The Miami Herald editorial criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Christian nationalist shtick.”
The publication warned that Christian nationalism, growing in popularity in the GOP, has links to white supremacy.
The editorial concluded that Democrats must do more to counter Christian nationalist rhetoric.
The Miami Herald published an editorial criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “flirting with Christian nationalism,” warning that it overlaps with white supremacy.
DeSantis and other conservative leaders such as Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, have recently touted Christian nationalist ideas – a political ideology that asserts an intrinsic connection between being American and being Christian.
The influential daily newspaper, one of the most widely read in the state, points to DeSantis’ invoking of Christian war imagery, as he said in a recent speech: “Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm against the left’s schemes.”
Republicans such as DeSantis have found a “political gold mine” by pitting Christians against the “so-called evils of the left,” such as LGBTQ people and “woke” teachers, the paper says.
But, the newspaper’s editorial board warns that Christian nationalism can have dangerous appeal beyond just religion.
“We cannot overlook the overlap between Christian nationalism — and its nostalgia for our “Anglo-Protestant” past — and white supremacy,” the editorial says, noting that many devout Christians enslaved Black people centuries ago.
The article also cites recent data, laid out by Robert P. Jones, the head of the Public Religion Research Institute, which suggests that “the more racist attitudes a person holds, the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christian.”
Christian nationalism is also not just about religion, according to Ryan Burge, an Eastern Illinois University professor who studies the intersection between religion and political behavior.
Burge told the paper that its appeal also related to nostalgia for the days when traditional values weren’t questioned – when “a woman was a woman and a man was a man,” a popular gripe amongst conservatives.
The paper suggested that DeSantis’ embracing of Christian nationalism hints at him eyeing 2024 GOP presidential primary voters, as Florida, which he won by a “razor-thin” margin in 2018, has long been considered a purple state.
The paper also criticizes Democrats for failing to come up with an effective counter-narrative to politicians like DeSantis that does not demonize religion or come across as proselytizing.
“If DeSantis is telling his followers to go fight to shape the nation to their religious liking, the counter-narrative should be that this rhetoric could not only incite violence, but it also undermines Christianity itself,” the editorial says.
“The governor’s Christian nationalist shtick only separates us,” the paper says, adding that Democrats should “counter it more boldly and bring back into their tent voters who feel that, on the issues of religion and faith, the party has nothing to say to them.”
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