Christian nationalism does not exist except in the fertile imaginations of “Christian bashers,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue affirmed Monday.
The 2020 book Secular Surge — written by David Campbell, Geoffrey Layman, and John C. Green — maintains that the number of Americans who no longer claim a religious affiliation is growing quickly, Dr. Donohue noted, but “militant secularists” would like to attribute this phenomenon to the fictional bogeyman of “Christian nationalism.”
In an April 5 essay purportedly reviewing Secular Surge, Guardian reporter Adam Gabbatt declares that “Christian nationalists” have tried to “thrust their version of religion into American life,” Donohue said.
The problem is, the authors of Secular Surge “never use the term ‘Christian nationalists’ in their book,” he wrote.
Rather than plumbing the scholarship of Secular Surge, which thoughtfully explores the decline of religion in the United States, Gabbatt draws his insights from another source, namely a report by Alison Gill, vice president of American Atheists, which blames the trend on a supposed rise in “Christian nationalism.”
Gill’s report mentions “Christian nationalism” 12 times, and yet never once defines it, Donohue observed. “It’s just bandied about, the way it always is.”
According to the report, Christian nationalists “are those who believe in such things as religious exemptions, pro-life legislation, school vouchers, homeschooling, and our national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’” Donohue notes. “In other words, American Atheists thinks that a very large swath of the American public qualify as ‘Christian nationalists.’”
Of course, the report does not bother to consider that a number of adherents of other religions — or no religion — also believe in such things.
“To be sure, there are Christian extremists, but I hasten to add that they are far less influential than their secular counterparts,” Donohue contended. “A militant brand of secularism has gripped the country, and this includes many of those in elite positions of power.”
We don’t have to worry about “Christian nationalists,” Donohue concludes; “we have to worry about those who are promoting this fiction as a weapon to assault our Judeo-Christian heritage.”