The White Christian Nationalism Scare: Is it a Real Threat or a Social(ist) Construct?

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The White Christian Nationalism Scare: Is it a Real Threat or a Social(ist) Construct?
The White Christian Nationalism Scare: Is it a Real Threat or a Social(ist) Construct?

In the eyes of liberals, there is only one thing worse than Christian nationalism. It is white Christian nationalism. The addition of the adjective white supercharges the expression with vitriol and power, turning its followers (especially if they are male) into something everyone should love to hate.

Judging from the liberal media uproar, the dangers of white Christian nationalism (WCN) are immense. It is systemic, found everywhere inside the culture and governing structures of American society. Should something like this triumph, it will be the end of American democracy.

People would think this white Christian nationalism, being such a broad and imminent threat, must have many ways of expressing itself and exerting its enormous influence over the population. It must have an articulate doctrine and a means of diffusing itself into every sector of society. It must have books, publications, think tanks and political organizations building its cause—a power base proportional to this overwhelming influence.

However, no vast network of influence exists. Aside from racist fringe groups with no projection, there is nothing in real America that even remotely matches the description or even uses the WCN name. No local WCN chapters exist. Most people cannot name a white Christian nationalist or say they know one personally. They also cannot recall growing up under this influence or hearing of its existence.

Indeed, to use the language of the liberals waxing hysterical over WCN, this danger is a social construct that exists much more in their superheated imaginations than in the public square. The expression serves to malign anyone who questions the woke agenda or takes their religion seriously. It is not meant to describe reality.

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The May 2024 issue of First Things has a very revealing feature article on the myth of this ghostly giant movement. Author Kenneth Westward makes the point that most scholars, including those on the left, are hard-pressed to define a white Christian nationalist, much less locate one.

However, these scholars are unconcerned. Those studying the issue reduce the WCN to a narrative more than a movement. It is a kind of angst felt by left-behind white workers who want to assert their identity. It is best kept unmeasured in the realm of feelings and anger, not principles. There is no need to find organized programs or lobby groups with political connections to give it physical existence.

Things get even more uncomfortably vague when liberals are asked how to determine if a person is a WCN partisan. Someone can end up with the label by agreeing with a few general statements about the role of government.

One survey, for example, asks people if they think the government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation, advocate Christian values, enforce strict separation of Church and state, allow prayer in public schools, display religious symbols in public spaces or consider the success of America as part of God’s plan.

Depending on how one answers the questions and the sympathy that some secular people might have for Christian values, the respondents can be black, agnostic or globalist and be surprised to find themselves on the WCN membership rolls.

The number of WCN members is likewise vague and unquantified. Based on these same questions above, some alarmists calculate that 51.9 percent of Americans are full or partial WCN supporters. Most of these poor victims (half the country’s population) probably do not know of their WCN affiliation, but that does not matter. It only adds to the savage mystery of it all.

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More reasonable pollsters using a similar survey note that only 10 percent fully agree with all its questions, while another 19 percent agree with reservations. The wide-ranging numbers suggest that no one knows who these WCN people are and how many exist. For liberals, these details are better kept shrouded in mystery.

Politically, liberals use WCN as a social construct to help them explain the 2016 victory of Donald Trump and frame the upcoming elections. However, it is really a socialist construct since it creates a class struggle narrative of resentful white oppressors in the face of a class of woke oppressed.

Thus, the WCN moniker must be rejected for what it is: a social (and socialist) construct without foundation in reality that shifts the debate away from the serious existential questions and principles that need to be discussed for the nation’s future. This debate must also include those Christian values that are so vilified by those promoting the use of WCN.

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