The ugly and increasingly violent Christian nationalist chatter in this country is becoming alarming, warns the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Some members of Congress, candidates and other public officials have begun to openly embrace the term Christian nationalist, after previously denying its existence. And other personalities operating in that ideological space are becoming frighteningly extreme. A recent case involves a right-wing podcaster by the name of Dalton Clodfelter, who rants that LGBTQ individuals should be jailed, schools and colleges must be Christian-only and that “every school should promote what it means to be a Christian to the youth of America.”
Most alarmingly, Clodfelter rages: “Once we take control, we will identify our enemies, and we will stomp them into the dirt.”
While the aptly named Clodfelter denies being a Nazi or white supremacist, he doth protest too much. Such hate-mongering speech is reminiscent of the anti-Semitic and pro-fascist views promulgated over radio in the 1930s in the United States by those such as Catholic priest Charles E. Coughlin.
Judge for yourself. Rightwing Watch has posted the video and transcript of Clodfelter spewing hate:
“Once we take our country back, we will have federal agents kicking down the doors of every treasonous Democrat, every treasonous globalist, every homosexual couple that has molested a child, and they will be arrested, and they will be sentenced to prison. I believe in a far right-authoritarian government. No, I am not a fascist. No, I am not a white supremacist. No, I am not a Nazi. But I do believe that hierarchy, structure, and authority are very important. I do believe that our society needs these things in order to progress and maintain its cultural framework.
“I believe that our society needs this in order to rid itself of the sexual immorality and blatant degeneracy running rampant all throughout the country. Once we take control, we will identify our enemies, and we will stomp them into the dirt. They will not be able to return to power. We will rip them from their offices. We will rip them from their homes for being degenerate liars, degenerate treasonous domestic terrorists because that is what they are.
“We want to take back the country and re-establish a Christ-like nation. A nation where the national religion is Christian. A nation where the national language is English. A nation where pornography is banned, homosexuality is banned, and transgenderism is banned. Where you will never see a college that isn’t a Christian college. The only college acceptable that you are able to go to is a Christian school because every school in these United States should teach Christian values. Every school should teach the Ten Commandments in elementary school. Every school should promote what it means to be a Christian to the youth of America. It cannot be any other way. There should be no secular teaching in the schools.”
The threat to jail individuals based on views and the diatribe against LGBTQ folks are frightening. But it’s also important to pay attention to this open avowal to destroy secular public schools.
His rant is in the context of books being stripped from public school libraries. A state legislature voting to give $1.5 million to a nonexistent residential school run by evangelists based on the bible. A Supreme Court ruling that states must provide funding to religious schools if they aid any private schools — even if such states have constitutions that explicitly bar public funding of religious schools and ministries. And another high court ruling allowing a zealot coach to impose vocal sectarian prayers at public high school football games.
Christian nationalists are coming for your rights, our rights, our public schools. After achieving the once-unthinkable coup of persuading the Supreme Court to deny abortion as a constitutional right, Christian nationalists are going after LGBTQ individuals and their rights next. But they’ve also set their sights against secular, public education.
We saw the steady drumbeat urging insurrection prior to the Jan. 6 insurrection, but didn’t grasp at the time how it gave permission to extremists. Grotesque podcasters such as Clodfelter are now out there stirring up a profoundly dystopian plan to overturn the American experiment and establish a bible-based autocracy. They are enemies of America’s pluralism and secular government who must not be allowed to prevail.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 37,000 members and several chapters across the country. FFRF protects the constitutional separation between state and church and educates about nontheism.