Christian nationalism on the rise as it enjoys more Republican support Christian nationalism has been seen as outside the mainstream. But new data from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institute indicates it's more common than many think.

More than half of Republicans support Christian nationalism, according to a new survey

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Christian nationalism has long been seen as a fringe viewpoint, but it is becoming more and more mainstream. That's according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution. They found an influential minority of Americans - particularly in the Republican Party - believe the country should be a strictly Christian nation. NPR's Ashley Lopez reports.


MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: We need to be the party of nationalism. And I'm a Christian, and I say it proudly. We should be Christian nationalists.

ASHLEY LOPEZ, BYLINE: That was Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene during an interview this past summer. Christian nationalism, by the way, claims the U.S. is a Christian nation and that the country's laws should be rooted in Christian values. This point of view has long been most prominent in white evangelical spaces. But Robert Jones with the Public Religion Research Institute says he's been hearing it lately in other spaces, too - like members of Congress.

ROBERT JONES: And there was some data out there, but what we saw as a need was to have a real set of data that would quantify what that term means, how many Americans really adhere to it. And we also wanted a more nuanced view, not just people who were hard adherents, but maybe people who were sympathetic.

LOPEZ: And what his group found is that about 54% of Republicans either adhere to or sympathize with Christian nationalism. This does remain a minority opinion nationwide. According to the survey, only 10% of Americans view themselves as adherents of Christian nationalism. About 19% of all Americans said they sympathize with these views. Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a history professor at Calvin University, says it's also important to note that these views are nothing new.

KRISTIN KOBES DU MEZ: These ideas have been widely held throughout American history and particularly since the 1970s, with the rise of the Christian right.

LOPEZ: Du Mez says, as the country has become less white and Christian, these adherents to Christian nationalism want to hold on to their cultural and political power. That even includes authoritarianism, according to the survey. Half of Christian nationalism adherents and nearly 4 in 10 sympathizers said they support the idea of an authoritarian leader.

DU MEZ: At its root, there are some, you know, deeply anti-democratic impulses here. And so to see that more than half of one political party is committed to Christian nationalism I think explains a lot in terms of our inability to achieve much bipartisan agreement.

LOPEZ: The survey also found correlations between people who hold Christian nationalist views as well as anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and patriarchal views. Tim Whitaker is the founder of the New Evangelicals. He grew up in the church and now spends his life trying to detangle these kinds of views from the evangelical faith. He says he's worried parts of his community are becoming anti-American.

TIM WHITAKER: Most Christian nationalists - either adherents or sympathizers - either agree or strongly agree with the notion that they should live in a country full of other Christians.

LOPEZ: Whitaker says he has faith that most Americans will continue to reject these ideas when they hear them, but he's worried about the outsized influence these views have in the Republican Party.

WHITAKER: The reality is is that a lot of these folks, especially the adherents, are very militant in this belief that God has given them a mandate to rule over the nation. And so for them, I think that compromise is a sign of weakness. And realistically, the GOP needs to understand what they're dealing with.

LOPEZ: And this is just the beginning, Robert Jones of PRRI says, of researchers like him understanding the scale of this belief in America. He says, over time, we will have a better idea of whether these views are becoming more or less widely held. Ashley Lopez, NPR News.


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