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. 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.
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 blue laws. 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). 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.
Christian nationalists draw support from the broader Christian right. 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).
In the Middle Ages, efforts were made in order to establish a Pan-Christian state by uniting the countries within Christendom. Christian nationalism played a role in this era in which Christians felt the impulse to recover lands in which Christianity flourished. After the rise of Islam, certain parts of North Africa, East Asia, Southern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East lost Christian control. 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."
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. 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." 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. 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". The revival of the Church occurred in these formerly Communist areas; Christian missionaries also entered the former Eastern Bloc in order to engage in evangelism there, winning people back to Christianity.
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 conservative 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.
In Canada, Christian nationalism has many similarities with the expression of the ideology in the United States. Some unique aspects of Christian nationalism in Canada come from appeals to the purported Christian foundation of the country. Groups often appeal to the preamble of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to justify their beliefs that Canada should be a Christian nation.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise in Christian nationalist activity with many groups using anti-lockdown sentiments to expand their reach to more people. The group Liberty Coalition Canada has garnered support from many elected politicians across Canada. In their founding documents they argue that "it is only in Christianized nations that religious freedom has ever flourished." This group has garnered support from various groups, including supporters of far-right hate groups. Their rallies have attracted supporters of Alex Jones and Canada First, a spin-off of Nick Fuentes' white supremacist group America First. Many of Liberty Coalition Canada's leaders are pastors that have racked up millions in potential fines for violating COVID protocols and some of them express ultra-conservative views.
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. 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. 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. Conservative religious groups connected with Radio Maryja are often accused of harboring nationalist and antisemitic attitudes.
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.
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", which came into force in order to distinguish the United States from the state atheism of the former Soviet Union. The Foundation for Moral Law, for example, was founded for this purpose. The ideology also advocates the view that public policy should be formed strictly by Christian beliefs, such as imposing legal restrictions against abortion. 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. In 2018, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation began Project Blitz to achieve these goals.
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. 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.
Christian nationalists believe that the US is meant to be a Christian nation and want to "take back" the US for God. Experts say that Christian-associated support for right-wing politicians and social policies, such as legislation related to immigration, gun control and poverty is best understood as Christian nationalism, rather than as evangelicalism per se. Studies of white evangelicals show that, among people who self-identify as evangelical Christians, the more they attend church, the more they pray, and the more they read the Bible, the less support they have for nationalist policies. Non-nationalistic evangelicals agree ideologically with Christian nationalists in areas such as patriarchal policies, gender roles, and sexuality.
Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry summarize Christian nationalism with the following statements:
Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State...
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."
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.