Christian Nationalism is like a cancer –but is it Benign or Malignant?
If Cancer cells grow unchecked, they take over the vital organs of a body, and the host dies. Some people can live with cancers that may never kill them, like slow-growing prostate cancer. However, other types of cancer can explode and kill someone within months.
Christian Nationalism is a cancer that can attack our republic’s body of democratic institutions. Unfortunately, it has been part of our American culture for hundreds of years. However, America’s democracy has not died. Since the Civil War, Christian Nationalism has been relatively nonthreatening, but could it become malignant and spread?
Republican leaders are energizing their voter base by espousing a Christian Nationalist philosophy.
Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told the CPAC in August 2022, “I’m a Christian nationalist, I have nothing to be ashamed of. Because that’s what most Americans are.” Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, in June 2022, said “the church is supposed to direct the government” and that she’s “tired of this separation of church and state junk.”
Most Republican Congressional members have not expressed these views. However, Greene and Boebert are tapping into their party’s most reliable voter base: white Evangelical Protestants; 56 % of Evangelical Protestants identify as Republicans or lean to that party, 77% are conservative, and 88% of them are white, according to Pew Research. In addition, in 2020, the Brookings Institute did an extensive study showing why the Republicans depended on whiteEvangelical Protestants to win the presidency.
As would be expected, the majority of Evangelical Protestants voted for Donald Trump in 2020. A survey conducted by the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in January 2021 found that 81% say some or a lot of their family members voted for Trump. And Evangelical Christians are the largest religious group in America, with a 2016 National Election Pool exit poll finding that 26% of voters self-identified as white Evangelical Christians.
Christian Nationalism finds strong support among the Republican Evangelical Christian voter base.