On the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection many are still trying to figure out why it happened and what it means for our country moving forward. There are a handful of reasons thousands of Americans rioted that day. While not the only reason, a key influence was white Christian nationalism. My colleague Sam Perry and I have been studying Christian nationalism for years now. What we saw on January 6th, 2021 was certainly shocking, but not surprising. We consistently find that Christian nationalism is intimately intertwined with conspiratorial beliefs, support for Trump, a disdain for broad access to the democratic process, and a comfort with violence. In the two columns below we provide some perspective on what we’ve learned in the last year and what the future may hold. Also included are a recent study on Christian nationalism and views toward voting and our recent book. The data we’ve gathered is sobering. The implications are clear: white Christian nationalism presents a distinctive threat to democracy in the United States and we ignore it at our peril.
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Andrew L. Whitehead is an Associate Professor of Sociology and co-Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.