Christian Nationalism and the Capitol insurrection


The Freedom From Religion Foundation continues to uncover and amplify the role of Christian Nationalism in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. As part of this effort, two experts on religious nationalism have appeared on recent episodes of our show “Ask an Atheist,” which streams weekly on Facebook Live.

Journalist Katherine Stewart joined FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert and Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel to discuss the lies, myths and misinformation that incited the violent insurrection. Stewart, who tirelessly covers Christian Nationalism in America, explained the religious and white nationalist roots of the militia groups that led the insurrection, her recent New York Times op-ed on Religious Right darling Sen. Josh Hawley, and how we may begin to deflate the hyperviolent, anti-democratic worldview of these religious footsoldiers.

“Religious nationalism is really central to the explanation of this crisis,” Stewart said. “You can’t explain how Trump came to power and how so many leaders in the Republican Party today, unfortunately, and also Religious Right leaders are so hostile to democracy unless you understand something about Christian Nationalism and how it functions.”

Last week, Seidel, FFRF’s in-house Christian Nationalist expert and author of The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American, hosted activist and author Chrissy Stroop. The two examined how mainstream coverage of the Capitol attack has finally started to identify religious nationalism as an organizing principle for these militia groups. Stroop lent a rich historical and sociological perspective to understanding the events surrounding the presidential transfer of power and how we can resist the religious machinery that continues to radicalize vast swaths of the American public.

“Long before Fox News, the Christian Right was doing alternative facts in it’s own parallel information ecosystem, which indeed I grew up in,” said Stroop. “We were taught from a very early age we have to make our national obedient to God or God will punish our nation.”

You can catch up on both these episodes right now on FFRF’s YouTube channel. Stewart’s episode can be found here and Stroop’s episode can be found here.

“Ask An Atheist” is on hiatus this week, but will return next Wednesday at noon Central. FFRF Associate Counsel Elizabeth Cavell will be joined by Lena Zwarensteyn from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to discuss the way forward for rebalancing the federal courts that have been captured by extremist Trump nominees. Join us Wednesday, Feb. 3, on Facebook Live!

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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