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Why Christian nationalism is suddenly at the forefront

As the conservative movement continues its embrace of religious extremism, media outlets are taking note.


If you were at the center of a religious crusade, do you think you’d be able to detect it? 

I ask because it’s becoming increasingly clear that the United States is under siege by Christian fundamentalists and traditionalists

The reported text exchanges between then-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, the right-wing activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, gave us a window into the conservative movement’s religious push to remake America in its conservative, Christian image. 

Media, for its part, seems more equipped now than in years past to call out Christian nationalism for being the dangerous, theocratic belief system it is.

As he was exploring ways to overturn the 2020 election, Meadows reportedly texted Thomas, “This is a fight of good versus evil,” going on to say, “Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs.”

Keep in mind that this was a man working to undermine millions of Americans’ right to vote — and in God's name no less. That gall shouldn’t surprise you. We’re witnessing an exposure of white, Christian nationalism in this country like never before in modern history. And in recent years, we’ve heard some of the most antidemocratic and violent voices from that movement take more prominent roles in their push for power. 

Media, for its part, seems more equipped now than in years past to call out Christian nationalism for being the dangerous, theocratic belief system it is. On Sunday, The Associated Press published an article titled “Christian nationalism on the rise in some GOP campaigns.” The piece focused heavily on the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, a state senator backed by former President Donald Trump. He supported Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, invoking God along the way.

Photo Illustration: A dollar bill repeats the motto "In God We Trust" five times
Justine Goode; MSNBC / Getty Images

During a campaign speech in April, Mastriano said that despite unsuccessfully challenging the election results, "we have the power of God with us."

"We have Jesus Christ that we’re serving here," he added. "He’s guiding and directing our steps."

(I just spoke with God for this post, and they denied being part of Mastriano’s plan. But I digress.)

The AP article examined Mastriano’s Christian nationalist ties, as well as mentioned GOP lawmakers like Reps. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who’ve both used biblical language to push right-wing, war-like talking points

Other outlets, such as the Mississippi Free Press, have chronicled the political influence of Christian dominionists, a sect of Christian nationalists who believe conservative, Christian, predominantly white groups have the right to lay claim to America.

And in the last week, another right-wing Christian group, the Southern Baptist Convention, was exposed after an investigation found evidence of widespread allegations of sex abuse by clergy members. As my colleague Anthea Butler wrote last year, the SBC has been deeply involved in Republican politics and glommed onto Trump during his time in the White House. 

All this exposure is serving its purpose, drawing the ugliness of Christian nationalism out of the shadows so it can be seen, publicly, for what it is: oppressive, far-right conservatism wrapped in scripture.