The Dangers of a ‘Christian Nation’ | Sojourners

The Dangers of a ‘Christian Nation’

“The last attempt at founding an explicitly Christian nation on these shores was undertaken by the Confederate States of America.”
A book with balancing scales is bound up in silver chains with a white cross draped across the cover.
Illustration by Alex WIlliam

ALMOST HALF OF Americans believe the United States should be a “Christian nation,” according to a survey this fall, and a significant percentage say that the Bible should have more sway than the will of the people in shaping U.S. laws when the two conflict. The opinions expressed in the October survey by the Pew Research Center break along party lines, with three-quarters of Republicans (and less than half of Democrats) saying the founders intended for the country to be a Christian nation, and 4 in 10 Republicans (compared to 16 percent of Democrats) believing that the Bible, rather than majority rule, should be the source of the nation’s laws. (A similar percentage of Republicans — 39 percent — surveyed by the American Enterprise Institute in 2021 said that political violence may be necessary to “protect America.”) This summer, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene declared that “We need to be the party of nationalism, and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists.”

While it may seem that a portion of one of the country’s two main parties has wandered off to never-never land, the survey doesn’t mean the country is heading toward theocracy—yet. Most of the respondents who say the U.S. should be a Christian nation, according to Pew, “are thinking of some definition of the term other than a government-imposed theocracy.” (A small minority, in the words of one respondent, view Christian nationalism as a way “to use the government to impose an extreme, fringe version of Christianity on everyone in the nation, regardless of others’ religious views. They are no different than al-Qaida or the Taliban.”)

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The cover for the January 2023 issue of Sojourners features a white Bible with gold leaf pages. A gold-plated pistol sits under the book board with some bullets around it.
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