The Hammerlock of Christian Bias
The problem of Christianity biasing society reveals when the most objective media outlets fall prey to the problem. CNN analyst, John Blake, reported An ‘imposter Christianity’ is threatening American democracy showing the depth and danger of Christian bias in media. Though Blake shows that not every Christian is a White nationalist because some support civil rights while voting to overturn Roe v. Wade, the portrayal of mainstream Christianity infected by White Christian Nationalism proves a false narrative often used as propaganda.
Blake reports that White Christian Nationalism infiltrated mainstream religious organizations with their brand of Christianity, which holds some truth in the fact that Christian Nationalists are typically racist and anti-democratic. However, Blake falls prey to the same issue as most people in America, reporting that Christian Nationalism “contradicts the life and teachings of Jesus,” relying on what “some clergy, scholars, and historians say” and citing the problem as “Samuel Perry, a professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma… calls it an ‘imposter Christianity.’”
The False Narrative of “Imposter Christianity”
In the clearest example of the fallacious argument, imposter Christianity forms the No True Scotsman Fallacy that argues the authenticity of the Christian, which is to say anyone who is a bad Christian is not a “true” Christian.
People who believe in Christianity claim to follow the true word of Christ, which contradicts the fact that thousands of Christian sects exist to say nothing of cults and personal interpretations of the bible and Christ’s message that vary from believer to believer even within mainstream organized churches.
The existence of these vast interpretations shows there can be no imposter Christianity since the religion is so malleable to allow these different viewpoints.
Not only does imposter Christianity prove false in the endless interpretations but also in the fact that no single authority sets standards for Christianity. As much as Christians hate to admit it, the famous child-molesting cult, The Family, had every right to claim the name Christian as the Catholic Church. So too did the Branch Davidians, the People’s Temple, and many other dangerous cults.
The Christian imposter claim is not only fallacious but also completely biased since the only authority making and judging the cases are Christians who cannot even agree on what constitutes “true Christianity.”
Christian Bias & Propaganda
Imposter Christianity highlights the lack of objectivity such that even journalists cannot see the problem. In a Christian-dominated society, the religion holds people in a hammerlock of biases, giving rise to blaming evangelical Christians or White Christian Nationalists infiltrators when in fact, large swaths of mainstream religious organizations, in the past and present, support these viewpoints. For example, “52% of Catholics backed Republican Donald Trump,” as Pew Research reported. To believe radical Christian Nationalism infiltrated Catholic churches to sway votes for a man who blatantly aimed his campaign at white, racist Christian Nationalists defies the fact that many Catholics have long voted Republican, especially since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1972, but starting prior, as Robert Sullivan reports in America: The Jesuit Review, that Catholics making more household income and having attained higher education ceased voting as “economically disadvantaged” and began voting Republican.
According to Gallup, President Kennedy earned about 80% of 1960 Catholic voters and by 2004 Kerry (Catholic) received 47% while Bush received 52% of Catholic votes. By 2008, Obama received 54% of Catholic votes and in 2012 received 50% and Romney earned 48%.
Similarly, in midterm elections, according to Pew Research, “Among Protestants, 56% voted for Republican congressional candidates and 42% backed Democrats,” showing a similar voting pattern since 2006.
Gallup also reported a large number of White, Evangelical votes were cast for Trump in 2020, somewhere between 76% and 81% of White evangelicals depending on the survey in question. Though White evangelicals vote mostly Republican, they comprise “one-fourth of all voters,” which is not enough to win an election split between two parties.
When framed in these percentages, the majority of Christians vote for a party that actively and blatantly supports Christian Nationalism.
Protestants, just like Catholics, have long given much support to the Republican party, which has historically opposed civil rights legislation such as affirmative action and social programs such as welfare. This support, combined with the fact that White evangelicals or White Christian nationalists do not have the numbers to steal an election, reveals racist fundamentalist politics result from large groups of Christians voting collectively for Christian Nationalist policies and laws.
What may appear as White Christian Nationalism infiltrating mainstream religion is actually the growing solidarity of Christians who always believed in White, Christian Nationalism, revealing the real problem:
The enormous population of racist, anti-democratic Christian voters who don’t care about violating church and state doctrine.
Liberal Catholics Sit in the Same Pew as Conservative Catholics
One might argue if Christian-dominated politics was already a problem, why then did this problem only recently become a threat to democracy? The answer begins with the fact that the embedding of Christian Nationalism started a long time ago, mythically in 1972 when Roe v. Wade became the Republican cause to rally voters, but more realistically, as reporter Katherine Stewart relates in her novel, The Power Worshippers, “from a set of concerns that long predated the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade,” which used abortion for political motives meant to “mobilize” votes.
Sadly, Trump provides the second reason Christian Nationalism threatens the US. Trump gave Christian voters the great White hope that would return the country to its former (Christian) glory: so goes the MAGA pitch. His entry into politics consolidated support using racist, misogynistic tactics other Republicans were too scared to adopt, which activated those voters waiting for his message as researchers Fording and Schram describe in Hard White, as a “mainstreaming of racism” went beyond altering “attitudes” of active white voters, requiring “the activation of disaffected white racial extremists.” Racists and other “disaffected” groups could join (Republicans) mainstream whites under Trump.
This activation of voters as an explanation for the rise of Christian Nationalism finds even more support in Rachel Bitecofer’s theory discussed in Politico’s article “An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter” describing how modern election are infrequently “shaped by voters changing minds” and instead by the those who choose to vote.
Fording and Schram's activation of voters explains perfectly Trump’s ascent in 2016 and the close 2020 Presidential election since they hold the largest turnout in three decades, and why there are no Christian imposters.
There is No Imposter
In a society dominated by Christianity, falling membership of Churches and increased numbers of people who identify as nonreligious can be misleading statistics. These trends don’t mean these nonchurchgoers do not identify as Christians or the nonreligious stopped following their religiously indoctrinated values. Even more illuminating is the activation of millions of self-declared Christian Nationalists voters, who may not even step foot in a church but can sway a presidential election. Not understanding Christian-driven politics in this way obfuscates the real problems in America.
There is no infiltrator into churches or imposter Christianity, only the same racist Christians who now feel empowered by leaders like Trump who echo their desires. Seen in this light, imposter Christianity becomes a worse problem than bias as proponents of this false narrative, often inadvertently, create propaganda that confuses the issue and camouflages many Christians from criticism with a nonexistent scapegoat.
*This article appears in Christian Pollution: Polemics & Absurdities