Christians Against Christian Nationalism lead organizer Amanda Tyler made history when she recently testified before Congress about Christian nationalism.
“Christian nationalism often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation,” Tyler told members of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which is chaired by Rep. Jamie Raskin.
Her oral testimony on Dec. 13 lasted about five minutes, and she also submitted 13 pages of written testimony on behalf of Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, much of which was based on the joint report published by the group and the Freedom From Religion Foundation earlier this year about Christian nationalism’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
Christian nationalism “creates and perpetuates a sense of cultural belonging that is limited to certain people associated with the founding of the United States — namely native-born, white Christians,” Tyler stated during a hearing on “Confronting White Supremacy,” the final in a series of hearings on the evolution of anti-democratic extremist groups and the ongoing threat to democracy.
Tyler defined Christian nationalism as a “political ideology and cultural framework that seeks to merge American and Christian identities.” She added, “It suggests that real Americans are Christians and that true Christians hold a particular set of political beliefs.” Tyler emphasized that criticism of Christian nationalism is not criticism of Christianity, and that Christian nationalism “is a gross distortion of the Christian faith that I and many others hold dear.”
“Christian nationalism is not patriotism,” Tyler noted. “Patriotism is a healthy love of country; nationalism is an allegiance to country that demands supremacy over all other allegiances.” She noted that “the Christian nation myth” necessarily downplays or ignores the role of indigenous communities, Black Americans, immigrant populations, religious minorities and secular Americans because they “undercut the false narrative that the U.S. is special because it was founded by and for white Christians.”
Another major mention of Christian nationalism in Congress this year has been when Rep. Jared Huffman from the floor some months ago touted FFRF’s and Baptist Joint Committee’s Jan. 6 report.
In other testimony of interest, a video was played showing the so-called “Watchman Decree,” whose prayer declaration states that “because of our covenant with God, we are equipped and delegated by Him to destroy every attempted advance of the enemy.” An individual holding an “Appeal to Heaven” flag was shown praying to “almighty God” to “steel yourself for this war.”
“We commend Rep. Raskin for inviting Amanda Tyler to testify about the role Christian nationalism plays with white supremacy movements — and Ms. Tyler for her outstanding advocacy to call the alarm on Christian nationalism’s continuing threat to democracy,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president.