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Christian Nationalism & Christian Supremacy

Christian nationalism is a term increasingly heard in the media and in political discourse. But what it means and why it should be a cause for concern is not always clear.

American Christian nationalism is not a coherent ideology but a nostalgic harkening back to a less religiously diverse and less complex America. This sentiment has grown in the context of a significant shift  in the demographics of the U.S. over the past 60 years. This change is partly due to the landmark 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that eliminated a quota system favoring European immigrants—instead focusing on family unification and skilled labor—that increased U.S. racial, religious, and ethnic diversity. 

There are many who feel very ambivalent about that change. However, people who hold such sentiments are not necessarily militant in their beliefs and may be open to hear other viewpoints. For example, recent polling data from the Pew Research Center shows that while nearly half of Americans say the U.S. should be a Christian nation, two-thirds also believe that religious institutions should refrain from expressing their views on political or social issues. The survey also found the majority of those surveyed supported the idea of separation of church and state and opposed declaring any religion to be the official creed of the U.S.

Christian supremacy describes more radical and hardened forms of Christian nationalism that advocate theological frameworks and programmatic agendas for privileging Christian citizens and anti-democratically imposing a Christian vision on societies. While such views are explicitly held by a relatively small segment of the American people, this tendency represents a set of ideologies and a political movement that is a grave threat to the American values of democracy and pluralism. Christian supremacy, like antisemitism and Islamophobia, should be recognized as a form of religious bigotry and challenged publicly where it is espoused.

This page compiles a sampling of courses, events, articles, and other resources on Christian nationalism and Christian supremacy.

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The religious forces that impelled some Christians to storm the Capitol haven’t gone away, and we ignore the gathering clouds of Christian nationalism at the peril of liberal democracy.

Matthew D. Taylor

ICJS Protestant Scholar

See bio