- Recent antisemitic comments by Kanye West and Nick Fuentes have sparked widespread outrage.
- But they also revealed a darker side of Christian nationalism that has always existed, according to experts.
- This shift may prevent a recent resurgence of Christian nationalism in mainstream politics.
Former President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes has helped shed light on the anti-Semitism that some right-wingers are trying to ignore and may curb the growing mainstream influence of Christian nationalism.
“The label of Christian nationalism has already sparked a lot of controversy among conservative Christians in the United States,” Philip Gorski, a sociologist at Yale University, told Insider and is co-author of “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.”
Trump met with Ye and white supremacist and Christian nationalist Fuentes on November 22 at Mar-a-Lago. The former president later denied knowing anything about Fuentes, but weeks before the meeting, Ye had also received criticism for his own antisemitic comments, including saying he would go to “the death sentence #3 on the JEWISH PEOPLE.”
Ye’s anti-Semitism continued, fueled by the infamous meeting with Trump. On December 1, the rapper appeared with Fuentes on the Infowars show, where Alex Jones praised Adolf Hitler and despised the Holocaust.
Your work with Fuentes and your meeting with Trump—and the way it’s been embraced by others on the right, from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to GOP members of the House Judiciary Committee—have forced some conservatives and Christian nationalists to come to terms with their side. the move they prefer to pretend they’re not there.
Christian nationalism and white supremacy
Gorski said that he and other scholars of Christian nationalism have long said that the ideology is intertwined with white supremacism, but they get a lot of backlash for it. “People say, ‘That’s not true. I don’t know anyone who thinks that way. I don’t know anyone who thinks that,'” Gorski explained.
Recent scandals with Ye and Fuentes “brought some of that deeper, uglier stuff to the surface and in broad daylight, but it was always there.”
Christian nationalism can broadly be reduced to the belief that Christianity and the United States are intrinsically linked, and that religion should occupy a privileged position in American society. Americans who support Christian nationalist ideas may not identify as Christian nationalists. They may also adopt some aspects of the ideology but not others, so there is a wide range of Christians who can be considered part of the movement.
“White Christian nationalism is older than the United States itself and really dates back to the 17th century,” Gorski explained, adding that the concept “arose in many ways as a way to justify stealing Indigenous lands and killing Indigenous people and enslaving those who were kidnapped.” . Africans.”
There are many Christian nationalists today who still think of people who look and think like them when talking about good Americans, he said: “This means conservative white Christians first and foremost.”
Andrew Whitehead, sociologist at IUPUI and co-author of “Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States” has found similar links between Christian nationalism and antisemitism.
“In our book, we show that Americans who espouse Christian nationalism more strongly agree that ‘Jews are morally inferior to mine’, ‘Jews want to limit the personal freedoms of people like me’, and ‘Jews.’ It puts people’s physical safety at risk,” he said.
Additional research has also found close links between Christian nationalism, anti-Semitism, QAnon followers, and Trump supporters. And the how-to guide for Christian nationalism, published in September by Gab Founder Andrew Torba, was full of antisemitism.
Christian right divided
Despite the connection, Gorski said, Christian nationalists would likely have “rather complex responses” to the Ye and Fuentes situation because they “have a rather complex relationship with Israel, Judaism, and American Jews.”
Gorski said there is far less blatant antisemitism among conservative Christians in the United States than in the mid-20th century. It’s hard to quantify, he said, but believes the average “garden variety Christian nationalists were probably not overtly or consciously antisemitic,” despite being a “hard faction”.
The American right has been closely linked to Israel’s support in recent decades, partly due to what Gorski describes as an expansion pack for Christian nationalism: Christian Zionism – a belief among some Christians in the establishment of the state of Israel. In 1948, a biblical prophecy came true.
A 2017 LifeWay poll found that 80 percent of Evangelical Christians, a group more likely to embrace Christian nationalism, believed that the creation of Israel was part of the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy that would lead to the return of Christ. Survey respondents were also overwhelmingly politically conservative.
Gorski, stating that there is a feeling among some conservative Christians that distinguishes Jews according to their location, defines this idea as follows: “The real homeland of the Jews is Israel, so a good Jew is in Israel, so an American Jew is not a good Jew.” He declared that, under strange logic, a Christian Zionist could be considered a better Jew than a Jew, he pointed to a comment made in October by the wife of unsuccessful Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. “We probably love Israel more than most Jews,” Rebecca Mastriano said, referring to the accusations of anti-Semitism against her husband.
The distinction between Christian nationalists when it comes to the Jewish people arose when Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia publicly criticized Fuentes, despite herself being accused of antisemitism and even appearing at an event with him earlier this year.
Greene is one of the few prominent Republicans and the only Congressman to openly identify as a Christian nationalist. But after the appearance of Alex Jones, he He publicly condemned Fuentes and its “racist” and “antisemitic” ideology. She also called him “racist” and “immature”. to show and said it was “unreasonable” for Ye to align with him.
fuentes replied attacking her character, she said: “She wants to be the face of Christian nationalism. She is divorced and is actively committing adultery,” referring to the rumors. “How are you going to be the face of Christian nationalism when a divorced woman is the boss?”
Saying the silent part aloud could hurt the Christian nationalist movement.
Greene’s rejection of Fuentes was also notable because it forced him to confront an aspect of Christian nationalism that he had previously refused to accept.
In addition to identifying himself with that term, he became a prominent defender of his ideals. Greene said the GOP should be the party of Christian nationalism, and it even sells products emblazoned with the term. He also tried to dismiss criticism of the movement as coming from both the United States and the God-hating “godless left”, ignoring those that pointed to documented links between Christian nationalism and white supremacy.
But empowered by a high-profile meeting with the former president, Fuentes and Ye have made these links much harder to ignore and could help deter conservative Christians who might otherwise be of interest to the movement.
While Christian nationalism as a concept is still in historical decline, its recent resurgence and influence in mainstream politics may be under threat if more far-right figures continue to shine a light on its ugliest parts.
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