The March of Those Christian “Soldiers”

Marching backwards…

Last Tuesday, the Indianapolis Star reported on the explosion of anti-Semitic incidents on IU’s Bloomington campus. National headlines trumpet passage of anti-LGBTQ legislation (“Don’t say gay!”) and mean-spirited attacks on transgender youth. The Ted Cruz’s of the GOP and the Tucker Carlsons of rightwing media warn against the “feminization” of American men and the “dire threat” posed by (nonwhite) immigrants.

The fears and hatreds that feed these behaviors are exploited by the Christian Nationalists who have come to exercise disproportionate influence in American life by turning  a political ideology into a version of Christianity, and insisting that only adherents of that version are authentically American.

In a recent column, Jennifer Rubin considered that influence–and confluence. In a column about the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, she wrote:

.Democracy functions only with restraint, good-faith application of procedural rules and devotion to the principle that the other side gets to govern when it wins. That concept is now an anathema to the GOP. As Thomas Zimmer has written for the Guardian, “Many Republicans agree that the Democratic Party is a fundamentally illegitimate political faction — and that any election outcome that would lead to Democratic governance must be rejected as illegitimate as well.”

That view of illegitimacy often stems from Christian nationalism. As Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, explains, “A worldview that claims God as a political partisan and dehumanizes one’s political opponents as evil is fundamentally antidemocratic.” He tells me, “A mind-set that believes that our nation was divinely ordained to be a promised land for Christians of European descent is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of religion and equality of all.”

The New Republic–among others–has also looked at what it called “The Shock Troops” of Christian Nationalism, and the wealthy theocrats funding them. 

The article focused on a little-known foundation, the James and Joan Lindsey Family Foundation, and what it characterized as “a vast and steady flow of contributions” to  organizations in that Christian nationalist movement: the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, WallBuilders, a media company called Mastermedia International, and the Council for National Policy, a networking group for movement leadership.

“We are a Christian country. And the Founders were—definitely—and our founding documents were written under prayer each day of the writing,” Joan Lindsey has said. On the eve of the 2020 election, she announced that “this election will either preserve faith’s sacred place in our country or destroy it.”

The most recent effort backed by the Lindseys is something called “The Church Finds Its Voice,” a new entrant in what the article identifies as “a long-standing pattern in the Christian nationalist movement of backing projects to turn America’s network of tens of thousands of conservative churches into a powerful partisan political machine.”

The article is lengthy, and includes multiple other examples of Christian Nationalist activism.  It’s chilling; one leader of the movement is quoted as saying that “every election is a contest against absolute evil, and the consequences of failure are almost too dire to imagine.” To suggest that these activists are motivated is to understate the situation. Rightwing media has convinced them that Trump was anointed by God to protect Christians from those who would not only dislodge them from their privileged position but would also strip them of their rights and liberties.

Numerous accounts of the January 6th insurrection have focused on the ubiquity of Christian Nationalist symbols, and expressions of belief that God was on their side. As the deeply religious Michael Gerson has observed, transforming opponents into infidels provides an opening for racism and anti-Semitism.

The anti-Semitism being displayed at Indiana University is just one aspect of the Christian Nationalist worldview, but it is a fairly major element of it. An analysis by the Washington Post found that Christian Nationalism, support for QAnon, and anti-Semitism to be tightly linked.

Since Christian nationalism is a worldview holding that the United States was created by and for Christians, it may not be surprising that they dislike non-Christians. On average, the most ardent Christian nationalists subscribed to four of the eight anti-Semitic tropes presented; those most opposed to Christian nationalism subscribed to an average of one. Christian nationalists were more likely to believe each individual trope but showed the strongest support for the mistaken ideas that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country” and “Jews killed Jesus.”

Christian Nationalists who had bought into nutty QAnon conspiracy theories were even more anti-Semitic. QAnon reinforces a number of anti-Semitic tropes: that Jews control the banks, the media and the government, and that Jews are the ones behind the Deep State.

The problem is, those “Christian soldiers” own today’s GOP.


  1. GOSH! The Jews control everything. Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah. There was this delusional paranoid author in the 1920s who wrote some screed titled “Mein Kampf”. As I recall, that book is the blueprint for all the so-called Christian Nationalists. They should be labeled with a not-so-polite label: NAZIS.

    I know, I know… But damn! If it waddles and quacks, it is most probably a duck.

    As has been discussed into dust on this blog, white male fear and anguish drives this “movement” of aggrieved wailing and promotion of mindless hate. How did they get to be aggrieved white males? What are they aggrieved about that so tortures their souls and drives them to irrational behavior? Well first, the rich people need to have an audience. Since their peers are competing with them for the spotlight, that 1% who fund the idiocy of Christian Nationalism (Why is this capitalized?) have created that audience using the inherent paranoia in evangelical Christianity. They need the “audience” to give themselves the comfort that they are powerful. The money isn’t enough. They must influence policy – See Betsy Devos’s lunacy of recent years.

    So, instead of the actually oppressed citizens rising up to display their grievances – as they did in Germany in the 1920s and 30s, we have the uber-wealthy fanning the flames of middle-class white people’s inherent insecurity to form this sort of incoherent messaging that divides us.

    Lying, cheating and stealing? Why not? If they do all that in the name of their god, it’s gotta be all good.

  2. It is long past time to lock these bastards up when they commit crimes. Trump on down. The justice department needs to stop clutching its pearls and put the bastards on trial and in jail if convicted. No more slow walking this stuff. We have no time to waste. They are dangerous and will get worse if we do nothing but talk about it.

  3. There is a line from scripture that I would bet does not get much play in current evangelical churches these days: “ And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” -Matthew 24

  4. How quickly these hypocrites forget that their Jesus actually WAS a Jew! Joan Lindsey needs a review of our founding documents, doesn’t she? But then, she might have to sit down and shut up!

  5. Thank you James. It still pains me to see that we denigrate both Jesus Christ and His teachings by using the term “Christian Nationalists” to describe this horde. I have heard and read other writers call them “White Nationalist Evangelicals” or “White Nationalist Protestants”.

    I prefer the former because the 2nd excludes the Roman Catholic Church, which has quietly embraced much of the theocratic agenda of the rest. In either case, it’s important to include the word “white” in the description because racism lies at the very heart of their movement.

  6. “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” As read by a sane person without an agenda, this Amendment appears to give us freedom FROM religion as well as the freedom to practice any religion, including Judaism, Buddhism, Muslim, Wiccan, as well as any of a number of Christian religions. Again, the right has cherry-picked only the words they want and skewed the interpretation to say that, in the free practice of their religion, they must be allowed to limit the free practice of all others.

  7. Well, the establishment needs to motivate liberal voters to vote for their democrats, so why not use Nazi-like racists to convince people to pull the lever for a D to avoid oblivion if those damn R’s win an election.

    “And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on…”

    It’s the same as the war propaganda in Ukraine once peace looks inevitable. Boom, another massacre with photos.

    In Syria, it was chemical weapons on civilians when peace was inevitable.

    I’m just curious, how do you go about picking a side in this propaganda war? Which one is less evil?

    Isn’t it ironic that really good spin doctors like Jen Psaki land million-dollar contracts on MSNBC while investigative journalists go hungry all across the country?

  8. Thank you Patrick. I, too, am appalled at the use of Christ’s name in the spreading of racist ideology. Their propaganda bears no relationship to any of Christ’s teachings. White Nationalist Evangelicals, a term I have not previously heard, will now be what I use for these organizations.

  9. Benjamin Franklin proposed The Constitutional Convention begin each day’s session with a prayer. There never was a vote taken on it. No prayer was instituted. Consequently, Ms. Lindsey is incorrect on that point. And, btw, Franklin was a deist.

  10. “The article focused on a little-known foundation, the James and Joan Lindsey Family Foundation, and what it characterized as “a vast and steady flow of contributions” to organizations in that Christian nationalist movement: the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, WallBuilders, a media company called Mastermedia International, and the Council for National Policy, a networking group for movement leadership.” Just add these to ALEC, the Heritage Foundation, etc. and you have the right-wing “ecosystem” united and marching together, highly funded with a single goal – the end of American democracy.

    As for the rest of us, we are too busy arguing “moderate v/s progressive”, screaming about one “identity” or another , wringing our hands/minds at places like this page. Or, if we are young, trying new craft beers/cocktails and playing video games.

    Ain’t life weird these days?

  11. I have to warn you that some readers of the knowledge contained herein will find it disturbing.

    I think that the most succinct definition of “life” would be words like microscopic collections of self-replicating chemicals (cells) that maintain viability by reacting and adapting to their environment. What homo sapiens brought to that was that many cells in our collections of them were devoted to recording what our five senses determined our environment to be on our journey through all of our environments. Of course, language both spoken and written added greatly to the ability to react by adding to our ability to record and learn and remember. The science that figured that out also maintained viability by reacting and adapting to their environment but also changing the environment of what was known little by little over centuries.

    So we are fundamentally beings that individually and collectively adapt to changing environments.

    The long-term stories of life are the stories of both successful adaptations to change that flourished and species that were unsuccessful at keeping up with the pace of change and went extinct.

    In our times, among our species, we have sub-divided culturally into individuals who accept all of that and are trying to adapt to rapidly changing times, and individuals whose sense of control limits their ability to accept the environmental changes and, instead, believe that the environment will not change if they do not adapt.

    For the first time in the history of life, we are facing cultural as compared to chemical extinction.

    I guess that making history is sometimes pleasant and sometimes painful.

  12. … and that’s what scare the BeJeebus out of me in the middle of a sleepless night

  13. Excellent comments this morning!

    In all actuality, it warms the cockles of my heart. 🫀

    Vladimir Putin is not a communist in practice, he is a a Russian Orthodox hypocrite!

    Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox church, said the reason for the invasion of Ukraine was to fight against
    sin! A very large majority of Russian soldiers are Russian Orthodox.

    So, how do you claim to eradicate sin by executing women, children, old folks, and people hiding in their basements by tying their hands behind their backs and shooting them in the head? Raping women and leaving them naked in the street only to come back and shoot them later? Then, driving over their bodies with tanks?

    The Russian Orthodox Church speaks of the very same agenda these white Christian nationalists claim to be their dogma on fighting sin! To form a united front with thousands of churches? That doesn’t sound like anything Christ would have endorsed, but it does sound like something Nazi Germany had done, and Vladimir Putin along with the Orthodox Church is doing right now.

    Also in Matthew the 24th chapter, it reads; “then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on the account of my name. Then, two, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold.”

    “let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house, and let the man in the field not return to pick up his outer garment. Woe to the pregnant woman and those nursing a baby in those days! Pray that your flight may not occur in winter time nor on the Sabbath day, for there will be Great tribulation such as not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact unless those days are cut short, no flesh will be saved;……..

    We’ve all heard of the wolf in sheep’s clothing? Well, that’s at Matthew 7:15.

    Also, read 1st Timothy 4:1 and also second Peter 2:1.

    Absolutely positively, false doctrine has been used to mislead the masses just as you see today. They get people to murder their fellow man. There is not one iota of scriptural doctrine being taught by these so called religious leaders. Or Christian nationalists, whatever you wish to call them!

    When you see the brutal mangling, the torture, the inhuman treatment of those trying to flee, those in great distress and angst, how can you not recognize what’s happening? Those that are causing this inhumanity are not prophets, but they are what was warned against in Matthew the 24th chapter. They’ve been doing this throughout human history, but, the saturation point is here. And, it’ll keep happening until it doesn’t. A reckoning will come concerning religion. It’s going to face off against secular authorities and will spectacularly lose.

  14. Good morning Vern!

    You absolutely nailed it this morning! Can’t say it much better than that.

  15. Right there with you patmcc…..hypocrite + Christian = hypochristian, my name for them!

  16. American Christian Nationalists should call themselves The Azov Battalion. They might even get a few government grants to continue their work.

    Since separating from fossilized superpowers seems to be the zeitgeist at the moment. Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad time for Aztlan to receive its share of support for its right as a sovereign nation.

  17. Vernon, thanks for your analysis. You always seem to nail it.
    Pat, thanks for the solutions. Right, we can’t just keep talking about it.
    Lock ’em up, Lock ’em all up. (where did I hear that one before ? )

  18. We have come a long way since our predecessors first migrated north from Africa to spread out all over the planet, and not until the Agricultural Revolution begun in present day Iraq were we enabled to get beyond the roots and berries survival mode, a revolution which enabled us to urbanize and philosophize and tribalize and arrive at the point where we are today, a heating up orb in space home to some eight billion humans divided by race, color, tribe, greed, and other such artificial distinctions as socioeconomic and political views dealing with divisions of wealth, the horrors of Putins and Hitlers et al, all of which provide rich targets for religion and other mystic views of reality to promise us a happy and eternal extension of our brief stay here.

    Given such a philosophical look at our background and a secular look at our future, whatever happened to the concept of the “common good,” the idea that ethical citizens fashion their conduct in such a way as to contribute to the wants and needs of society as a whole? It would seem with such an overpopulated and overpopulating third rock from the sun that we are called upon to pay more attention to preservation of where we are living than to the antics of Musk and other asset-gatherers, but such does not appear to be the case. The asset gatherers and their cronies have had considerable success in labelling environmentalists as bearded hippies and with other epithets designed to prevent our environmental survival in a major and selfish undermining of the “common good” design.

    To do: Elect those who will reinstate the “common good” as our socioeconomic design and select an ism that will effect such a renewal. Impossible at this late stage of affairs and events? How do we know? Let’s try it and see.

  19. John, tRump’s good buddy Val Putin is actually a card carrying Fascist. Madeleine Albright (probably not Resting or at Peace at the moment) nailed the definition of a Fascist in her most recent, must read, book “Fascism: A Warning. “She pointed that they invade from the left and the right.

  20. “A worldview that claims God as a political partisan and dehumanizes one’s political opponents as evil is fundamentally antidemocratic.”

    Well, duh. Right and wrong, good and evil are not subject to vote.

    What arrogance to think that man can create morality. Morality exists, and it’s clear.

    If democracy arcs towards degeneracy, out with it.

  21. Stop using anti-Semitic to refer solely to Jews.

    That’s deceitful and very anti-Semitic. There are three Semitic religions, of which the Jews are a small minority. “Semitic” more properly refers to Christians and Muslims.

  22. Steve,

    Absolutely Vladimir Putin is a fascist, but that definitely doesn’t stop him from being Russian Orthodox! The fallacy of these supposed communist run governments, that they are somehow atheist is not rooted in fact. Adolf Hitler attended Catholic School and then converted to protestantism, all the Protestant churches were banded together to form the German Protestant church. The Nazis medals and ribbons not only contained the swastika but also a sign of the cross. The president of Syria is an Orthodox Christian, but he is also Fascist! Fascism, socialism or communism for that matter does not prevent those individuals from being religious.

  23. I usually don’t raise the troll bait, but just in case anyone is fooled for a second by this one

    The term anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by a bigoted German journalist, Wilhelm Marr, to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns under way in central Europe at that time.

    Any suggestion that attempts to alter its meaning and/or origins is ignorant, lying, and quite probably antisemitic in and of itself.

    That being said – if Jews have all the power and wealth — where’s mine?

  24. I think, although it is probably overstating things by a great deal, that I just realized something. That those ‘Christian Nationalists’ are a heretical sect — being neither Christian nor patriots. They obviously have not read the constitution or the Bible without amending it so that they read what they want, not what it says.

  25. I’ve purchased my exit ticket and will be leaving June 1st. I just cannot stomach seeing the US go to Hell in a hand basket from a front row seat.

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