Christian nationalism

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Christendom by A.D. 600 after its spread to Africa and Europe from the Middle East.

Christian nationalism is Christianity-affiliated religious nationalism. Christian nationalists primarily focus on internal politics, such as passing laws that reflect their view of Christianity and its role in political and social life. In countries with a state Church, Christian nationalists, in seeking to preserve the status of a Christian state, uphold an antidisestablishmentarian position.[1][2][3] Christian nationalists have emphasized a recovery of territory in which Christianity formerly flourished, historically to establish a Pan-Christian state out of the countries within Christendom.[4][5]

They actively promote religious (Christian) discourses in various fields of social life, from politics and history, to culture and science; with respect to legislation for example, Christian nationalists advocate Sunday blue laws.[6] Christian nationalists have encouraged evangelism, as well as for families to have more children as a means of increasing the Christian population growth (cf. Quiverfull).[7][8] Christian nationalists support the presence of Christian symbols and statuary in the public square, as well as state patronage for the display of religion, such as school prayer and the exhibition of nativity scenes during Christmastide or the Christian Cross on Good Friday.[9][10]

Christian nationalists draw support from the broader Christian right.[11] Christian nationalistic movements often have complex leadership structures, depending on the nature of their relationship with local Church institutions. Some movements are lay oriented, with symbolic clerical participation and indirect support from local Church structures, while others are led or strongly influenced by local clergy. The involvement of clergy in various Christian nationalistic movements since the 19th century has led to the development of particular forms of Christian nationalism which are known as clerical nationalism (also known as clero-nationalism or clerico-nationalism).[12]

Christian nationalists have often cooperated across denominational lines, fostering a spirit of ecumenism in order to advance certain objectives.[13]

Pan-Christian nationalism

The Church of the East at its largest extent during the Middle Ages.

In the Middle Ages, efforts were made in order to establish a Pan-Christian state by uniting the countries within Christendom.[5][14] Christian nationalism played a role in this era in which Christians felt the impulse to recover lands in which Christianity flourished.[4] After the rise of Islam, certain parts of North Africa, East Asia, Southern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East lost Christian control.[15] In response, Christians across national borders mobilized militarily and a "wave of Christian reconquest achieved the recovery of Spain, Portugal, and southern Italy, but was unable to recover North Africa nor—from a Christian point of view, most painful of all—the Holy Land of Christendom."[15]

The state atheism of the former Eastern Bloc, which brought about a persecution of Christians, caused a rise in Christian nationalism in the West, as well as ecumenical cooperation among Christians across denominational lines.[16] For example, the United States, in 1956, adopted "In God We Trust" as its official motto "to differentiate itself from the Soviet Union, its Cold War enemy that was widely seen as promoting atheism."[17] During this time, Christian human rights non-governmental organisations, such as Voice of the Martyrs, were founded in order to provide support to Christians persecuted in the Communist Bloc, also engaging in activities such as Bible smuggling.[18] In the 1990s, the period surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union led "a surge in the activity of religious groups and interests among broad segments of the population".[19] The revival of the Church occurred in these formerly Communist areas; Christian missionaries also entered the former Easter Bloc in order to engage in evangelism there, winning people back to Christianity.[20][21][22]

By country


In recent years there has been a growing sentiment of nationalism between both Catholics and Protestants in Brazil. Politicians like Magno Malta and Jair Bolsonaro, and political parties like Patriota promote ultraconservative ideas, like rejection of LGBT rights, opposition to abortion, and anti-secularism. Most Christian nationalists in Brazil are in favor of ecumenism, while attacking and rejecting contact with non-Christians, more specifically Muslims and atheists.[23]




In the background of World War I, German Christian nationalism was reflected by Lutheranism, romanticism, idealism, and Immanence.[24]

United Kingdom

The coronation of British monarchs, who are styled as the Defender of the Faith, takes place in Westminster Abbey, a cathedral of the Church of England, which is the established church of that nation.

In the background of World War I, British Christian nationalism was reflected by empiricism, realism, and individualism.[24]



The Lebanese Front was a coalition of mainly Christian parties in the Lebanese Civil War. In the 1980s, Christian nationalism was pursued by the Maronite community. The Maronites sought to create a Christian mini-state.[25] Christian nationalist Michel Aoun revolted against the Syrian Lebanese regime in 1990, but was defeated with Syrian Army support; all militias aside from the pro-Syrian Hezbollah were disarmed by 1991.[26] The only party in Lebanon currently representing Christian nationalism is the Lebanese Forces Party.


In Poland, nationalism was always characterized by loyalty to the Roman Catholic Church. Groups like the National Revival of Poland use slogans like Wielka Polska Katolicka (Great Catholic Poland) and protest vigorously against legalization of gay marriage and abortion.[27] Conservative religious groups connected with Radio Maryja are often accused of harboring nationalist and antisemitic attitudes.[28]



Religious nationalism characterized by communal adherence to Eastern Orthodoxy and national Orthodox Churches is found in many states of Eastern Europe and in the Russian Federation. Many Russian Neo-Fascist and Neo-Nazi groups, such as the Russian National Unity, call for an increased role for the Russian Orthodox Church.


United States

A monument of the Ten Commandments at the Texas State Capitol

Christian nationalism in the United States manifests itself through the promotion of religious art and symbolism in the public square, such as the displaying of the Ten Commandments and the national motto "In God We Trust",[29] which came into force in order to distinguish the United States from the state atheism of the former Soviet Union.[17] The Foundation for Moral Law, for example, was founded for this purpose.[30] The ideology also advocates for public policy to be supported by religious beliefs, such as enshrining the sanctity of life in law through the buttressing of the pro-life movement.[29] Christian nationalists support Sunday blue laws in keeping with traditional first-day Sabbatarian principles; the Lord's Day Alliance (LDA) was organized by representatives of various Christian denominations to this end.[31] In 2018, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation began Project Blitz to achieve these goals.[29]

The National Reform Association is an organization, founded in 1864 and active to this day, that seeks to introduce a Christian amendment to the Constitution of the United States.[32] Advocacy groups, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and First Liberty Institute, work to defend their view of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.[33]

The Christian Liberty Party is a political party that sees the United States as a Christian country.[34]


The Yugoslav National Movement (1935–45) has been described as Christian nationalist.[35][36]

See also


  1. ^ Bloomberg, Charles (1989). Christian Nationalism and the Rise of the Afrikaner Broederbond in South Africa, 1918-48. Springer. p. xxiii-11. ISBN 978-1-349-10694-3.
  2. ^ Jenkins, Jack (2 August 2019). "Christian leaders condemn Christian nationalism in new letter". Religion News Service. Retrieved 14 March 2020. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State...
  3. ^ Kymlicka, Will (19 April 2018). "Is there a Christian Pluralist Approach to Immigration?". Comment Magazine. Retrieved 14 March 2020. As against both Christian nationalists who wanted an established church and French-republican-style secular nationalists who wanted a homogenous public square devoid of religion, Dutch pluralists led by Kuyper defended a model of institutional pluralism or "sphere sovereignty."
  4. ^ a b Parole de l'Orient, Volume 30. Université Saint-Esprit. 2005. p. 488.
  5. ^ a b Snyder, Louis L. (1990). Encyclopedia of Nationalism. St. James Press. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-55862-101-5. Major religions in the past, especially Christianity, have attempted to include all their adherents in a large union, but they have not been successful. Throughout most of the Middle Ages in Western Europe, attempts were made again and again to unite all the Christian world into a kind of Pan-Christianity, which would combine all Christians in a secular-religious state as a successor to the Roman Empire.
  6. ^ Moleah, Alfred T. (1993). South Africa: Colonialism, Apartheid and African Dispossession. Disa Press. p. 377. ISBN 978-0-913255-02-5.
  7. ^ Waylen, Georgina (2007). Engendering Transitions: Women's Mobilization, Institutions and Gender Outcomes. Oxford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-19-924803-2.
  8. ^ Nagin, Rick (6 February 2012). "Christian nationalists recruiting "child evangelists" in public schools". People's World. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  9. ^ Whitehead, Andrew L.; Perry, Samuel L. (2020). Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States. Oxford University Press. pp. 7–10. ISBN 978-0-19-005789-3.
  10. ^ Bean, Lydia (2016). The Politics of Evangelical Identity: Local Churches and Partisan Divides in the United States and Canada. Princeton University Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-691-17370-2.
  11. ^ Greenberg, Udi (22 October 2019). "Can Christian Democracy Save Us?". Boston Review. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  12. ^ Feldman et al.
  13. ^ McElwee, Joshua J. (13 July 2017). "Italian Jesuit magazine criticizes political attitudes of some US Catholics". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  14. ^ Snyder, Louis Leo (1984). Macro-nationalisms: A History of the Pan-movements. Greenwood Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-313-23191-9. Throughout the better part of the Middle Ages, elaborate attempts were made to create what was, in effect, a Pan-Christianity, an effort to unite "all" the Western Christian world into a successor state of the Roman Empire.
  15. ^ a b Lewis, Bernard Ellis; Churchill, Buntzie Ellis (2008). Islam: The Religion and the People. Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-13-271606-2.
  16. ^ Edwards, Mark Thomas (2019). Faith and Foreign Affairs in the American Century. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-4985-7012-1.
  17. ^ a b Merriman, Scott A. (2007). Religion and the Law in America: An Encyclopedia of Personal Belief and Public Policy. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-863-7. In 1956, the United States, changed its motto to 'In God We Trust', in large part to differentiate itself from the Soviet Union, its Cold War enemy that was widely seen as promoting atheism.
  18. ^ The St. Croix Review, Volume 34. Religion and Society, Incorporated. 2001. p. 22. In 1967, Wurmbrand established Jesus to the Communist World (later Voice of the Martyrs), a bible- smuggling mission and anti-Communist organization based in California ...
  19. ^ Lokshina, T.; Kendall, A. (2002). Nationalism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Contemporary Russia. Moscow Helsinki Group. p. 26. The late 1980s — early 1990s, with the Soviet government shedding the policy of state atheism, marked a surge in the activity of religious groups and interests among broad segments of the population.
  20. ^ Schmidt, William E. (7 October 1991). "U.S. Evangelicals Winning Soviet Converts". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  21. ^ Weir, Fred (6 May 2011). "Russia emerges as Europe's most God-believing nation". CS Monitor. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  22. ^ Pieterse, Jan Nederveen (1992). Christianity and Hegemony: Religion and Politics on the Frontiers of Social Change. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 298. ISBN 978-0-85496-749-0. A network of American evangelical organizations, including Youth with a Mission, have targeted Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union for an aggressive evangelization campaign in the 1990s.
  23. ^ ""Sem essa de Estado laico, somos um Estado cristão", afirma Bolsonaro". 10 February 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  24. ^ a b Arlie J. Hoover (1989). God, Germany, and Britain in the Great War: A Study in Clerical Nationalism. Praeger. ISBN 978-0-275-93169-8.
  25. ^ Kirsten E. Schulze (27 October 1997). Israel's Covert Diplomacy in Lebanon. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 153–. ISBN 978-0-230-37247-4.
  26. ^ Barry Rubin (29 May 2007). The Truth about Syria. St. Martin's Press. pp. 121–. ISBN 978-0-230-60520-6.
  27. ^ "Małopolska za życiem!". Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-01-05. Retrieved 2006-02-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ a b c Taylor, David (14 January 2019). "'In God We Trust' - the bills Christian nationalists hope will 'protect religious freedom'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2019. So-called "In God We Trust" bills have already been introduced this year in Alaska, Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina, which, if they became law, would see the phrase emblazoned on public buildings, hung in schools and displayed on public vehicles including police cars. ... In Texas, a bill allowing teachers to display the Ten Commandments in classrooms will be considered in this state legislature session. ... Laser said there are real concerns about a momentum behind Christian nationalism, which she said Trump has bolstered with the appointment of pro-life Supreme Court judges Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. The only religious advisory board Trump has is an all Evangelical Christian advisory board.
  30. ^ Samuel, Stephanie (21 January 2011). "Former Ala. Chief Justice Defends Traditional Marriage". The Christian Post. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  31. ^ Darrow, Clarence (2005). Closing Arguments: Clarence Darrow on Religion, Law, and Society. Ohio University Press. p. 39. ISBN 9780821416327.
  32. ^ Miller, Randall M.; Stout, Harry S.; Wilson, Charles Reagan (1998). Religion and the American Civil War. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199923663.
  33. ^ "From Roy Moore To Tax Debate, A Spotlight On Christian Nationalism". 1 December 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  34. ^ McKeen, Leah A D, "Canadian Christian Nationalism?: The Religiosity and Politics of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada" (2015). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 1740.
  35. ^ Rebecca Haynes; Martyn Rady (30 November 2013). In the Shadow of Hitler: Personalities of the Right in Central and Eastern Europe. I.B.Tauris. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-78076-808-3.
  36. ^ Jovan Byford (2008). Denial and Repression of Antisemitism: Post-communist Remembrance of the Serbian Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović. Central European University Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-963-9776-15-9.

Further reading

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