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Recommended Resources for the Study of White Christian Nationalism

White Christian Nationalism is a pervasive and complex ideology encompassing both historical and contemporary concerns. The Justice Advocates team encourages organizations, congregations, and individuals to gain an understanding of its basic tenets in order to comprehend the urgency of the challenge it represents to both American democracy and the witness of the Church.

 

Resources for the study of White Christian Nationalism are plentiful. The limited options presented here represent what we have found useful. We believe these options come from reliable sources and are readily adaptable for individual or small group study. They are certainly not exhaustive! 

New Resources: 2024

In this election year, interest in and concern about White Christian Nationalism is increasing. Here are some recommended resources for personal or group study. 

God & Country

One of the most important resources released in 2024 is the 90-minute documentary about the rise and power of Christian Nationalism: God & Country. See below for more details. 

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, February 29, 2024

Tracing the Rise of Christian Nationalism: From Trump to the Alabama Supreme Court

  • An interview with Bradley Onishi of Straight White American Jesus prompted by the Alabama Supreme Court ruling related to IVF and frozen embryos.

  • Onishi provides a basic introduction to Christian Nationalism including an extreme version embodied by the New Apostolic Reformation movement. (See below for SWAJ's series on the New Apostolic Reformation.)

From PRRI: Support for Christian Nationalism in All 50 States: Findings from PRRI's 2023 American Values Atlas

Findings from the latest and largest research study on support for Christian Nationalism in all 50 states, presented by leaders in this field of study: 

  • Robert P. Jones, founder and president of PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute)

  • Katherine Stewart, journalist and author of The Power Worshippers

  • Jemar Tisby, historian and author of The Color of Compromise

  • Andrew Whitehead, sociologist and author of American Idolatry and Taking America Back for God

Access a recording of the webinar presenting the results here and the written report here.

But...is it Christian Nationalism? (March 21, 2024) 

In this excellent podcast episode from Respecting Religion, Amanda Tyler and Holly Holman (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) answer questions they receive about situations or statements that may or may not be interpreted as manifestations of Christian Nationalism. The questions represent common misunderstandings about this movement. The answers presented offer clarity about how insidious and pervasive this movement has been and can become. You can access this episode (including supporting resources and transcript) here

Definitions

...a political ideology and cultural framework that seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian Nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the state and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian.

Christians Against Christian Nationalism 

... an ethnocultural ideology that uses Christian symbolism to create a permission structure for the acquisition of political power and social control.

Jemar Tisby, author of The Color of Compromise and

How to Fight Racism 

... a constellation of beliefs — that the founding of the United States was ‘divinely inspired’ or that God is invested in the success of the U.S. — that manifest in political goals.

Philip Gorski and Samuel Perry

authors: The Flag and the Cross

Five Markers of Christian Nationalism 
  • The United States government should declare America a Christian Nation.

  • The laws of the United States should be based on Christian values.

  • If the United States moves away from our Christian foundations, we will not have a country anymore.

  • Being Christian is an important part of being truly American.

  • God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of American society.

 

Based on responses to survey questions, respondents can be placed into four key groups, reflecting a continuum of support/opposition

to Christian Nationalism:

ADHERENTS, SYMPATHIZERS, SKEPTICS, AND REJECTERS. 

PRRI/Brookings Institution Christian Nationalism Survey, November and December 2022

Access the Justice Advocates Series on White Christian Nationalism Here.

To access the PowerPoint slides from a presentation entitled The Dangers of Christian Nationalism by the Rev. Dr. David A. Jones, click here

God & Country
(documentary) 

God & Country (2024) is a documentary produced by Rob Reiner and directed by Dan Partland. It offers a 90 minute overview of the rise of Christian Nationalism including visuals of gatherings along with statements from faith leaders about the threat presented by this movement. Those leaders include: Bishop William J. Barber II, Anthea Butler, Kristin Kobes DuMez (author of Jesus and John Wayne), Katherine Stewart, Jemar Tisby, and Andrew Whitehead. It was released to theaters in January 2024 but received only limited showings. It is now available for rental or purchase on video streaming services. You can watch its trailer here

Jemar Tisby: White Nation 
Under God (YouTube series) 
  • What is White Christian Nationalism? (Jemar Tisby)

  • White Christian Nationalism and the January 6 Insurrection (Andrew Seidel)

  • How Christians Can Resist White Christian Nationalism (Amanda Tyler)

  • How I Escaped the Web of White Christian Nationalism (Chuck Armstrong)

  • (Plus) How White Christian Nationalism Threatens Democracy (Gorski and Perry)

Access the playlist for the first four videos here.

Access the final video here

Christians Against
Christian Nationalism 

Under the direction of Amanda Tyler, Christians Against Christian Nationalism is a leader in the effort to oppose Christian Nationalism. CACN's extensive resource collection includes a three part study for personal or group use. A complete listing of their resources can be found here. CACN has also drafted a statement opposing Christian Nationalism. 

CACN is affiliated with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. That organization's podcast series, Respecting Religion, offers important resources on Christian Nationalism, including both historical perspective and contemporary manifestations. 

Amanda Tyler testified before the U.S. House Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in December 2022. Video of that testimony can be accessed here. Her more extensive written testimony can be accessed here

The Southern Poverty
Law Center 

For over 50 years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been dedicated to ensuring that the promise of the civil rights movement becomes a reality for all. Their annual report, The Year in Hate and Extremism, documents hate and anti-government groups throughout the United States. To access the report for 2022 (released in June 2023), click here

Names to Know in the Movement Against White Christian Nationalism 

Philip S. Gorski: professor of sociology and religious studies, Yale University, co-author of The Flag and the Cross 

Robert P. Jones: president and founder of PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute), author of White Too Long

Samuel L. Perry: sociologist, University of Oklahoma, co-author Taking America Back for God and The Flag and the Cross 

Katherine Stewart, journalist focusing on public policy and religion, featured in the New York Times and Washington Post, author of The Power Worshippers

Jemar Tisby, historian, author, and speaker, author of The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism

Amanda Tyler, attorney and executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, lead organizer for Christians Against Christian Nationalism

Andrew L. Whitehead: associate professor of sociology, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, co-author of Taking America Back for God

PRRI/Brookings Institution Report: February 2023

The latest PRRI/Brookings Institution survey of Christian Nationalism was taken from November 21 to December 14, 2022. A report of its findings was presented on February 8, 2023 with the title: “A Christian Nation? Understanding the Threat of White Christian Nationalism to American Democracy and Culture”

 

A recording of that presentation can be accessed here.

A written report can be accessed here

An interpretation of this report's findings was presented by Diana Bulter Bass to the congregation of Temple Micah (Washington, DC) on February 13, 2023. She included reflections on three theological movements undergirding Christian Nationalism: Dominionist, Christian Reconstruction, and Neo-Traditionalist Catholicism. A recording of that presentation can be accessed here

Books and Print Resources

Book Sampler (by date of publication)

  • Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry (2020 and 2022)

  • Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, Katherine Stewart (2020)

  • The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy, Philip S. Gorski and Samuel L. Perry (2022) (forward by Jemar Tisby)

From Sojourners:  “Do We Dare to Disciple People

Out of Christian Nationalism?” 

October 13, 2022

by Adam Russell Taylor  Access here

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