‘God & Country’ Documentary Highlights Threat of Christian Nationalism, Stakes of 2024 Election

“God & Country,” a new documentary produced by award-winning filmmaker Rob Reiner, focuses on the threat to democracy posed by the MAGA movement’s aggressive Christian nationalism—and the stakes in this year’s presidential election. The well-timed movie, directed by documentarian Dan Partland, opens in theaters Feb. 16.

“God & Country” was inspired by the book “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism,” by journalist Katherine Stewart. The compelling documentary packs a lot of information into 90 minutes: some history of the modern Christian right political movement, the role that racism played in its founding, the movement’s focus on building political power, its zealous embrace of Trump, and its embrace of authoritarianism and political violence.

The Congressional Freethought Caucus sponsored a screening of “God & Country” at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in January, a site that magnified the emotional impact of footage from the attack on the Capitol three years earlier. Many of the Trump supporters who tried to prevent Congress from affirming his election defeat on Jan. 6, 2021, had been energized by religious-right leaders who told their followers that Trump was anointed by God to save Christian America.

Extensive footage of Christian nationalist leaders—the film’s credits include thanks to Right Wing Watch —allows viewers to hear movement leaders’ disturbing rhetoric and goals in their own voices.

To explain, contextualize, and debunk Christian nationalist voices and the lies they tell about American history, the filmmakers turn to a large cast of both secular and religious experts, some of them conservative and many of them Christian. The number of Christian critics of Christian nationalism featured in “God & Country” seems clearly designed to make it harder for far-right leaders to smear the movie as an attack on Christianity—something they have already, predictably, tried to do. Filmmakers also hope it will help their message reach communities of Christians who are unhappy with what has become the predominant public face of their faith.

Indeed, the Christian religious leaders, authors, and scholars included in the film express dismay at the way so many of their fellow Christians have come to embrace the idea that Trump was anointed by God, and the way that “spiritual warfare” became connected to political violence, with pro-Trump prophecies adding what one speaker calls “an extra degree of fanaticism.”

“The thing that keeps me up at night is that we lose democracy and that this country slides into a theocratic nation,” says University of Pennsylvania Professor Anthea Butler. When she is asked if that is possible, she responds, “We’re closer to now than we ever have been before. And America is on the precipice. And I personally don’t know if we’re going to stop ourselves from going over the other side.”

For skeptical viewers who might be tempted to view Butler’s comments as hyperbole, “God & Country” makes a convincing case. The film includes, for example, a clip shows Michael Flynn, who backed calls for Trump to declare martial law after the 2020 election and whom Trump has talked about bringing back into the White House if he is elected again, telling a Christian nationalist gathering, “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion, one nation under God and one religion under God.”

During a Q&A session after the January screening, Reiner told the audience that he had first become aware of the threat of Christian nationalism when Norman Lear launched People For the American Way in the 1980s to push back against the growing power of the religious right. Reiner called the 2024 elections an “existential” moment at which Americans who do not share the Christian nationalists’ vision must mobilize to “preserve democracy.”

That sentiment is echoed by historian Jemar Tisby, who is featured in the film and wrote about it in his Substack newsletter. “White Christian nationalism is the greatest threat to democracy and the witness of the church in the United States today,” Tisby wrote. “As we head into a presidential election year, our best hope of saving democracy is by revealing the threats to it.”


Every day, Right Wing Watch exposes extremism to help the public, activists, and journalists understand the strategies and tactics of anti-democratic forces—and respond to an increasingly aggressive and authoritarian far-right movement. The threat is growing, but our resources are not. Any size contribution will help us continue our work and become more effective at disrupting the ideologies, people, and organizations that threaten our freedom and democracy. Please make an investment in Right Wing Watch’s defense of the values we share.

The post ‘God & Country’ Documentary Highlights Threat of Christian Nationalism, Stakes of 2024 Election appeared first on Right Wing Watch.


You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes