Only one? That’s a steep ask of Flynn devotees, who’ll now have to choose between Christianity and QAnon.
Nationalism in my experience is usually just tribalism wrapped in the flag, a movement to establish one’s particular racial, religious, or political tribe as preeminent and definitive of national identity. That sits nicely with this bit from Flynn’s speech at a ReAwaken America event this weekend. If you’re a nationalist who believes that America is fundamentally a “Christian nation,” why wouldn’t you want Christianity to be the only religion?
Pluralism is for classical-liberal RINOs like David French. Christian nationalism is for “fighters.”
We’re in a bad place when Ilhan Omar is dunking on righties for religious intolerance and has a point.
These people hate the US Constitution. https://t.co/CnrfQ5vAcP
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 14, 2021
Here’s a fuller clip of Flynn’s remarks, which I’m sure he’ll claim were misunderstood.
Saw a short clip floating around of Michael Flynn calling for “one religion” in America.
I took a moment to dig to make sure the broader context was, in fact, Christian nationalist in nature.
Answer: Yup, and it arguably gets *even more so* the longer you watch. pic.twitter.com/MmAvMutI7K
— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) November 14, 2021
“Good versus evil.” Straightforward.
My guess is he’ll say that he meant Christians should go out and spread the Good News and hope to convert nonbelievers, as the Bible encourages them to do. All religions ultimately want there to be only one religion, no? But Flynn doesn’t get that benefit of the doubt since he’s not a guy who’s remained scrupulously restrained about bending his opponents to his will in the past. Last December he called for “limited” martial law in the name of re-running the election because he and his allies didn’t like the outcome. This past June he was asked why what happened in Myanmar — a military coup — shouldn’t happen here, to which he replied, “No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason.” (He lied afterwards about what he meant, of course.)
Mike Flynn is past the “persuasion” stage with his enemies and is seemingly open to all possibilities in asserting the primacy of his tribe. That’s what “good versus evil” means. I honestly hope he runs in 2024 if Trump doesn’t because I want to see how a loud-and-proud, conspiracy-flirting Christian nationalist candidate with some martyr cred from his ordeal with the FBI fares against more mainstream populists like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott. I don’t think Flynn wins, but he doesn’t finish last either.
The reasons for the drift of American evangelicalism from a strictly theological identity towards a more political one is above my pay grade, but watching Flynn here did remind me of this amazing data from Pew a few months ago. I don’t know how many people were drawn to evangelical Christianity by Christ over the past four years but some certainly seem to have been drawn by Trump:
Coincidentally, the Times has a story today on the departure of editor Marvin Olasky from World, a Christian news organization he’d led for more than 25 years. The problem: The board wanted to steer the outfit towards a more conservative political identity instead of a purely Christian religious news agency open to different perspectives.
He had, he said, received an effective “vote of no confidence” from World’s board, which had recently started a section of the website, World Opinions, without fully consulting him. The new section offers opinion essays on religious issues with the kind of commentary on secular topics like mask mandates, inflation, race and President Biden’s spending plans that can be found on any number of other conservative websites…
“I am not interested in the project of a conservative opinion magazine — there are lots out there already and that’s not my vision of World,” Mr. Olasky, 71, told me Thursday in a telephone interview from his home in Austin, Texas…
Secular culture wars roiled World in the summer of 2020 over a podcast whose guest sharply criticized the protests after George Floyd’s killing; Mr. Olasky pressed to include a more liberal view. More recently, Mr. Olasky said he faced criticism from readers for running articles by a doctor recommending masks and vaccines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Ms. Belz said she had felt growing pressure on two topics in particular: “on issues that related to masks or to voter fraud.”
Olasky thought World was part of a tribe of Christians only to find that the readership’s tribal identity had shifted beneath his feet. Another viral video from this weekend:
The Q-Anon crowd is at televangelist John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.
They are chanting, “Let’s Go Brandon” from the church pews. pic.twitter.com/pGqUmUXezn
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) November 14, 2021
Olasky’s view of his faith’s role in the civic order is certainly more commonly shared across the population than Flynn’s is, but I’m less confident that that’s true among populists. What Flynn told the crowd in the clip above would have fit neatly at the “Jericho March” that was held last December, a Christian nationalist display that fused “stop the steal” Trump-worship with religious testimonials. That’s why I think the country would benefit from having a clear Christian nationalist candidate in the race in 2024, to take the temperature of Republicans on where they stand with respect to someone with those views. They wouldn’t nominate a Mike Flynn — I think — but I wouldn’t bet against him being a player in the early primaries.