2020: Annus Horribilis | Episode 2: The Power Worshippers

June 26th, 2020

Religious Nationalism in the United States. 

We speak with Katherine Stewart, author of “The Power Worshippers”. 
Katherine Stewart’s work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, the American Prospect, the Atlantic, and other publications. She is the author of The Good News Club, an investigation of the religious right and public education. 

From the book: 

“Perhaps the most salient impediment to our understanding of the movement is the notion that Christian nationalism is a “conservative” ideology. The correct word is “radical”. 

“This movement pretends to represent the past and stand for old traditions. But in reality it is a creature of present circumstances and is organized around a vision for the future that most Americans would find abhorrent.” 

You may have heard the names, James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Ralph Reed. These are just a few of the influential personalities in the movement of Religious Nationalism in the United States. This movement has had strong impact on the evangelical church in the United States. Religious Nationalism assumes that one particular branch of Christian understanding and those attached to it, should be in power politically and culturally. Donald Trump could not have risen to the office of the president without the support of Christian nationalists. 

Katherine Stewart has spent years investigating the movement. She has attended conferences and church conventions. She has visited the “Museum of the Bible” and the “Creation Museum”. 
Her book is a thorough look at how the movement began, how it is about politics and power more than it is about faith. 
To understand how we got to where we are at in 2020, it helps to understand this current manifestation of religious nationalism. 

Books and articles referenced in this episode:

The Power Worshippers
The Good News Club
How a Data-backed Christian Nationalist Machine Helped Trump to Power - The Guardian, March 2020
Bill Barr Thinks America is Going to Hell - The New York Times, December 2019
Why Trump Reigns as King Cyrus - The New York Times, December 2018   

 
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