Pastors who preached Christian nationalism and Trump’s promise from God are complicit on this violence

Sarah Stankorb

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Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump pray outdoors the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

It’s not by likelihood that banners with Jesus’ identify flew above this week’s rebellion on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, armed home terrorists scaled the United States Capitol constructing in opposition to the backdrop of a makeshift scaffold with a dangling noose. Rioters clamored up partitions, broke home windows, pawed at Congressional places of work, killed a Capitol Police officer, and planted explosive gadgets. It was a scene some have likened to the autumn of Rome.

Among the Confederate flags and Trump banners, the bare-bellied New Age shaman costumes, and anti-Semitic shirts and hoodies, have been indicators of Jesus: “Jesus Saves.” “Jesus 2020.” “Make America Godly Again.” Since when did a violent insurgency in opposition to our halls authorities have something to do with Jesus?

Really, it’s been this fashion for a very long time.

According to the Pew Research Center’s 2018 data on religious typologies, 12% of Americans surveyed thought of themselves “God and Country Christians” for whom American conservative values and nationwide Christianity have been most essential. Sociologists like Andrew Whitehead have been studying this section of American Christians for years; they consider the United States, like Old Testament Israel, should keep cultural purity via conservative insurance policies that mirror a model of strict, white Protestantism to satisfy God’s will.

Commonly, these beliefs get folded in with a nativist view that features white supremacy, authoritarianism, patriarchy, and militarism. If you’ll be able to settle for all that, it isn’t an amazing leap to consider our nation is below assault by atheists, feminists, and Muslim immigrants. Your pastor may preach that the protection of your nation is your non secular responsibility.

Donald Trump, by interesting to those fears and bemoaning a lack of American Christian heritage at his big-tent rallies, turned a figurehead for accelerating Christian nationalism’s gospel distortion. Comfortable in a worldview that reveres authority like his, the president legitimized their fears, telling his followers on the January 6 “Save America Rally,” “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

For God’s promised nation, these Trump supporters have been armed foot-soldiers.

If you’re witnessing Christian nationalism from afar, such because the First Dallas choir singing “Make America Great Againas a hymn, it may be exhausting to grasp how Christianity turned so pink, white, and blue. But as pastor and journalist Angela Denker writes in her e-book Red State Christians, Christian nationalism is at present on show in lots of conservative church buildings throughout the nation.

It’s not simply the rhetoric mixing theology and freedom, coverage and prayer; Denker writes, “even Christmas and Easter are subsumed by a sort of civic religion that worships God, Guns, and Country.” The majesty and pomp historically outlined by the liturgical calendar has shifted, “lifting up Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July to the same place of honor as religious high holy days.” At these providers, American flags and bunting on the altar are plentiful.

In her widely-acclaimed e-book, Jesus and John Wayne: How Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez describes how evangelical masculinity popularized since Billy Graham turned the inspiration of American Christian nationalism.

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