Without unity among Christians, there can be no Christian state.
In this article, I will assess the present viability of Christian nationalism as a strategy for the American right. I make these arguments as a “double outsider,” which is to say, as someone who is neither American nor Christian. But I hope this distance can bring a certain degree of objective neutrality to the analysis.
Andrew Torba, better known as the chief executive of the Twitter alternative Gab.com, and Andrew Isker, who is a pastor for a Wesleyan church, have written the book called Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide For Taking Dominion And Discipling Nations (2022). Christian nationalism has also become the rallying call of the online personality Nick Fuentes and his Groyper movement, a group of radically right, mostly Gen Z young men, who seek to supplant the establishment Republican Party. Torba was a financial sponsor of Fuentes’s recent America First Political Action Conference event. There is also Stephen Wolfe’s The Case for Christian Nationalism, and many lesser known Christian nationalists too numerous to list.
Torba and Isker advocate a tactical parallelism to reassert the Christian character of the United States. “Cut the cable cord. Cancel Netflix. Delete your Big Tech accounts,” they advise. Devote time instead to proselytizing, home-schooling your children, and taking over local government institutions through grassroots organizing. To the extent that “organization is oligarchy,” as the elite-theory sociologist Robert Michels once said, the last of these strategies could well work, but it is the organizational principle rather than the Christianity that would achieve such a result. But, as we shall see, grass-roots organizing is easier said than done.
Before outlining my own arguments, it is worth making the strongest case possible for Christian nationalism—the “steelman” rather than “strawman” argument, if you like. This is not provided by Torba and Isker, whose book is largely concerned with issues of the “culture wars” and Torba’s ongoing feud with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).