Christian Nationalism: The New Boogeyman in American Politics

*Summary: Mainstream Media journalist, Heidi Przybyla, stirred controversy by labeling Christian Nationalists as a sinister force in American politics. However, her claims lack credibility and fail to provide concrete evidence to support her accusations.*


Summary: Mainstream Media journalist, Heidi Przybyla, stirred controversy by labeling Christian Nationalists as a sinister force in American politics. However, her claims lack credibility and fail to provide concrete evidence to support her accusations.

If you ever want to see a Mainstream Media journalist act like Charlie Brown when Lucy promises yet again that she won't jerk that football away from him right as he tries to kick it, just utter these two words: "Christian Nationalism!"

Politico's Heidi Przybyla stepped in it last week when she declared on MSNBC that Christian Nationalists "believe that our rights as Americans, as all human beings, don’t come from any earthly authority. They don’t come from Congress, they don’t come from the Supreme Court. They come from God."And why is that a bad thing? According to Przybyla, a sinister force lurks in American politics that is "an extremist element of conservative Christians who say that this applies specifically to issues including abortion, gay marriage, and it’s going much further than that.”

To wit, anybody and everybody who believes God, not federal bureaucrats and politicians, are where we Americans get our individual freedoms are part of this Christian Nationalist conspiracy to turn the country into a new Salem Witch trial. This is a common tactic of propagandists: you create a dastardly term and then link everybody you hate or want to discredit with that term.

Przybyla was on the cable news-talk outlet that is often derisively labeled as "MSDNC" by folks on the right to discuss a Politico piece published last week that she co-authored with Alexander Ward. The piece had all the elements of what passes in the MSM these days for genuine investigative reporting, including internal documents obtained exclusively by Politico, anonymous sources making claims of gathering conspiracies on the Right and a scary narrative context certain to frighten Lefty activists and others ignorant of American political history and its roots in the Protestant Reformation and the European Enlightenment.

The alleged Christian Nationalist conspiracy is centered on the Project 2025, a cooperative effort that includes the Heritage Foundation, the Center for Renewing America and a lengthy list of "coalition partners" devoted to preparing proposed policies and suggested personnel to ensure an incoming presidential administration can hit the ground running. "It is not enough for conservatives to win elections. If we are going to rescue the country from the grip of the radical Left, we need both a governing agenda and the right people in place, ready to carry this agenda out on Day One of the next conservative Administration," is how the effort describes itself.

But according to Pryzbyla and Ward, "the effort is made up of a constellation of conservative groups run by Trump allies who’ve constructed a detailed plan to dismantle or overhaul key agencies in a second term. Among other principles, the project’s 'Mandate for Leadership' states that 'freedom is defined by God, not man.'"

There is so much that could be said here about that description, but allow me to focus here on just two points:

First, I'd like to introduce Pryzbyla and Ward to Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and a product of Enlightenment philosophy (see the Natural Rights tradition headed by John Locke). Jefferson captured the heart of the American regime in the first two sentences of the Declaration: "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

So, by Pryzbyla's definition, Mr. Jefferson was a Christian Nationalist, even though he spent a good portion of his time as America's third President ripping out all those pages in the Gospel of Jesus Christ with which he disagreed. That effort produced "The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth," which was never published. Subsequently, Jefferson gave the nation "The Jefferson Bible," which is clearly a product of his Enlightenment learning.

Second, the reference to "Mandate for Leadership" is significant because it points to the original document of the same name, produced by scholars and political thinkers at the Heritage Foundation in 1980 in preparation for Ronald Reagan becoming Chief Executive. A revised version was done in anticipation of Reagan's 1984 landslide, as well as prior to George W. Bush's two victories.

In other words, there is nothing new about the 2025 Mandate for Leadership. Heritage has been doing them for decades. And so do major foundations on the left, they just give different names to their blueprints for incoming Democratic administrations.

Przyblya "apologized" a few days after her appearance on MSNBC, minimizing her errant description as "some clumsy words," and admitting that hers was "not a good definition of Christian Nationalism." Interestingly enough, this sentence also appeared in her Politico story with Ward: "The documents obtained by POLITICO do not outline specific Christian nationalist policies."

If you are using a bad definition of your key term and the documents on which your story is based contain no specific examples, why should anything else you wrote or said be accepted as credible?

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Fateh Muhammad

Hey, I'm Fateh Muhammad, a Lahore local with a passion for arts and politics. My journey led me through the halls of the National College of Arts, where I delved into the intricacies of both disciplines. Now calling Lahore home, I'm here to share my insights and perspectives on the dynamic intersection of art and politics. Let's embark on this enlightening journey together! Connect With Me .