Fascinating interview/podcast with ex-Fundie zealot Brad Onishi. (Terry Gross, NPR)


Christian nationalism, including an extreme version advocated by the group the New Apostolic Reformation, the NAR, has become influential in American government and parts of the judicial system. The NAR advocates for Christian dominion over government, religion, family, business, education, arts and entertainment, and the media. According to the NAR, some of its opponents are afflicted by demons, which must be cast out through exorcism. The NAR has aligned itself with Donald Trump and efforts to overturn the election. Mike Johnson, the speaker of the House, has said he’s been profoundly influenced by Dan Cummins, a Christian nationalist activist. A flag associated with the NAR hangs outside Johnson’s office.

An Alabama Supreme Court decision just made it illegal to destroy frozen, fertilized embryos that are used in infertility treatments because those embryos are people. The chief justice of the court wrote a concurring opinion that says even before birth, all human beings have the image of God and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory. My guest, Brad Onishi, not only studies Christian nationalism. He used to be part of that movement. He left after studying theology at Oxford University. He’s the author of the book “Preparing For War: The Extremist History Of White Christian Nationalism - And What Comes Next.” He also co-hosts the podcast “Straight White American Jesus,” which reports on and analyzes the impact of Christian nationalism on American democracy. He teaches at the University of California, San Francisco.

  • DigitalTraveler42
    link
    fedilink
    English
    71 month ago

    Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are NOT using their religious clout with WISDOM. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are?.. I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.”

    -U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, 1964 Presidential Campaign

    There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me … that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?”

    —U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., Congressional Record (Sept. 16, 1981). Born Jan. 1, 1909; died 1998.

    Barry Goldwater warned us so long ago, but it wasn’t until the Tea Party that the Alt-Right Nazis and Christian Nationalists really came out of rhe closet and onto the main stage, setting things up for MAGA.

  • @bl4kers
    link
    English
    51 month ago

    I found this historical context particularly interesting.

    And Ronald Reagan was somebody who did everything he could to curry the favor of evangelicals and white Catholics and the Moral Majority in the election against Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan delivered on some of those promises, but he ended up frustrating some of his religious right supporters. He didn’t go all the way. Well, we arrived a decade or so later to George W. Bush. George W. Bush was a self-identified evangelical who had been saved by his faith in Jesus Christ. And he certainly did a lot to promote the interests of evangelicals and other conservative Christians in the country.

    But George W. Bush - despite what he did in Iraq and Afghanistan, when he left office, it felt like the itch had not been scratched, that there was still something wrong with the country because even though we’d had an evangelical president for eight years, the country continued to be less religious, less Christian. It continued to get more pluralistic, more diverse, racially and ethnically. And then all of a sudden, it was Barack Obama. And Barack Obama was, like, made in a lab to scare white Christian nationalists. So Barack Obama is president, and then we get Obergefell, and gay marriage is legalized.

    By the time Donald Trump arrives, this group of Christian nationalist voters, whether they be evangelical, whether they be conservative Catholics or Latter Day Saints, are in the mood not for somebody who simply identifies with them and their politics, someone like Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee, they’re in the mood for somebody who will act as the brutalizing barbarian needed to take the country back. If you want to colonize the Earth for God, it’s not enough to have a testimony that says, Jesus saved me from my sins or from my alcoholism. What you need is a bully, somebody who will put in line all those folks that you think are ruining your country and causing it to descend into the pits of hell.

    You don’t just need somebody who’s going to go to church on Sunday and talk a good talk. You need somebody who will destroy in order to rebuild. So Donald Trump, yeah, doesn’t go to church a lot. Donald Trump, been married a couple times. But you know what he promises in ways that no one in our lifetimes has? He promises to punish those who have caused this country to go the wrong way. And so eight years later, we have a base that is more rabid to make him their barbarian king than ever before.