Florida governor Ron DeSantis campaigning for president by pushing Christian nationalism was the focus of a new editorial published online by the Miami Herald on Saturday afternoon.
"Is America a Christian nation? The United States is a secular nation with no official religion, so the answer is No," the editorial board wrote. "But to Republicans such as Florida Gov. DeSantis, simplifying the answer to a Yes is a powerful tool. They’ve found a political gold mine in pitting Christians against the so-called evils of the left, gay and transgender people and teachers accused of pushing a 'woke' agenda."
The editorial was published the same day DeSantis expanded a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Ian gathers strength into an expected hurricane.
"DeSantis’ flirting with Christian nationalism — the belief that America is in God’s plan and was intended to be a Christian nation — as the Herald recently reported, is not new in GOP politics," the editorial board wrote. "But it shows where the governor’s mind is. Elected in 2018 by a razor-thin margin in a state long considered purple — Florida has become redder, but it isn’t Mississippi, yet — he appears more concerned with 2024 GOP presidential primary voters. He’s not losing any sleep over alienating middle-of-the-road voters in his state."
The newspaper warned of the dangers of white supremacy.
"There’s a big difference between a leader turning to faith to guide their decisions and turning the state into the vehicle to advance one religious point of view. When the latter happens, the result is often to exclude people who don’t fit the mold," the editorial board wrote. "We cannot overlook the overlap between Christian nationalism — and its nostalgia for our 'Anglo-Protestant' past — and white supremacy. Many devout Christians enslaved Black people in centuries past. This brings us to present-day data, cited in The New Yorker magazine, that, according to Robert P. Jones, head of the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan polling and research group, 'The more racist attitudes a person holds, the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christian.'"
Read the full editorial.