In recent years, the Christian nationalist movement — an extreme ideology that holds America should be ruled by Christian law — has become bolder as it makes a play for power. A new group is even emerging to introduce Christian nationalist legislation in statehouses around the country.
But even as this happens, the public is swiftly turning against them, reported Religion News Service on Friday.
"According to PRRI, Americans who have heard of Christian nationalism are twice as likely to hold a negative than a positive view of the term. These Americans also reject the specific ideas associated with the ideology," wrote University of Connecticut sociology professor Ruth Braunstein. "Indeed, the 3 in 10 Americans that PRRI found who align with Christian nationalism to some degree are opposed by nearly the same percentage (29%) who completely reject the ideas associated with Christian nationalism. Another 39% is skeptical."
There is, she wrote, a growing "pluralist resistance" to Christian nationalists — one of the elements being from Christians themselves.
"One pivotal front of this battle is in the nation’s churches. Conservative Christians, lured by new online platforms and hyper-partisanship, have been sucked into a vortex of right-wing disinformation, conspiracy theories and fear," wrote Braunstein. "They are repeatedly told by right-wing influencers and politicians that Christians need to 'take their country back.' Mistrustful of outsiders, these believers can only be convinced of the threat Christian nationalism holds for our democracy and to Christianity itself if other Christians are doing the talking. Christians Against Christian Nationalism and Vote Common Good are the most visible of the groups attempting just that. Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee, which leads the Christians Against Christian Nationalism coalition, has been speaking around the country to raise alarms about the dangers of Christian nationalism. Last December, she testified before a House subcommittee about the role Christian nationalism played in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection."
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Other groups involved in the fight include the Poor People's Campaign, led by Rev. William Barber, secular groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and even corporate interests like Coca-Cola, who are using their marketing to promote diversity and other values antithetical to much of the Christian nationalist movement.
"Deep cultural and political change is never easy. But with a diverse majority of Americans on their side, these leaders are making inroads," concluded Braunstein. "As Christian nationalists take advantage of a moment of political precarity to call for a turn toward authoritarian theocracy, the press should be paying attention to those rising up to preserve democracy in America. The leaders of the resistance are on the front lines of this war. They should be making headlines, too."