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Troubling data shows many Americans are pining to become a theocracy

A new report from the Public Religion Research Institute shows how Christian nationalism has taken hold in the United States.


Christian nationalism — the violent, theocratic belief that the United States is, and must remain, an inherently Christian nation — is all the rage on the political right. (Pun intended.)

Several Republicans have openly embraced Christian nationalism, including Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado; failed Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano; and Ginni Thomas, whose husband, Clarence, sits on the Supreme Court. Even others — such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — have been unique in their giddy celebration of the exclusionary set of beliefs

Last week, the Public Religion Research Institute released new findings that show how successful these people have been in spreading their oppressive message. 

“The rising influence of Christian nationalism in some segments of American politics poses a major threat to the health of our democracy,” the report says. “Increasingly, the major battle lines of the culture war are being drawn between a right animated by a Christian nationalist worldview and Americans who embrace the country’s growing racial and religious diversity.”

In light of assaults on abortion rights and inclusive school curricula by fundamentalist Christians, PRRI’s report couldn’t come at a more fitting time.

The study goes a long way toward measuring Americans’ differing levels of support for or rejection of Christian nationalism by sorting them into the following groups: adherents, sympathizers, skeptics and rejecters.

For example, the report found that 75% of adherents to Christian nationalism said they “completely agree” that the U.S. should declare America a Christian nation, while 21% of adherents “mostly agree” and only 3% “mostly disagree.” 

Among sympathizers, 73% said they completely or mostly agree that the U.S. should make such a declaration. And among skeptics and rejecters, the overwhelming majority disagreed with making this declaration (including 100% of rejecters). 

The study had a similar breakdown of responses on whether God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of American society, whether we would still have a country if the U.S. were to move away from its Christian foundations, and whether U.S. laws should be based on Christian values. 

The study, conducted over three weeks last November and December, surveyed 6,000 Americans. The margin of error for the national survey was plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.

PRRI also provided a racial breakdown to show groups’ varying levels of support. For example, 64% of white evangelical Protestants — the largest percentage of any group —  identify as either adherents or sympathizers of Christian nationalism. In this data, we see that Christian nationalism isn’t confined to white people, as 38% of Black Protestants, 43% of Hispanic Protestants and 52% of other nonwhite Protestants say they sympathize or adhere to Christian nationalism.

Needless to say, it’s not a good sign when significant portions of the American population say they'd support or understand converting the United States into a Christian theocracy. 

Check out the PRRI report here. And you can watch PRRI President and founder Robert Jones (a frequent guest on "The ReidOut") share his findings with the Brookings Institution in the video below.