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Friday, November 3, 2023

Speaker Johnson and Christian Nationalism

Thomas Edsall at NYT:
Robert Jones, the president and founder of the Public Religion Research Institute, described Johnson in an email as “the embodiment of white Christian nationalism in a tailored suit.”

What is Christian nationalism? Christianity Today described it as the “belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way. Popularly, Christian nationalists assert that America is and must remain a ‘Christian nation’ — not merely as an observation about American history, but as a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future.”

Johnson’s election as speaker, Jones went on to say, “is one more confirmation that the Republican Party — a party that is 68 percent white and Christian in a country that is 42 percent white and Christian — has embraced its role as the party of white Christian nationalism.”

Jones argued that “while Johnson is more polished than other right-wing leaders of the G.O.P. who support this worldview, his record and previous public statements indicate that he’s a near textbook example of white Christian nationalism — the belief that God intended America to be a new promised land for European Christians.”

In a long and data-filled analysis posted on Substack on Oct. 29, “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Sources of MAGA Madness,” Michael Podhorzer, a former political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., argued that the election of Johnson reflects the success of the Christian right in a long-term struggle to wrest control from traditional Republican elites, in battles fought out in Republican primary elections.