Christian Nationalism and Spiritual Warfare at CPAC

Some speakers at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference deployed the rhetoric of spiritual warfare favored by many of Trump’s dominionist supporters.

Right-wing activist and pizzagate conspiracy promoter Jack Posobiec kicked off the conference with what he later called a “largely satirical” call to overthrow democracy because “all glory is not to government, all glory to God.” As Steve Bannon chimed “Amen,” Posobiec added that “our first order of business will be righteous retribution for those who betrayed America.” Posobiec’s comments were a reflection of the joking-not-really-joking ambiguity that some alt-Right and far-right figures use to promote extremism while claiming plausible deniability in order to avoid accountability for it.

Others at CPAC were clearly not joking. Moms for America’s Kimberly Fletcher declared on Saturday, “This is a fight for our lives. We are in one war. There are two armies—God’s and the devil’s. And all you have to decide is, ‘Which camp am I in?’—and spoiler alert, God wins in the end so you might want to be in the right camp.”

Religious-right leaders have long mobilized their followers with claims that Christians in America are facing persecution, a grievance-stoking strategy that infuses the MAGA movement. In a Saturday morning CPAC panel dubbed “The Bible Uncancelled,” CPAC’s Mercedes Schlapp characterized American political struggles as “a spiritual fight.” She began by asserting, without citing evidence or examples, that there’s an effort in the U.S. to “cancel the Bible, shut it down, not even be able to talk about Christ.”

The reality, of course, is far different. Conservative Christians in the U.S. can choose from a massive array of likeminded networks and media outlets. Much of the MAGA movement and Republican Party, including the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, embrace and promote Christian nationalist ideology. The Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that frozen fertilized eggs should be treated legally as persons, with Chief Justice and far-right Christian dominionist Tom Parker repeatedly citing the Bible and warning about “the wrath of a holy God.”

Still, Schlapp mocked what she called “this obsession with the leftist media” to target “the majority of people in this room as Christian nationalists.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum responded that the left is trying to tie conservative Christians to “scary times” in the past. “The country is going to operate on a moral code,” said Santorum, who argued that it will either be a biblically based code, which he called essential for a free society, or a “woke” code.

Schlapp described the “woke” code this way: “Their code is that of sexualizing our children. Their code is that the government’s in charge of your family basically. Their code is if you’re a boy, and you want to become a girl, that’s fine. Let’s do that as well. I mean, it is literally what I say the destruction or the collapsing of society.”

Santorum said that American society rested by consensus on a biblical code for 200 years, adding that “it changed about 50 years ago. We took the Bibles out of the out of the classroom. We started speaking in much more secular language and talking about how we had to separate church and state.” Too many Americans have replaced the God of the Bible with “the God of self,” Santorum said. “If you want to live the way you want to live—and that’s their version of freedom—then you don’t want some outside group or force selling you what you’re doing is wrong.”

Santorum’s definition of freedom here tracks with that promoted by the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, which defines freedom as the right to live as the religious right believes the Bible tells you to. Without demonstrating any sense of irony, Santorum argued that it is the promoters of “woke” ideology who want to tell others how to live.

In reality, the recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling is a perfect example of Seven Mountains Dominionism in action. Proponents of this religious and political ideology believe that every “mountain” or sphere of influence in society must be run by likeminded right-wing Christians, who will then use their power to force society into alignment with their “biblical worldview” as they “disciple” and “transform” nations.

As multiple news outlets have noted, 125 House Republicans, including Speaker Johnson, have sponsored legislation declaring that fertilized eggs are persons from the moment of conception. Religious-right strategist Robert George urged the Supreme Court’s conservatives to go beyond overturning Roe v. Wade and declare that fertilized eggs are persons under the 14th Amendment, thereby requiring all states to treat abortion as murder.

The Christian nationalism on display at CPAC was, like everything else at CPAC, intertwined with the mandate to put Donald Trump back in the White House. Former RNC director of faith outreach Chad Connelly talked up his efforts to turn out low-propensity conservative Christian voters by getting pastors more politically engaged, ensuring that their congregants are registered to vote, and discipling them to vote according to “biblical values.”

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The post Christian Nationalism and Spiritual Warfare at CPAC appeared first on Right Wing Watch.


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