Democrats just passed a resolution condemning "white religious nationalism"
The threat of conservative Christianity is finally being called out by name
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When the Democratic National Committee met over the weekend, it was the decision to revamp their nominating calendar (and replace the Iowa caucuses with a primary in South Carolina) that got all the attention.
What got very little notice was how the DNC passed a resolution condemning “white religious nationalism” that specifically singled out Christian-infused hate.
Resolution 20, which has not been made public online, calls for the Democratic Party to educate voters about that faith-based threat, justifying the move with these (surprisingly honest) clauses:
WHEREAS, white religious nationalist ideology is advanced by a vocal yet powerful minority, and does not represent the values of the majority of Americans, either of faith or secular, in the United States or within the Democratic Party; and
WHEREAS, Christian clergy and evangelical leaders across the nation have signed on to an open letter noting the “perversion of the Christian faith” and “radicalism” that plagues people who “support the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi ideology” or groups included in those that attacked the Capitol on January 6, like “the Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, QAnon, 3 Percenters, America Firsters, and similar groups” [Editor’s note: Link here]; and
WHEREAS, religious nationalist rhetoric and symbols were prominent in the violent January 6, 2021 insurrection; and
WHEREAS, Metropolitan Police Officer Christopher Hodges, who was crushed by the mob attacking the Capitol during the January 6, 2021 insurrection, noted in Congressional testimony that “It was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be Christians ... I saw the Christian flag directly to my front. Another read, ‘Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president.’ Another: ‘Jesus is king.’”; and
WHEREAS, theocracy is incompatible with democracy and religious freedom in a pluralistic society…
None of this should be controversial. There were undoubtedly Christian Nationalists who tried to overthrow the government and plenty more who act like the Bible ought to supersede the Constitution. They want to rewrite history to pretend the nation’s founders cared more about spreading the gospel than creating a lasting democracy. They want to inject that mythology into public schools. What they want goes against religious freedom and the very ideals of this country.
There are also Christians who actively reject all that faith-based hate and the attempts to use their religion to hurt women and LGBTQ people.
We can’t make the mistake of trying to treat conservative Christianity as separate from right-wing extremism when the two are frequently linked together by their own supporters.
Sarah Levin, co-chair of the DNC Interfaith Council (representing the secular community) and program director for Secular Democrats of America, told me she was “thrilled” by this resolution:
… In my discussions at the winter meeting, I was also encouraged to find that a lot of folks would like to see the party go even further in naming and addressing white Christian nationalism head on. This is a first, important step toward holding Republicans accountable for embracing this dangerous, anti-democratic ideology.
For decades, the white Christian nationalist movement has been operating in plain sight, yet has remained invisible to most Americans despite the secularist movement's best efforts to sound the alarm—until now. For four years, the Trump administration delivered their policy goals on a silver platter. And on January 6, their violent, authoritarian, extreme brand of white Christianity was on full display.
But this movement has accomplished much of its agenda without violence—they’ve gutted public education funding while attacking history, science, and students' religious freedom in public schools. Dressed up their bigotry in the flag while glorifying and whitewashing the Confederacy. Claimed persecution while targeting trans youth and fomenting hate toward anyone who does not conform to their extreme beliefs. They've gamed our legal system to pervert the First Amendment, turning the freedom of religion into a freedom to discriminate on the taxpayers' dime. The time is past due for the Democratic Party to to call a spade a spade, and reclaim true religious freedom for Americans of all faiths and none.
If you’re someone who’s often frustrated by Democrats’ lack of ferociousness on these vital issues, then you should welcome this kind of resolution that doesn’t hold back in naming the problem. Here’s hoping that progressive politicians can get behind this messaging and use it in future campaign ads to highlight their opposition to faith-based extremism.
This isn’t the first time the DNC has passed a (non-controversial) resolution that will likely trigger conservative backlash. In 2019, the same committee passed a resolution honoring the “value, ethical soundness, and importance” of non-religious Americans, a move that was trashed by right-wing outlets.
I predict this will also face the same fate, but Democrats shouldn’t be afraid of confronting one of the biggest domestic threats we face just because Christianity plays a role in it.
(Image via Shutterstock)
Wow, the DNC found a vertebra. Let’s hope they continue to generate more.
I'm getting cynical (and have always been a little paranoid, which I consider a survival trait), but I'm reminded of the old saying "Words are cheap." Let's see if they actually do anything. Even bigger, let's see if the moderate Christians finally stand up and be counted, instead of hiding their heads in the sand.
I still fear a probability that I will be a refugee from America before I die.