I wrote a blog on the rise of Christian Nationalism back in November 2022. Christian Nationalism is a right wing, ultra conservative ideology that imagines the United States as a Christian nation run by the Biblical principles set forth by the Ten Commandments and moral and political values as they understand the Biblical imperative.

As Dr. Keri Ladner claims in her article in the 11/22/23 issue of The Christian Century, “…this reconstructed society would implement Mosaic law, with Christ as king over what would have become a Christian Nation. Without government welfare, churches would carry the responsibility of aid to the poor, and without public schools, families would be responsible for their own children’s education. The economy would operate without any government regulation, meaning present laws requiring the integrity of consumer goods, protecting workers’ rights, and disallowing exploitative financial practices would no longer be in effect. Because in a reconstructed America, Christians would have brought God’s Kingdom to earth through the implementation of Mosaic law, these protections would not be necessary.”

I have a new update and perspective I would like to share with you. In a recent NPR posting, according to the PRRI/Brookings Institute, 10% of Americans sympathize with Christian Nationalism. However, over half of Republicans believe that the nation should be a “Christian” nation.

Dr. Kristin Kobes Du Mez of Calvin University, in the same NPR post, claims that there has always been a wing of politics and religion that expresses itself through the lens of a Christian nationalism especially since the 70’s and the Christian Right. She also points out that the reason for the recent rise in Christian Nationalism is because of the changing demographics and cultural shifts that has allowed the U.S. to become less white and less Christian. Consequently, this Christian Right wants to hold on to those explicit Christian values, political power and bigoted views of antiblack, antiimmigrant, antisemitic, antimuslimism, and patriarchal views. This view is promoted by the likes of Margorie Taylor Green, Representative from Georgia who said, “We need to be the party of Nationalism. I am a Christian and I say it proudly, we should all be Christian Nationalists.”

Tim Whitaker of the New Evangelicals believes that God has given them a mandate and they will go to great lengths to impose their views on the country, even if it requires violence.

The mother organization for this national Christian radicalism is the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) headed by its prophet, the Reverend Timothy Carscadden and his wife, Susan. They are the senior pastors of the Christian Center in Shreveport, LA. Though these adherents claim that the NAR is not an official organization, it seems that its purpose is to create a new denomination apart from Catholicism, Christianity, etc., that is based exclusively on Biblical principles.

"An Appeal to Heaven" flag

Image credit: gracealley.com

What was somewhat alarming to me was the fact that they have their own flag. Yes, that’s right, their own flag. It is simple in presentation of a pine tree against a white background with the phrase, “AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN” across the top. Interestingly, this flag was first commissioned by George Washington, supposedly designed by his secretary. The actual phrase was a reference from a John Locke treatise produced in 1690 in which Locke refuted the divine right of kings. It was an expression of the right of revolution.

The flag has a very colorful history since the 1600’s, particularly in the New England area. The pine tree was chosen because of it is a natural resource to the New England community providing wood for ships, homes, buildings, etc. I won’t bore you with the details only to say that this very flag has been resurrected by the NAR and flies prominently in their worship and gathering events.

It was truly a shock to me when I discovered that the current speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, who claims a right-wing Evangelical belief, has this flag, the AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN flag, posted outside his Speaker of the House office along with the US flag. It is no secret that Johnson has hobnobbed with the NAR folks.

So, how close is the ideology of Christian Nationalism? Well, it’s within the walls of our congress.

If you accompany this crouching ideology with the fact that some of these National Christian people believe that Trump is the new Messiah, it sort of makes your eyes go cross-eyed. I heard last week on CNN, a reporter talked to a South Carolina Republican, who said that Trump has been called by God to be our next leader.

There is a whole other side to this story, and I am surprised that non-Trumpers, including some Republicans, have not taken up the “cross” of Trump as the Antichrist. I am starting to see some murmurs of this notion, but it has not hit prime time yet. I found the following meme on Facebook posted by the Steve Schmidt Fan Club:

Donald Trump, Antichrist

Does this sound like anyone we know?

I personally checked out all the fourteen verses listed, and they do match the description.

In the context of Biblical prophecy, it is believed that the Antichrist must come out of Israel and would be Jewish. Some Antichrist scholars disagree citing Daniel 11:37 as reason he would not be Jewish. “He shall regard neither the God of his Fathers.”  I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think that Trump has any Jewish blood in him. I guess we’ll have to ask Louis Gates Jr. about that. But then again, it most likely does not matter.

I have to confess, I’m not a believer in this whole Antichrist eschatology. However, as a metaphor for the human and spiritual condition it does have merit. Case in point, I believe that in his time, Hitler was the Antichrist. Metaphorically, Trump could still be the Antichrist for our time, or, still in the eyes of others, the Messiah.

Scary times! What will happen to democracy if Trump gets elected? What will happen if he doesn’t? Civil war?

A recent Gallup poll (January 2024) found the following:  25% of the national population are registered Republicans. 27% of the national population are Democrats, and 45% of the national population are Independents, of which I am one. It seems to me that if the Democrats want to keep democracy intact, they will need to convince Independents the importance of saving our democracy.

In 2022 nationally, Independents voted to hold the white house by a slim margin of 49% to 47%. (David Winston, Opinion the Roll Call, Nov. 16, 2022)

The recent election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District elected a Democrat to replace the expelled George Santos. We can only hope that that is an indication of things to come.

This does mean that we all have a lot of work to do between now and November 2024. It is time for all of us who believe in the democracy of the US of A to work diligently to serve the greater good. What is the greater good in this case? As Micah 6:8 says, serve justice and love mercy. Be helpers and think and act kindly to others. Send out positive vibrations; speak truth to the power of our Oneness;  Love and be kind with reckless abandon!  I am optimistic that greater minds and the greater good will prevail.

Last and certainly not least, be sure to vote and encourage everyone in your neighborhood to do the same.