Not Even A Festivus For The Rest Of Us…

Unlike most Americans, I was never a big “Seinfeld” fan, but many of the sitcom’s jokes became widespread–none more than its promotion of “Festivus for the rest of us,” a “celebration” for those who don’t celebrate Christmas.

What brought that mythical holiday to mind was a very unfunny report from Talking Points Memo about America’s growing Christian Nationalist movement, a movement that–if successful–will leave no room for alternate (i.e. nonChristian) holidays. The sub-head really says it all: “From traditional Christian-right figures to secret societies envisioning a ‘national divorce,’ a growing contingent of radical activists is planning for Christian supremacy.”

The report was written by Sarah Posner, a journalist who has covered the Christian Right for two decades.

Over the past three years, I began to more frequently use the term “Christian nationalism” to describe the movement I cover. But I did not start using a new term to suggest its proponents’ ideology had changed. Instead, the term had come into more common usage in the Trump era, now regularly used by academics, journalists, and pro-democracy activists to describe a movement that insists America is a “Christian nation” — that is, an illiberal, nominally democratic theocracy, rather than a pluralistic secular democracy.

To me, the phrase was highly descriptive of the movement I’ve dedicated my career to covering, and neatly encapsulates the core threat the Christian right poses to freedom and equality. From its top leaders and influencers down to the grassroots — politically mobilized white evangelicals, the foot soldiers of the Christian right — its proponents believe that God divinely ordained America to be a Christian nation; that this Christian nation has come under attack by liberals and secularists; and that patriotic Christians must engage in spiritual warfare to rid America of demonic forces, and in political action to restore its Christian heritage. That includes taking political steps — as a voter, as an elected official, as a lawyer, as a judge — to ensure that America is governed according to a “biblical worldview.”

Those of us who occupy a far more secular America have been laboring under the misapprehension that religious wars are things of the past. Those of us who are comfortable in a society formed in large part by changes introduced during the Enlightenment–respect for science and empiricism, belief that governments derive their powers from the people, not from deity–have a hard time recognizing, let alone understanding, a worldview that remains rooted in the 16th Century. But that is the worldview that has spawned today’s politically active megachurches, and what the article calls “culture-shaping organizations like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

These “Christian soldiers” want governance according to their vision of a biblical worldview. They oppose church-state separation, want expanded rights for conservative Christians, are dead-set against abortion and LGBTQ rights, and are extremely hostile to trans people and trans rights. (Here in Indiana, Jim Banks–currently the unopposed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, often called “Focus on the Family’s man in Washington, is a perfect example of a Christian Nationalist “warrior.”)

Posner and several others have noted the prominence of Christian iconography at the January 6 insurrection, and the growing willingness of MAGA Christians to tolerate, even welcome, virulent racists, anti-Semites and other extremists in their midst. As she writes, “Their entire alliance with Trump is one of sharing political and ideological space with the overtly antisemitic, racist, Islamophobic, nativist extremists he elevated to mainstream status in the GOP.”

Posner describes the various strands within Christian Nationalism, but notes commonalities as well: they “believe they are restoring, and will run, the Christian nation God intended America to be — from the inside.”

They will do that, in their view, through faith (evangelizing others and bringing them to salvation through Jesus Christ); through spiritual warfare (using prayer to battle satanic enemies of Christian America); and through politics and the law (governing and lawmaking from a “biblical worldview” after eviscerating church-state separation). Changes in the evangelical world, particularly the emphasis in the growing charismatic movement on prophecy, signs and wonders, spiritual warfare, the prosperity gospel, and Trumpism, has intensified the prominence of the supernatural in their politics, giving their Christian nationalism its own unmistakable brand.

Every single MAGA politician elected in November will be a foot-soldier for Christian Nationalism. A Trump victory would give them free reign to remake America in accordance with a “Godly” vision–a vision that was expressly rejected by the nation’s Founders.

The world that these Christian Nationalist politicians inhabit (and want to impose upon all of America) is pre-modern, intolerant, anti-science, anti-democracy. It has no room for “the rest of us.”


  1. I think I’ll have to watch Bill Maher’s prescient Religulous again. Our deist and/or atheist founding fathers were not only opposed to anything smelling like a theocracy, but I am sure would be horrified at the growing Christian Nationalism au courant in our country. This is frightening.

  2. Another source about Christian Nationalism and the extremism happening within Evangelical Christianity is “The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory…” by Tim Alberta.

  3. Those proponents of ruling the U.S. by the “Biblical worldview” have obviously not read the Bible; the Old Testament or the New Testament. The punishments for their daily – and nightly – actions and life styles would scare them away from that view. The entire population of the U.S. would be found guilty of some form of “sin” or crime requiring severe punishments for their currently acceptable daily – and nightly – lives. The current “conservative” Republican acceptable life style of Donald Trump (as posted by Lester Levine yesterday) is rife with “sin” and blatant crimes which our democracy, Rule of Law and Constitution “preaches” against. Congregation numbers are reportedly dropping in all “Christian houses of religion” today due to Donald Trump and his MAGAs yet they continue to support and donate in the name of the Republican party, they will vote for him even if convicted of every civil and criminal case currently in our courts as he fights to delay conviction and incarceration with appeal after appeal after appeal.

    Sheila said it best in the political view; “The world that these Christian Nationalist politicians inhabit (and want to impose upon all of America) is pre-modern, intolerant, anti-science, anti-democracy. It has no room for “the rest of us.”

  4. Most of the founding forefathers wrote the constitution so that people could have the freedoms we all deserve which explicitly come from God not man.
    We need to understand what people like my relatives Quakers went through to kerp our nation free. Christian nationalism is a ploy to win votes from the left as much as the few Christians who believe in an extreme nationalist view.
    Christians are dictated to not love anything of or in this world
    Christians not only are to look at the laws that govern them as necessary but moral. Most laws were written in this country at its start with principles based biblically.
    You may not agree with the Wallbuilders organizations conclusion, but clearly its not being taught that these men knew scriptures very well and applied their vslues to the freedoms we have today in the constitution snd preamble. “We hold these truths that all men are created equal”. This led eventually to the end of slavery even.
    Peace on earth good will toward men was adhered to only one time during WWI. That happened at Christmas when people took their eyes off their own nationalistic views and met in the middle of a battlefield on Christmas eve. The onlw way we can look beyond ourselves, our nation, and the centralized power down approach to all governments, we need to look at the love that told us to forgive and turn the other cheek so He could be lifted up. It was John the Baptist who said, “ I myst decrease so that He might increase”

    The Supreme Court handed down a 9-0 ruling in the Muldrow vs St Louis where a police sergeant was unwillingly transferred out of spite. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights act was cited as the plaintiff states she was discriminated against in a transfer. Elena Kagan wrote the summary judgement.

  5. We continue to see public tax dollars diverted to church schools where another generation of Americans are being spoon fed this drivel.

  6. The use of the word “Christian” to describe these nutcases is as inaccurate as the idea that we are a Christian nation. The correct term is “White Evangelical Christians” (WEC). Note that non white Evangelical Christians don’t believe that horse pucky, nor do non-Evangelical Christians. When I want to describe Christians I want to know what they think about 25 Matthew 30-45. IMHO those verses are the crux of Christianity. You can read it and see that it would be anathema to our WEC

  7. It sounds like the right’s brand of Christianity aligns well with Russia’s Christian Orthodoxy. It might be why the right seems like they are “owned by” Putin. Russia has many laws against LGBTQ+ and same-sex marriage. Russia makes fun of the Western liberal ways. I could point out the same for countries in the Middle East, which have religious fundamentalism at its core.

    One thing all Christian-based religions have in common is their ability to abandon Christ’s principles whenever they don’t serve them. I don’t think many of them have read the Bible, and neither have their pastors. You can’t have morals unless you’re a “good Christian.” Most secular humanists have stronger morals than these hypocritical right-wingers.

    This is not a growing group. Watching televangelists every day doesn’t make you a good Christian. Faith without works is dead, and their works are hateful and hypocritical. There is nothing attractive about their brand, and younger generations are turned off, furthering a declining future for this group of religious fanaticism.

  8. The headline in 4/19/24 Washington Post reads, “Police end protest at Columbia University. Over 100 arrested after refusing to vacate pro-Palestinian camp.”

    I know enough history to be apprehensive when deadly force is used to curb peaceful protest. The terms “Kent State” or “Jackson State” mean nothing to many alive today.

    I also wonder if some entity is trying to divide U.S. society along the lines of religion. I’ve heard several predict a civil war is coming to the U.S. Perhaps it is being deliberately fomented and authoritarian rule will need to be declared to keep the peace.

  9. There is a connection between Biblical and Constitutional textualism, which is the notion that long ago, minds could write something that could be applied forever through unseen progress and we could read those minds today to interpret situations in these times as they would have in those times.

    Both, of course, are based on the same morality. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    But both texts go into substantial detail, and our times are substantially different from their times, in part because of them. We have learned a lot. Why assume that they could read our minds and we can read theirs? It seems plainly impossible to me.

  10. Religion is an addiction of the weak minded that has been used for all of history to convince the ignorant and stupid to behave themselves.

    Being a control technique, it has also been used by authoritarians to inspire obedience, and that of course is precisely what we are seeing now.

  11. Jesus associated with lepers, an adultress, tax gatherers and other such chaff of his day and would feel right at home with our chaff of today. He was destined to be hung, having chased the corrupt Pharisees out of the temple as a teen-ager. You don’t mess with the power base who run the synagogues, who along with the Roman occupiers, run the show.

    He was a socialist whose economic philosophy is much like that of today’s senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, i.e., feed the poor, heal the sick etc. Today’s Magas, their power mad insurrectionist leaders and duped millions should read the real story of Jesus sans the magic the bible writers added to the script.

    He was a good one, and his political views were summed up with a statement he is alleged to have made, as in “Render unto God what is God’s, and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” This is the first no-no statement in re synagogue and state (or church and state for our purposes) in history with which I am aware, and one
    with which our Founders were aware. (See First Amendment.)

    I am inclined to drop “Christian” out of the phrase “White Christian Nationalism.” There is nothing “Christian” in the Maga movement. It’s rather a cover to entrap the unwary, who are legion.

  12. Even more dangerous is the Family Policy Alliance that was created by James Dobson. It was initially a behind-the-scenes program that lobbied legislators and was kept secret so the members and their lobbying did not appear to be coordinated. They created and still back the culture wars in the state legislatures and in DC.

    Jim Banks’ wife, Amanda, started her career at Focus on the Family and is now the VP of Education there and leads the Statesman Academy and also the recently created School Board Academy.

    These organizations are extremely well-funded and have been an integral force behind the political divisions in our country. Claiming that they want religious freedom is a blatant lie. They are dangerous warriors whose ultimate goal is Religious Domination and a Theocracy!

  13. Interesting comment from John S. He provided an excellent list of “Christian” virtues. But, I am curious which of those virtues are not part of the humanism creed. Unless I missed it, I did not see a requirement to believe in a supreme deity. Perhaps that was simply implied. He left out other “virtues” that are pretty clear, such as anti homosexuality with the penalty of death by stoning. What about the place of women in society? Paul had a few comments on that issue. And, if you want to include Old Testament admonitions… wow! I think I’ll just go with secular humanism- which allows anyone to worship the deity of their choice. You just can’t force me to do the same!

  14. I have a mental illness that does not allow me to enjoy “Christianity” in the way so many other’s do. Its hard to get away from religion even in the hospital “nuthouse” where they have bibles beside every table and crosses hung on the wall and many mentally ill people who are religious or are having mental problems with religion.

    So instead I make my own little religion for myself alone out of bits and pieces of things that make sense to me. I don’t need to push it on anyone and usually it serves me well.

  15. Christian nationalists are definitely NOT Christian. Was their attack on the Capital, on police, and other Capital Hill personnel something Jesus would do?

    Neither are Christian nationalists pro-America. Attacking our Capital and Capital Hill police was traitorous rather than nationalistic.

    The ‘nationalists’ used to show bumper stickers saying ‘love it or leave it’. They think our American melting pot of races, religions, ethnicities, creeds, etc. is a bad thing, but I don’t see them leaving.

  16. I am nearly 74 years old, and a product of Catholic schools 1-12. In grade school we sang a hymn called An Army of Youth. An army of youth, flying the standard of truth, were marching for Christ Our King. Heads lifted high, Catholic action our cry, and the cross our only sword… etc.” Extremely militant, and with a soaring organ pouring over us we actually began marching in place about half way through. I have to admit it thrilled me and gave me shivers. The memory now makes me sick to my stomach, and is worse because many of my classmates are still enslaved by this rhetoric.

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