is not about democracy," Head said. "It's really about – I hate to use such blunt language – but it's really more about theocracy."

Jones agreed, saying the Christian right was beginning to reject democracy in the face of their waning demographic power.

"I think we are seeing the last kind of desperate grasp – that by the way includes violence – that is kind of a desperate attempt to kind of hold on to that vision of the country and to hold on to power," Jones said. "I think if we can protect our democratic institutions and we can weather these attacks on it, then I think there is light at the other end of the tunnel, but I do think we are in for some dark days."