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Overheard (March 2022)

The results are almost unequivocal that those who support the Insurrectionists are highly Christian nationalist.

Paul A. Djupe and Ryan P. Burge in their article “Support for the insurrection is largely limited to Christian nationalists.”, 1-12-22

The most serious attempt to overthrow the American constitutional system since the Civil War would not have been feasible without the influence of America’s Christian nationalist movement. One year later, the movement seems to have learned a lesson: If it tries harder next time, it may well succeed in making the promise of American democracy a relic of the past.

Katherine Stewart, in her column, “Christian nationalism is one of Trump’s most powerful weapons.

The New York Times, 1-6-22

Wacky ideas are infused with new life when met with silence or assent. Arm yourself with good, science-based information about some of these nutty beliefs and contest, contest, contest!

Jim Underdown, in his column “The biggest lie.”

Center For Inquiry, 1-12-222

We are forgetting that Jan. 6 was very much a religious event — white Christian nationalism on display. We must remember that fact. Because evidence is mounting that white Christian nationalism could provide the theological cover for more events like it.

Samuel L. Perry, sociology and religious studies professor at the University of Oklahoma, in his column “Jan. 6 may have been only the first wave of Christian nationalist violence.”

Time, 1-4-22

Where journalists and commentators are failing us . . . is in their refusal to push past their Christian supremacist biases enough to take these political actions seriously as Christianity. Not as a perversion of Christianity, but as one very real and powerful broad expression of the faith with deep historical roots that’s been present in one form or another at least since the fourth century, when Christianity became deeply entangled with Roman imperial power. . . This Christianity is not a less authentic form of the faith than turn-the-other-cheek Christianity just because we may find it less congenial.

Chrissy Stroop, in her column, “One year after Jan. 6, media still refuse to recognize authoritarian Christianity.”

Religion Dispatches, 1-4-22

I think it’s statistically accurate to say that agnostics are in many ways just a toned-down version of atheist. And . . . many agnostics do become atheists over time.

Ryan Burge, political science teacher at Eastern Illinois University, in his article “Are agnostics just atheists light?”

ReligioninPublic blog, 1-7-22

It’s often said that the joiners of cults and subscribers to delusions are driven by their hatred of elites. But in the present situation, the snake oil salesmen are not just Alex Jones, QAnon’s master manipulators and evangelical hucksters. They are senators, powerful white Christian men, prominent media figures, billionaires and their foundations, even a former president.

Historian Rebecca Solnit, in her article, “An assault on the truth.”

The New York Times, 1-9-22

It seems obvious that belief in prophetic religion, which is widespread in American religion, bestows a level of certainty and righteousness that can propel projects forward with no guardrails. It just so happens that prophetic Christian nationalists are common and are likely to rally behind extreme groups on their side. 

Paul A. Djupe of Denison University, in his article, “The accelerant of American extreme politics: prophecy belief.”, 1-20-22

If religions don’t make these ideals [compassionate, kind, just, honest] the most important ends of human action, then their value rightfully should be diminished. If secularization is advancing these ideals, then it should grow and be embraced. And vice versa. 

Lou Matz, in his column, “The rise of the religiously unaffiliated: Is increasing secularization of U.S. a good trend?”

The Stockton Record, 1-22-22

Enlightened lay Catholics increasingly understand that looking to a priest, or a bishop, or even a pope for guidance and moral example has been a dangerous mistake. Generations of those men have brought the church to its greatest crisis in some 500 years — and they cannot solve the problem of credibility and accountability for one simple reason. They are the problem.

Columnist David Von Drehle, in his column, “A pope complicit in covering up sex crimes can bid moral authority goodbye.”

Washington Post, 1-26-22

There’s this gradual move toward a more revolutionary, burn-it-all-down posture, and I think Christian Identity for a lot of these people has become a way for them to organize their thoughts.

Alex Bradley Newhouse, deputy director of Middlebury College’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism, on the Christian Identity ideology that claims, among other things, that Jesus was a white Aryan and that the end times will come about through a racial holy war.

Religion News, 1-26-22

It is also clear that a Biden pick is needed to defend fundamental constitutional rights, as the court’s six-member majority has a different agenda: imposition of an ideological (if not theological) agenda from the bench. And that the right-wing majority is impervious to reason and appeals to precedent. Instead, it has pre-decided every case of political import and will reach a conclusion pleasing to their political patrons.

Columnist Jennifer Rubin, in her column, “This is not how the Supreme Court is supposed to work.”

Washington Post, 1-26-22