What Is Christian Nationalism?

Short, informative definitions of the most pernicious element infecting Christianity in the U.S.

I have called Christian Nationalism the greatest threat to Christianity in the United States.

If you look at pictures of “Stop the Steal” protests and the historic insurrection that occurred at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, you will notice all the trappings of the Christian religion.

From signs that said “Jesus 2020” right along side ones that said “Trump 2020” to a literal wooden cross being carried by members of the mob, the fusion of Christian symbolism with a perverted form of patriotism has been on full display.

Yet whenever I mention Christian Nationalism and its pernicious presence in US Christianity the obtuse and obsequious often retort, “But what is Christian Nationalism.”

Amid the willfully ignorant, there are also legitimate effort to understand Christian Nationalism by people who are genuinely curious. The definitions below mainly come from sociologists Samuel Perry and Andrew Whitehead.

I encourage you to read their book Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States.

  • Christian nationalism—an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity* with American civic belonging and participation - Samuel L. Perry and Andrew L. Whitehead

  • “Christian” in this sense represents more of an ethno-cultural and political identity that denotes a specific constellation of religious affiliation, cultural values , race, and nationality . - Samuel L. Perry and Andrew L. Whitehead 

The authors also posted the graphic below on social media from the Christians Against Christian Nationalism website.

Pay special attention to how they define the “Christian” in Christian Nationalism.

“But the ‘Christian’ in Christian nationalism is more about identity than religion. It carries with it assumptions about nativism, white supremacy, authoritarianism, patriarchy, and militarism.

So the next time someone asks you to define Christian Nationalism, just share this post!