White Christian Nationalism

What It Is and How We Can Respond

LEARN MORE:

Take time to educate yourself, your family, and your faith community about the ideologies that the perpetrator of the May 2022 shooting in Buffalo espoused.  While some may dismiss “Replacement Theory” as extreme, its deep and pervasive roots lie in the common practice of “othering” that is baked into ways we talk with and about people.  Though at times it can be subtle, it was also blatantly woven right into the foundations of this nation, when founders were clear they feared whites not being in power. 

Professor Anthea Butler, Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Religious Studies Department recently said, “Those who agree with some or all of the White Christian Nationalist tenets might be sitting next to you in the pew. These are people we work with. They are people we see every day. They’re people that you might not even know have these beliefs but who listen to media outlets that promote WCN and are ingesting this.”  The pernicious subtlety of racism means they could also be us.

So, learn (the following resources may be helpful).  …Then, act.

“What Is Christian Nationalism” by Christians Against Christian Nationalism

Professors Philip Gorski and Samuel Perry discuss their new book, “The Flag and the Cross”

“Our Moral Pandemic: Christian Nationalism and Political Idolatry” by Drew Strait, May 9, 2022, sojo.net

Pulitzer Center’s 5-part series on Christian Nationalism

Harvard Divinity School’s February 2022 Greeley Lecture for Peace and Justice, featuring Professor Anthea Butler, Chair, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania: “Peril to Democracy – Racism and Nationalism in America.”

TAKE ACTION:

Call your senators (202-224-3121) and urge them to pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (the bill has already passed in the House).

Donate to support Buffalo attack survivors and victims’ families.

Tops Market and National Compassion Fund gofundme page

Help to ensure there are welcoming and safe spaces for people of color in your midst who are dealing with grief, trauma and righteous anger.  Their voices should be front and center, but non-BIPOC people should avoid placing a burden on them, instead, simply welcoming any opportunity that they offer to be a moment to hear from them.  Remember, BIPOC people are not all the same and will have different reactions, experiences and feelings about events like the Buffalo shooting. 

Predominantly white faith communities should strengthen their capacity for listening without being defensive, for being open and asking clarifying questions. Don’t pretend elements of White Christian Nationalism aren’t in your midst.  Calling out moments of bias, rhetoric, or misinformation that aligns with the ideology that fuels hate criminals like the Buffalo shooter will help to defuse thinking that too easily escalates into feelings that people who are “not like us” (e.g., minorities, Black people, immigrants, Black Lives Matter activists) are “out to get us.”  This is hard.  And it is necessary.

Consult with your own denomination for guidance and resources.

Share these handbooks created by the Western States Center and Southern Poverty Law Center to help parents and caregivers disrupt the flow of bigoted ideas and conspiracy theories.

Double check your voter registration status and familiarize yourself with the positions of elected officials and candidates in your town, state, and congressional delegation.

Join the Maine Council of Churches and our trusted partner organization, the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, in continuing our advocacy for sensible policies that promote gun safety and prevent gun violence.  There is much we can do to minimize the risk that another AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle is carried into a grocery store (or a school, workplace or house of worship) and used by someone who justifies killing with race-based hatred.

As Amy Spitalnick, Executive Director of Integrity First for America, states: “It’s going to take all of us — the majority of Americans who reject white supremacy and support diversity, inclusion, and a more just society — to defeat the forces of extremism and hate. But always remember that we are the majority. And when we come together, we will win.”

Special thanks to Integrity First for America; Dustin Ward of It Is Time, LLC; Christians Against Christian Nationalism; and Harvard Divinity School for their assistance in compiling these resources.