I just read Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg. It is about Christian Nationalism. I’ve been interested in subject for a long time. In particular, Chris Rodda‘s work has made me very aware of this evil movement. And there is much to fear of such a movement in a country where 80% of the people believe God was directly involved in the creation of the world and 40% are biblical literalists who believe that the universe was created just as it says in the Bible.
This is a very disturbing statistic. I tend to pooh pooh aristotelian logic, because it just isn’t that useful. I forget, however, that I believe this only because I have thoroughly internalized such basic concepts. Apparently, this isn’t the case with most people. There are contradictions in the two books of Genesis. In Genesis I, God made the animals before man; in Genesis II, God made man before the animals. In Genesis I, God made man and woman at the same time. In Genesis II, God made man before woman. So when people claim that the universe was created exactly as is claimed in the Bible, what are they talking about?
I understand that apologists out there try to smooth away all the conflicts. This is done throughout the Bible, not just in the Genesis books. But these efforts are never convincing except to those who are determined to be convinced. The answers to the contradiction are all over the place. Some claim that Genesis I is a chronological account of creation whereas Genesis II is just a look back at the process on day 6. (How this answers the question, I do not know.) Some get into the grammar—kind of like Bill Clinton’s “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” This is hilarious when the authors only consider English translations. Another clever solution is to look to Jesus to settle the question because the Bible is perfect, just some parts are more perfect than others.
My take on all of this is that none of these religious people give a flying fuck about the Bible. In my experience, most of them haven’t read it. They believe it is the true world of God because that’s what good people believe. And this is the world of the Christian Nationalists. Like almost all other Christians, they are ignorant of the book they supposedly believe is most important; all of their knowledge comes from demagogic leaders
I was particularly moved by one line in Kingdom Coming:
I will allow to being “gay” in the newer slang versions of the word, but when I comes to finding men sexually attractive, I just don’t have it in me. And yet, the list of “danger signs” that Focus on the Family is putting out describes me rather well as a child and now. What’s more, the converse is often the case: men who find other men attractive are often stoic, athletic, and lovers of man-on-man wrestling.
In C Street, Jeff Sharlet discusses the highest rungs of these Christian literalists. They favor an image of Jesus Christ that most Christians would find odd. He is not the Prince of Peace, but rather an angry Jewish body builder with a sword. Such thinking reminds me of nothing so much as the Nazi ideal of the young man as soccer hooligan.
Clearly, the Christian Nationalists do not want thoughtful young people. They might actually read the Bible. They might rebel against the large amount of nonsense in it. Or they might hook into the spiritual truth that can be found there. Regardless, a group of thoughtful young people is the last thing wanted by the demagogues who energize the Christian Nationalist movement.
 I don’t think we should allow Godwin’s Law to stop us from making these statements. For one thing, Christian nationalists are an authoritarian group. For another, as far as I can tell, the whole of the right wing in this country would think the Nazis just fine, except for that part about killing the Jews. The Nazis were bad for a whole lot more reasons than that. I think by focusing so much on their most heinous crimes, we are losing sight of their many other terrible aspects.