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FFRF to Jan. 6 committee: Please probe white Christian nationalist roots

 

A recent thwarted Patriot Front plot to violently disrupt an LGBTQ pride event in Idaho is proof that white Christian nationalism remains a threat to our nation and shows why its role in the Jan. 6 insurrection should be part of the House hearings.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty issued a major report in February documenting clear evidence of the white Christian nationalist roots of the Capitol attack.

The most recent white Christian nationalist threat occurred last weekend when 31 individuals with the Patriot Front were arrested Saturday for planning a riot during a pride event in Coeur d’Alene. Members of the group, known for “flash demonstrations,” contend that “their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else.” The Anti-Defamation League documents the organization’s anti-Semitism, which is a strong component of white Christian nationalism. The group’s antipathy to LGBTQ rights is also evidence of its white Christian nationalist orientation.

FFRF and the Baptist Joint Committee’s report, “Christian Nationalism and the January 6, 2021 Insurrection,” provides a brief history of white Christian nationalism in the United States. Contributing author and journalist Katherine Stewart unmasks the networks of power and money that prop up the ideology. Baptist Joint Committee President Amanda Tyler, also head of Christians Against Christian Nationalism, refutes the idea that Christianity unites Americans under a national identity. Professor Anthea Butler explains that white Christian nationalism is the belief that America’s founding is based on Christian principles, that white Protestant Christianity is the operational religion of the land, and that Christianity should be the nation’s legal foundation.

Professors Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry use studies to explain white Christian nationalist beliefs as differentiated from Christianity in general. Dr. Jemar Tisby, a historian of race and religion, explores how Black Christian communities contrast with white Christian nationalism. Two chapters by attorney and author Andrew L. Seidel — one detailing the Christian nationalist buildup and dry runs that preceded the Jan. 6 attack and the other documenting the prayers, signage and symbolism of Christian nationalism at the assault — are a key section. 

When the report was released, FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor noted, “There seems to be a reluctance among many in the media to acknowledge the huge part that Christian nationalism played in the events of Jan. 6.” She adds: “We are concerned, as compelling and thorough as the Jan. 6 hearings are, that the Christian nationalist role not be ignored by the House committee. This movement nearly produced a coup, and it remains a threat  to America’s democracy and future.”

Read “Christian Nationalism and the January 6, 2021 Insurrection” here. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with 36,000 members and several chapters across the country. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Photo licensed by the Associated Press