On December 13, 2022, the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held its final hearing in a multipart series on “Confronting White Supremacy (Part VII): The Evolution of Anti-Democratic Extremist Groups and the Ongoing Threat to Democracy.” Chaired by Congressman Jamie Raskin, the hearing detailed the proliferation of white nationalism and political violence and the consequences of inaction. Interfaith Alliance president, Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, highlighted the growing role of Christian nationalism as a driving force for antidemocratic violence in a written statement, saying:
“As a Baptist pastor, I recognize the profound harm this movement poses to Christianity and the positive role that members of our faith can play in a pluralistic nation. I also share an abiding respect for my neighbors of different faiths and of no faith and believe them equally deserving of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….I offer the perspective of a person of faith and member of the clergy who is watching many of his co-religionists embrace a distorted interpretation of our sacred tenets.”
Rev. Raushenbush emphasized the Christian nationalism movement’s deep ties to racial subjugation, noting that across centuries proponents have wielded two conflicting ideas: that the United States holds a special status because of God’s favor and is also in a state of moral decay, requiring action by “real” Americans to regain power and control. While the January 6th insurrection was the most vivid example in recent memory, our national history includes many who have drawn on the symbols and language of Christian religious life in service of their quest for dominance. Read Rev. Raushenbush’s full statement and watch the hearing, hosted by the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.