How the Capitol Attacks Helped Spread Christian Nationalism On the Extreme Right

By Jack Jenkins
Capitol attacks Nick Fuentes
Nick Fuentes, center, speaks to supporters of President Donald Trump during a pro-Trump march Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

When supporters of former President Donald Trump rallied near the White House on Jan. 6 of last year, a boisterous pocket of young men waving “America First” flags broke into a chant: “Christ is King!” It was one of the first indications that Christian nationalism would be a theme of the Capitol attack later that day, where demonstrators  prayed and waved banners that read “Proud American Christian.”

It also announced the presence of followers of Nick Fuentes, a 23-year-old white nationalist and former YouTube personality who was subpoenaed this month by the U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the Capitol attack. (Though a person holding a flag reading “America First” — Fuentes’ personal brand — was among the first to barrel into the Senate chamber during the attack, there is no evidence Fuentes entered the Capitol himself.)

“Christ is King” is not controversial in itself: The phrase is rooted in Christian Scripture and tradition. But Fuentes’ supporters have given it a different connotation. They have chanted it at anti-vaccine protests and the March for Life, some of them holding crucifixes aloft. It was heard in March, at an America First conference, where Fuentes delivered a speech saying America will cease to be America “if it loses its white demographic core and if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ.” Fuentes also declared the country “a Christian nation.” 

The religious fervor of Fuentes’ followers is part of an unsettling resurgence of faith-based appeals among right-wing extremists in the aftermath of the January 6 attack. With so many ideological strands animating the far-right — including racism, antisemitism, and fervent nationalism — a shared affinity for Christian nationalism has come to serve as a unifying element, scholars of extremism say.

And as Christian nationalism’s presence grows, experts are concerned it could expand extremism’s influence over other, more moderate conservative politicians and groups. 

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“Christian nationalism — and even the idea of separatism, with a subtext of white, Christian and conservative-leaning — took a more dominant role in the way that extremist groups talk to each other and try to propagandize in public,” said Jared Holt, who studies extremism at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. 

Christian nationalism has a deep history in America’s racist right-wing, said Kelly J. Baker, author of “Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930.” Fuentes’ rhetoric “could have come word for word from a Klan speech in 1922,” she said. “The Klan’s goal here was patriotism and nationalism, but it was combined with their focus on white Christianity.”

Intermingling patriotism and piety has become common even among groups better known for nationalist violence than adherence to a particular faith. The Proud Boys, a chauvinist organization whose members trampled and burned Black Lives Matter banners at Washington, D.C., churches a year ago, were spotted praying together the morning of the attacks.

capitol attacks proud boys
Proud Boys members Zachary Rehl, left, and Ethan Nordean, right, walk toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington, in support of President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

A month earlier, “Rufio Panman” — aka, Ethan Nordean, currently facing federal charges stemming from Jan. 6 — compared Jesus’ crucifixion to “sacrificing ourselves for our country,” at an impromptu Proud Boys rally near the Washington Monument, according to footage provided by independent journalist Dakota Santiago.

Nordean and other Proud Boys knelt as another man prayed into a bullhorn, warning that anti-fascist activists known as antifa were “coming” for their children, freedom, culture, country and Constitution.

“God will watch over us as we become proud,” the man said. Proud Boys joined him in shouting “We love you, God!” to the sky. 

Alex Bradley Newhouse, deputy director of Middlebury College’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism, said three Christian nationalist movements have grown or enhanced their visibility since 2019: “Deseret nationalists,” a primarily Mormon group based in Utah; the inherently racist “Christian Identity” movement; and “dominionists,” a term used to describe Christians with theocratic political goals that now overlaps heavily with Christian nationalism.

After the Capitol attack, the latter two have become markedly more popular, Newhouse said. “Post-insurrection, we have 100% tracked the emergence of this Christian — revolutionary Christian — framework imposed or adopted by communities that have lost faith in the government.”

A month before the attack on the Capitol, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, who was arrested on sedition charges on Jan. 13 related to the attack, gave a speech at a faith-themed “Jericho March” event in Washington, D.C., where speakers espoused claims about 2020 election fraud and trumpeted Christian nationalism.

Christian nationalism has also become common among anti-vaccine activists and the QAnon movement, which has prospered in evangelical Christian congregations.

Elizabeth Neumann
Elizabeth Neumann (Video screengrab)

Elizabeth Neumann, who served as assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention at the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration, said the religious turn in extremist groups would have surprised her several years ago, but not anymore.

Neumann resigned her government post in April 2020, claiming President Trump was dismissive of domestic terrorist threats, and now works with the Moonshot CVE Group, which studies violent extremism. Raised evangelical (she now rejects the label, preferring “follower of Christ”), she has expressed concern about radicalization in Christian communities and worked to combat it.

“The whole concept of ‘We need to secure our nation within its Christian heritage’ … It’s heretical,” she said. “If that is where you’re going to put your focus, I’m concerned for your soul, and you might have missed the point of the Gospel. But it is also not without precedent that when people think that something is allowable because their religion calls for it, we do see violence come out of that.”

People who join violent groups are often searching for “belonging and significance,” said Neumann, explaining that modern versions of Christian nationalism can fill that vacuum for some.

Besides faith, a strong unifying force has been social media, scholars said, which in turn fortifies adherence to Christian themes. “This unification is pretty unprecedented,” said Newhouse. “The infusion of Christian nationalism throughout that unification process has been particularly interesting and, in my opinion, is going to end up being pretty dangerous.”

Part of the danger, he explained, is that broader appeals to Christian nationalism may “disguise a much more dangerous uptick in adoption of Christian Identity” — an ideology that claims, among other things, that Jesus was a white Aryan and that the End Times will come about through a racial holy war.

According to Newhouse, prominent QAnon influencer “GhostEzra” began sending explicit Christian identity messages to his 300,000 Telegram subscribers after the Capitol attack. Christian Aryan memes, as well as references to the “two-seedline theory” — which contends the serpent in the Book of Genesis mated with Eve, creating two morally opposed races — began popping up in QAnon and Proud Boys channels.

Christian Nationalism attacks
A man holds a Bible as Trump supporters gather outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Newhouse also pointed to Kyle Chapman, who leads a sub-group connected to the Proud Boys known as the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights. Newhouse said Chapman has been “blasting out Christian Identity propaganda” and interacting with Christian Identity influencers on Telegram, a social media website increasingly popular with the right.

“There’s this gradual move toward a more revolutionary, burn-it-all-down posture, and I think Christian Identity for a lot of these people has become a way for them to organize their thoughts,” he said.

The growth in Christian nationalism has translated into threats against the Jewish community. A recent study conducted by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism revealed a December 2021 Telegram post from St. Louis Proud Boys President Mike Lasater that read, “Our time is not up; it is the jewish hegemony whose days our (sic) numbered. This is a Christian nation; jews may be citizens of this country, but they are guests of our nation, and they should remember that.”

Experts stress that Christian nationalism is not always synonymous with Christian Identity — a point made by some conservative Christians who want to differentiate their belief that the United States is a Christian nation from the Jan. 6 rioters’ views.

But Baker argued that even relatively moderate Christian nationalism can encourage violent groups. “A number of celebrity pastors who are involved in white Christian nationalism have tried to separate themselves from the violence,” she said, “but are not realizing they are part of the pipeline.”

anthea butler
Anthea Butler (Courtesy Photo)

Any appeal to Christian nationalist views, said Anthea Butler, chair of the department of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, can embolden extremists by giving the appearance — even unintentionally — of an “alliance” with church leaders.

Butler pointed to a November speech by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President Archbishop José Gomez. The prelate, who has condemned racism and the Capitol attack, warned that America has lost its “story” — namely, one “rooted in a biblical worldview and the values of our Judeo-Christian heritage” that “underwrote America’s founding documents.”

Newhouse said there are signs that Christian nationalism’s rise is already pushing the “already radicalized” toward a “more violent posture.”

Andrew Torba, a conservative tech entrepreneur, has been venting what Newhouse described as an “extreme anti-modern version of Christian nationalism” on Gab, the alternative social media website Torba founded.

Torba’s vision for a “parallel Christian society” has crossover appeal to “accelerationist authors” — people who hope to bring on the End Times by, among other things, provoking a race war, according to Newhouse.

Andrew Torba
Andrew Torba

Extremists have typically operated at the fringes of American politics, and calls for parallel societies sound as if these groups want to be left alone to believe as they like. Holt said Torba’s talk echoes calls for “a national divorce,” conjuring a country in which conservative Christians “might need to form their own communities apart from this broader society that they believe has been corrupted,” he said.

But some extremist Christian nationalists are forging ties to establishment figures, including elected officials. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, the keynote speaker at Fuentes’ America First 2021 conference, tweeted “Christ is King” the same day he posted a widely condemned animated video that depicted him killing New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Gosar has sought to distance himself from Fuentes’ views, but after being disciplined by Congress for the video, the congressman encouraged his supporters to join Gab. One of the first people he followed on the platform was Fuentes, who he has since lauded as a “young conservative Christian” who is a victim of “political persecution” by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack.

“We will take back our country, and we will save America from the haters, the incompetents and the ones so intent on making us a godless nation,” Gosar wrote in a recent Gab post.

Meanwhile, as Fuentes prepares for the 2022 iteration of his “America First” conference, Torba announced in late January that Gab would be an official sponsor of the event.

“Everyone who will be going is a member of this website, promotes Christian values, openly proclaims the name of Jesus Christ, and promotes America First political objectives, candidates, and members of Congress,” Torba wrote on Gab. He added that he believes the event brings together “Christian thinkers” who are “the future of the right wing in this country.”

And while extremists may live on the fringe ideologically, Butler said, an unsettling aspect of Christian nationalism is that radicalized devotees often rub elbows with everyday believers.

“That person is sitting next to you in the pew,” she said.

Jack Jenkins is an award-winning journalist and national reporter for the Religion News Service



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73 thoughts on “How the Capitol Attacks Helped Spread Christian Nationalism On the Extreme Right”

  1. You state “But Fuentes’ supporters have given it a different connotation. They have chanted it at anti-vaccine protests and the March for Life, some of them holding crucifixes aloft.”
    Do you have proof it was Fuentes followers who were present art the March for Life event (or even the anti-vax event)? Are you saying that Pro-life supporters are, by your argument, Christian Nationalists or that any group the declares in a unified voice that Christ is King is in itself racist?
    Your argument about the March for Life event is both unsupported and libel without said proof.

      1. Fair enough, but the article links to the March for Life site, not the article you reference here. Adding that as a hyperlink as well would be wise.

    1. Rosemari Simmons

      I am very pro-life (in all it’s stages, including disability & the infirm/elderly), & not a Christian Nationalist in any way. I know many like me.

  2. The evil, despicable, worldly, anti-Christ cancer of white American nationalism has LONG infected those who use the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

    The Word of God is clear – when the people tried to make Jesus king of this world – what did Jesus do (Jn6.15)…. Jesus was specific in Jn18.36 – His Kingdom is NOT America – and NOT Jerusalem – RATHER our citizenship is heaven (Phil3.20) – from whence we look for a City whose builder and maker is God – NOT a secular land of European descendants… God forbid!!

    1. The conflation of Christ with any nation is a contemptable misunderstanding at best; raw blasphemy at worst. Galatians 3:28.

  3. Christian Nationalism is a faithless scourge of spiritual disease and destruction that many so called “Christian Leaders” will answer for. It is founded by greed, paid for by fear and nursed by satan himself. Our savior had no place to lay his head and when he was mocked and beaten he raised not a hand and spoke not a word of defense or attack.

      1. Sara, I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. Koresh convinced his followers that the government was out to get them as part of an end of the world scenario. Their insular, paranoid behavior led to this needlessly becoming a tragic, self-fulfilling prophecy. As the spouse of a healthcare worker, I understand why our government is resorting to a more heavy-handed response to the pandemic. But I fear similar dynamics as what happened at Waco and hope we can all learn from it. I hope you can at least consider another point of view from a fellow believer.

  4. I have cynical friends who would point to this as an example of the negative impact of religion, typical of what we’ve seen through much of European Christian history. To counter with a distinction between what we define as being “Christian” ends up as a no-true-Scotsman debate. So, the question is, are these simply misguided brothers or enemies of the faith? If the later, what is an appropriate response?

    1. Now there’s the money question… like the last paragraph, some of these people are sitting with us in the same pew (I have a few) and I have no idea what to do other than try to love like Jesus… they are so convinced and its part of their faith identity…trying to argue them out of it would probably cause them to dig in further… prayer and fasting? pointing out the ethics of Jesus in Matt 5 – and the fruits of the Spirit over and over till maybe it dawns on them that their right-wing, americ-worshipping brethern aren’t doing those things and the lightbulb goes off that it’s not Jesus the christian nationalists are following (despite chanting slogans)?
      This is the conundrum now in probably every evangelical/conservative-leaning church in america…

  5. More moral peacocking by the holier-than-thous. As bad as 1/6 was–I don’t recall the Oathkeepers, Proud Boys etc. destroying entire city blocks when they didn’t get their way for months on end.

    I do believe the 1/6 rioters should be apprehended and punished according to the law–just like the so-called “racial justice” rioters of the summers of 2020 and 2021. Let’s not forget that the majority of pro-Trump demonstrators, and anti-police violence demonstrators–were peaceful and law abiding.

    I’m not a supporter of left- or right-wing rioters, one iota. But, how come you are canceled and ostracized for attacking the former?

    1. Hi Brian –
      Please be fair: cancel culture goes both ways. Just ask: the (Dixie) Chicks, Jane Fonda, Kathy Griffin, Colin Kaepernick, Ellen, Samantha Bee, James Gunn, Michelle Wolf, or Beyonce. Or look at the conservative boycotts against: Target, Keurig, Nike, Gillette, or French (“freedom”) fries.

      Interesting that your response to an article that contains such direct quotes as, “America will cease to be America if it loses its white demographic core and if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ” is to dismiss, deflect, and defend. Tell me how I – a Black woman whose family has been here for 8 generations, and is a descendant of those who served in ministry AND the military – is supposed to feel about that?
      This is why (in my other post) I indicated I understand why many non-white evangelicals are leaving the church. They don’t feel welcome when fellow brothers and sisters in Christ respond to outright racism with dismissive, deflective, defensive “whataboutisms”.

      1. About time the US church grew a pair of color blind eyes. I reiterate Galatians 3:28.

        OTOH, a group boycott is not ‘cancelling’ Cancelling is the leverage of public platforms to prevent alternative views. A group of people not buying something does nothing to stop a retailer stocking an item if they want….but the market will work. Ideas are different.

      2. Marin Heiskell,

        I’ll completely agree with you–except for Fonda. She was literally caught in the act of giving comfort and assistance to an enemy of the United States, and was proud of it. Would a right-wing movie star have been let off the hook for traveling to the Reich and hobnobbing with the SS in 1942?

        If a bunch of loudmouthed idiots crashing the Capitol was “treason and sedition”, what does that make what she did?

        The others–yeah, it’s a matter of public opinion, let the market sort it out. Yes, canceling for mildly offensive opinions is stupid.

      3. Marin, I am so sorry. I am a white woman who truly…and foolishly….thought racism was a thing of the past in America. I taught my kids that it doesn’t matter the color of our skin, our eyes, our hair because we all bleed red. I’m not sure how we allowed this evil to gain such prominence once again; I just know we need to do all we can to stop it.

        1. Thank you for the kind replies. I just remind myself that the sins of racism (referring to the numerous ways racism can manifest) are rooted in fear. I believe scripture shows us exactly how to combat fear – with faith.

    2. The article is about Christian nationalism, not about whose riot is worse. You should be able to look at the dangers of one political/religious extreme without resorting to comparing it to the other extreme.

    3. If the majority of Trump supporters are non violent, why aren’t they calling out those who are? Depending on the survey, we see that between 30-40 percent of Republicans say that violence is necessary to “save America.” Why don’t Republicans call out their own supporters who on Jan 6 sent 140 police officers to the hospital? Instead Republicans are paying for their attorneys, lobbying for their release from jail and calling them “political prisoners.” Hillsdale Michigan Republicans even had an “Insurrection Anniversary” party a few weeks ago.

      Trump’s leaders who organized the Stop the Steal march welcomed racists (Lead organizer Alexander Ali- “We’re willing to work with racists”) and conspiracy theorists. Alex Jones, who claims the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax, was one of the speakers.

      At the same time the GOP is currently pushing Trump supported Senate candidates, five of whom are accused of domestic assault and/or rape.

      My question is this- If Christians have to partner with violent racists, liars, cheats, and conspiracy people to bring about God’s will in America, are we truly on God’s side?

  6. It is so easy to justify or rationalize behavior from your side that you would never tolerate from the other side.

  7. I personally feel more comfortable around those on the “extreme right” than I do about anyone who voted for Biden at this point. Just saying. As more time passes, the less I regret my vote for Trump and the more unsafe I feel around those dehumanizing those on the “far right”.

    1. Yet, Sara, many of your posts label, blame, accuse, stereotype – and DEHUMANIZE – those on the left. Perhaps while you are more comfortable with people who say things like”America will cease to be America if it loses its white demographic core and if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ”, know that such beliefs insult, alienate, and DEHUMANIZE people like me – someone who is SUPPOSED to be your sister in Christ (but I’m Black, which means my existence – according to those you prefer to be around, “makes America cease to be America”).
      Perhaps take the plank out of your own eye and set an example.
      There are humans – and believers – on both sides of the aisle.

    2. Sara do you actually know any Christians who voted for Biden? What makes you feel unsafe about them? Or, are you simply responding to what you’ve read online about “Biden voters” or seen on Fox News?

      I know many followers of Jesus who voted for Biden and they aren’t your enemy. They would save you from a burning fire or give you food if you were hungry. Maybe you know some of these people too but you haven’t realized it.

      It seems you are confusing the way a person voted on one day in 2020 with who a person is in the hundreds of days since. I think that’s the point of this article. As followers of Jesus we cannot equate our vote, our political party or our nation with God. Remember that Jesus told Pilate His kingdom is not of this world.

      1. Saeng Fisher,

        I’m sure that a lot of professing “Christians” were on Team Nero in the 60s AD too… your point being?

        Marin Heiskell, Mark Gunderson,

        Who has Sara “dehumanized”? She is reacting to the mainstream of society demonizing everyone that doesn’t toe the line on vaccines, gender, abortion, etc. from all that I can see.

        1. @Brian –
          I have read Sara’s posts throughout this site, and she labels, accuses, stereotypes, and makes assumptions about those who vote Democratic. That is the very behavior she claims she’s uncomfortable with when it’s aimed at Republicans/right wingers/conservatives, but seems to have no problem when it’s aimed at Democrats/leftists/liberals/progressives. You can dismiss, justify, or downplay it as a “reaction”, but it’s objectifying and dehumanizing those she disagrees with.
          And to ignore the outright racism in the statement of “America will cease to be America if it loses its white demographic core and if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ” (I noticed you did too in your earlier comment) is dehumanizing to all who are not white.
          And perhaps what’s most important is that it is NOT Christlike.

        2. I didn’t claim anybody was being dehumanized. According to CT:

          ‘Christian nationalism is the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way. Popularly, Christian nationalists assert that America is and must remain a “Christian nation”—not merely as an observation about American history, but as a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future.’

          This is dangerous politically, but even more dangerous religiously. Also from the CT article linked above:

          ‘it is taking the name of Christ as a fig leaf to cover its political program, treating the message of Jesus as a tool of political propaganda and the church as the handmaiden and cheerleader of the state.’

          Nobody here is ‘dehumanizing’ Christian nationalists, unless Paul is guilty of dehumanizing false teachers.

          My worry about Sara’s post is that she gives the impression she experienced regret over voting for Trump after the Jan 6 insurrection, but has since felt those groups aren’t so bad, because of them being ‘dehumanized.’ I don’t see anyone’s humanity being attacked, only their heretical and politically dangerous ideas.

    3. I think that is the problem. Evangelical Christians are more comfortable around an America First crowd chanting “Jews will not replace us” than they are being around fellow Christians who vote for Democrats.

      1. Meredith Nienhuis

        My understanding and experience is that Christian Nationalists are also Christian Zionists. Many of the world’s nations today promote an evil persecution of Jews and of Israel.

  8. The events of 1/6 were not isolated, but were a small part of an overall organized attempt to keep Trump in office.

    When I discuss the 1/6 insurrection with my “evangelical” friends at church. They correct me by telling me that it was caused by Antifa and was a “false-flag” operation. Also they are insistent the 1/6 insurrectionists are actually “Patriots”.

    It reminds me of my grandfather in Germany, who could not understand on why so many Christians voted for Hitler and the Nazi party during the 1930 and 1932 German Parliamentary elections in Germany.

  9. This discussion brings to mind an interview between a Canadian theologian and and Aussie Christian/theologian… both are conservatively (theologically speaking) writers, Bible teachers, theologians… (see “What is Evangelicalism? An Interview with John Stackhouse” – here and especially around the 26min mark)

    They and many non-american christians get the kingdom of God… they get that it’s only about Jesus and His Kingdom.. The nation they happen to live in or be a citizen of, is secondary or even lower… not that they don’t care about the People in their countries, but as an entity, their “nation” is not worth a fight. But that’s not the case for many american evangelical christians… they try to put the entity of their nation on nearly or equal footing with the global, trans-national, multi-ethnic kingdom of God. And that’s the root of this problem… it is why most (80%) american evangelical christians are outliers compared to most of the rest of the world’s christians.

    And someday God’s going to rip that idol from their grasping fingers and demolish it forever, as He’s done to all other arrogant empires… and then what is the american christian nationalist going to do? How will they live in a heaven that doesn’t value their ‘america’ like they did? What will they do when they discover that america wasn’t the apple of God’s eye, nor was it specially ‘chosen’?

  10. The state sponsored narrative is “focus on the ‘horrible insurrection’ and distrust toward the white evangelicals…do not focus on the multitude of reasons not to trust the government. While you name call, they are making money.

  11. Meredith Nienhuis

    I voted for Trump because of his promises and policies, he was pro-life! I remain a defender of Trump in that he was falsely accused by the “loyal opposition” of colluding with Russia in 2016. Yes, it was a Lie! It has been debunked that Trump colluded with Russia.
    And there are a million reasons for which I would vote for him again, the millions of baby girls and boys who have been taken from their mothers by the abortion beast. Babies being created in the image of GOD! Worldwide the leading cause of death at 40% is by abortion, and last year worldwide the abortion beast took 40 million babies from their mothers.
    As a Christian I will always vote pro-Life!
    Perhaps Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will soon return and judge the nations and peoples of the earth.

    1. I think that one of the reasons Trump lost is because enough people rightly concluded that being prolife is more than being antiabortion. in every battleground state he lost, he underperformed other Republicans on the same ballot.

      Being prolife also encompasses how you treat people you encounter everyday, especially vulnerable women. It includes public policies that treat all human beings, domestic and foreign, with human compassion. And it means supporting public safety, for instance during a pandemic.

      Trump failed in all those categories. He inflicted intentional harm and pain on vulnerable refugees, many of them Christians, in order to “send a message” to others not to come to America. He largely ignored and downplayed the pandemic calling it a Democrat “hoax,” costing countless lives. He opposed states offering healthcare to more people with Medicaid funds that the federal government had already approved. And like Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein, he has dozens of women who claim he has sexually assaulted or raped them.

      Trump knows what to say to bring together his coalition of Christian nationalists, white supremacists and evangelicals. But he’s a far cry from being prolife.

      1. Greg Culross,

        Thankfully, *most* professing Christians continue to see that whatever Trump’s faults may have been (and I firmly believe that most of what you listed as above were severe exaggerations by the media), a decomposing rock with lichens growing on it would have been preferable to the party that wants taxpayer-funded abortion for any reason to 40 weeks and every school and business in the nation mandated to accept biological males in its women’s rooms.

      2. Meredith Nienhuis

        Life in the womb is a boy or girl being created in the image of God. Abortion is not an act of compassion. Do not forget, it is the number One cause of death in our country and worldwide. Abortion is a means of control by men over women. Man has made America a nation of prostitutes.

        1. Surely you must have some limit to the depravity you will tolerate in a politician in exchange for pro-life overtures. To you, Trump being pro-life makes him look better. To outsiders, Trump makes the pro-life movement look worse. How could a man who talks about women the way he does have the interest of babies and mothers at heart, they ask.

          Randy Alcorn wrestled with this dilemma back in this 2016 post (in which he didn’t state whether he would support Donald Trump or not)

          1. I think Trump himself put it best when he jested “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters.” There is no sin he can commit that won’t be minimized or deflected away by his fans. 1/6 proved that point beyond anything we could have imagined.

          2. Meredith Nienhuis

            Mark, please understand that as a Christian I should not tolerate sin. There was a time when I tolerated the sin of abortion, the murder of life in the womb. At that same time I was a self-righteous “Christian”, and thinking I was going to heaven because I was a good person of good works. However, God convicted me that I was sinner and in need of a Savior. That Savior Is Christ Jesus Who suffered and bled and died on a cross for the sins of man, my sins. The shed blood of Jesus, a lamb without blemish, has saved me.
            When Jesus returns only those who have placed their trust in Christ alone will be saved.

          3. Meredith thank you for replying, but you didn’t speak to the question: exactly what line would Donald Trump have to cross before his being pro-life is not enough to warrant the votes of Christians (or just your vote)?

            Would your answer have changed between 2015 and now?

          4. Mark Gunderson,

            Is there a reason why you rule out that God in fact was leading brothers and sisters in Christ to support Trump way back in 2015, and the possibility that those of us who resisted him (including myself I admit) were hardened of heart?

  12. Brian – I can answer your question on why I’d rule it out:
    The moment I saw Trump’s interview in which he said he has not asked God for forgiveness because he doesn’t need to – and how Christians responded by MAKING EXCUSES FOR THIS ANSWER – I became afraid and alarmed for the church. Not only is this proof from his own mouth that Trump is not of God, but such a refusal to ask for forgiveness points to a dullness to even being able to commune with God. This is when I ruled out anything Godly about him. I continue to fear how many Christians are OK with this admission, and will follow Trump ANYWHERE (as the last 5+ years have shown) despite his words and actions reflecting anything but Christ – and despite scriptures warning of such behavior! What happened to understanding that “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks?” What happened to understanding how God punished kings and political leaders throughout scripture for being disobedient and blasphemous?
    I have come to realize the church is more entrenched with politics than the Bible, and it shows.
    Whew – could you imagine if Obama were live on camera saying he never asked for God’s forgiveness? All of the “I told you he’s Satan!” accusations would start. But Trump said it and it was ok. Among believers. Let that sink in (before you start defending it, as I expect).

    1. Overall, to resist Trump is not about being hard of heart. It’s about being in tune with the Spirit as revealed through the Word.

    2. Marin Heiskell,

      I don’t know Trump’s heart right now and neither do you. I know his ACTIONS, and I know that God often raises up very unlikely leaders to do his will (and yes, I admit that includes Biden, too).

      We don’t need to prove that DJT meets all of the Biblical qualifications for being an elder or pastor–merely that he attempted to implement Godly policies when he had his time in the spotlight. I was skeptical of that in 2016 to put it mildly and refused to vote for him even in 2020–but I will admit that my initial hunch was wrong, and that I stubbornly refused to acknowledge his fruits as POTUS.

      But, honestly, I don’t think Trump had much to apologize for (in terms of his positions–his personal life may be another matter) in 2015. There’s the saying “the truth hurts”, and Trump epitomized that. This is nothing new. How many Biblical prophets were persecuted and even murdered for speaking the blunt, obvious facts about the spiritual condition of Israel (not saying Trump is equal to them)?

      1. Brian – I think you should watch the clips. Trump wasn’t referring to apologizing for things in office. This was from before his election. In 2015, Trump said he has “never apologized or sought forgiveness of his sins from God because he never felt the need to.” When pressed on this in 2016, Trump dug his heels in and said he doesn’t regret never asking God for forgiveness for sins because he doesn’t like it. These video interviews are widely available online.
        You say you don’t know his heart? Scripture says “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” And Trump shared a lot about what’s in his heart in these interviews – and it is prideful towards God. I repeat, it’s concerning to me that this was of ZERO concern to Christians when electing a leader for our country. Oh, unless there’s a “D” after their name. THEN it matters. RME. Speaking of which, you also don’t know the heart of “leftists”…do you extend the same “grace” to them? How is it you know their hearts but not Trump’s – who openly speaks about disliking a necessary step for repentance?!
        And again, go to your Bible. God struck down kings and leaders of nations for being blasphemous and disobedient in both their public and private lives. So we should be careful about excusing and defending sinful behavior (I deem cursing, bullying, lying, and not speaking the truth in love to be sins) of our leaders with the excuse of “but he’s not a pastor”. I’m not one either, but God holds me accountable.

      2. Proverbs 10:18 “The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.”
        Proverbs 10:23 “Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.”
        Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
        Proverbs 13:16 “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.”
        Proverbs 17:10 “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.”
        Proverbs 20:3 “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.”
        Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”
        James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
        All ESV, taken from the list collected at DG:

      3. Brian Patrick,

        Can we once and for all do away with the “we are not electing a pastor or deacon” and “King David was also a sinner” nonsense?

        Trump was accused by dozens of women of sexual assault and/or rape. He brags about grabbing women in their private parts AND about walking in on naked teen girls in his beauty contests. Would your church let someone like this even VOLUNTEER with the teen youth group?

        Financially, Trump has shown himself just as corrupt. His charity admitted in court to “self dealing.” He was using his charity money to pay off lawsuits from his businesses. One example is where he settled a lawsuit with charity money because he failed to pay the winner of a million dollar hole in one. Another was using his charity to fines for violations at his hotels. Would your church hire someone with this history in the business office? Would it even let him count the money without supervision?

        Regarding his political corruption, Trump withheld defensive military weapons from Ukraine unless they gave him damaging information on Joe Biden. (The same Ukraine who is about to be invaded by Russia.) He also helped spur on an attack at our Capitol that sent 140 police officers to the hospital. Today he is saying that those people are “heroes and patriots.” He plans to pardon them if he gets reelected. Would your church let someone like that disciple young up and coming leaders in the church?

        Yes, he knew what policies to support to keep white evangelicals behind him. But I think it is sad that we are so easily bought off. Christ does not need us to lie, cheat and steal, or support those who do, to bring about His will.

  13. Meredith Nienhuis

    There seems to be a consensus that Trump is the “chief of sinners”. Does not everyone who is a Christian and is born again of the Spirit, as Paul, say (or should say) that “i am the chief of sinners”?

  14. Greg Culross, Marin Heiskell,

    1: We don’t know what kind of transformation of heart DJT may have undergone between 2015 and today. Dr. Dobson who is personally acquainted with Trump claims he is a new Christian–we have no way of knowing for sure that he’s wrong. I never made the “David” analogy–I’d say comparing Trump to King Cyrus is better. Trump claims to be our brother NOW–I don’t know if he really is, and neither do you.

    2: Between a squeaky-clean image and failure to do the right thing and a checkered past that does the right thing, I’ll go with the latter ten out of ten times. For well over a decade, our side was made the butt of every joke and criticism over attempting to hold Bill Clinton (still the idol of the feminists) for what his immoral activities, *in office*. Now all of a sudden, the left is the side of virtue and ethics–just when a strong leader who actually posed a threat to their agenda entered the scene?

    3: Trump, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo, and many others have been accused of numerous deeds of sexual misconduct. In the case of the last individual, those deeds were primarily while in office. I have to assume that most likely some of all the above are true, but not all.

    The “believe women”/”MeToo” side claims that the latter two men are victims of partisan witchhunts, yet insists that we must take every claim against Trump or Brett Kavanaugh as incontrovertible fact.

    4: Present Constitutional jurisprudence universally holds that the executive branch holds the final say over all foreign policy matters as enumerated by the Constitution, over and above Congress. We may not like the Ukraine decision, but it was not an unlawful move.

    1. “1: We don’t know what kind of transformation of heart DJT may have undergone between 2015 and today. Dr. Dobson who is personally acquainted with Trump claims he is a new Christian–we have no way of knowing for sure that he’s wrong. I never made the “David” analogy–I’d say comparing Trump to King Cyrus is better. Trump claims to be our brother NOW–I don’t know if he really is, and neither do you.”

      James 1:26: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

      Donald Trump revels in his lies and cruelty. I don’t know why you are unconcerned that many Christians now share in the revelry.

      1. Mark Gunderson,

        “Donald Trump revels in his lies and cruelty. I don’t know why you are unconcerned that many Christians now share in the revelry.”

        Calling out the hypocrisy of the establishment–the double-dealing of both the Democrats and the GOP elite, the blatant and brazen falsehood of the media, the conspiracies of the FBI (pursuing a known hoax in “Russiagate”, while deciding to ignore the mass child rape going on in the USOC), and saying what’s now obvious about COVID and its origins is not “lies and cruelty”.

        If you dislike the way Trump delivered his messages, you’ll probably have a problem with such passages as Matthew 23:33 out of the mouth of God in-the-flesh.

    2. Let’s clarify something: the reason why “your side” (I hate saying that to another brother or sister in Christ, but I think you get the context here) was made the butt of every joke is because the VERY people who went after Clinton were doing the same thing. Newt Gingrich was literally in the middle of having an affair with his now-fourth wife while blasting Clinton for having an affair.
      And then, as if that hypocrisy wasn’t enough, the same “side” that claims a President’s personal life should be vetted as a testiment to his/her character suddenly claimed a President’s personal life was off limits or “didn’t matter” when it came to Trump’s.
      Then there’s the insults about the intent and hearts of leftists, but when that same lens comes for your “side” suddenly it’s “I don’t know their heart” and “aren’t we all sinners”?
      When your “side” touts being the one of “real” Christians, you are expected to act like it. When your behavior is indistinguishable from those you label as God-hating leftists, the problem is in the mirror. Don’t get upset or play victim or martyr or cry “the left is so unfair!” when you’re expected to act in accordance to the faith you claim.
      And just because the letter of the law makes something ok does not mean it is ethical or of integrity. We know this as believers.

      1. Marin Heiskell,

        “the VERY people who went after Clinton were doing the same thing. Newt Gingrich was literally in the middle of having an affair with his now-fourth wife while blasting Clinton for having an affair.”

        I’m sorry, I don’t buy this. Gingrich was (in comparison to Clinton) a relatively minor figure and when his deeds were exposed, he did experience a fall from grace–he was replaced by Dennis Hastert (who was also severely morally compromised, but that was not known at the time).

        I was alive and more than old enough to understand the cultural discourse of the Lewinsky era. I never heard the Christian right attacked for being hypocritical in regards to Gingrich, at least not as the main line of attack–what I heard was that we were being a bunch of cruel, hateful, intolerant fuddyduddies who were trying to crucify a wonderful president for something that was not a big deal. This cultural trope existed for years and years after Clinton left office and “tarnished” us for a very long time.

        Let’s also remember that Bill Clinton’s greatest defenders, then AND now, are those of society’s voices that profess/professed to care the very most about women’s rights. The right never made that profession.

        You don’t have a Trump figure rising to power without the Clinton experience preceding it by nearly 20 years, and yeah, I do believe that this is 100% a case of the left making the bed that it then had to lie in.

        1. I am old enough to remember the Clinton era too. Newt was Speaker of the House. Not a random Republican. Literally 3rd in line to the Presidency and responsible for overseing the impeachment proceedings of a man caught having an affair while he was having his own. It’s unbelievable that is downplayed as a “minor role” – almost as unbelievable as the pride it took for Newt to stand up there and take part in that. And one thing Newt – and Republicans – always claim, is to be the party of “real” Christians.
          And isn’t it funny how when it was Trump caught with a hot mic saying awful things about women, it was Republicans who were claiming those of us offended by what he said were “unforgiving fuddyduddies who were trying to disqualify an otherwise good man for locker room talk.” And let’s recall that many running to defend Trump and his hot mic profess to be Christians who respect women.
          Let’s call these examples what they are: hypocrisy. And again, when the GOP claims to be the party of “real” Christians, and gets caught in hypocrisy – they can’t play victim. And deflecting, downplaying, dismissing or playing “whataboutism” when caught in hypocrisy makes the GOP look as if it just panders to Christians rather than representing them.

    3. Brian Patrick,

      We do know what kind of spiritual transformation Trump has made. Read his Tweets and see if they align more closely to the fruits of the Spirit or the Seven Deadly Sins. And be honest with yourself.

      The fact that we have accepted Trump’s lies and corruption (to further God’s glory) has only laid the groundwork for us to accept the violent militias, conspiracy people and white supremacists. Trump’s organizer for the Big Lie/Stop the Steal march in Washington promoted the event saying, “We’re willing to work with racists!” One of the main organizers and speakers was Alex Jones, whose wildly popular online show claims 9/11 was an inside job, Sandy Hook school shooting was faked, etc.

      So now, we on the Christian right are willing to work with anybody. Do you believe that it is necessary for us to partner with racists, angry militants and conspiracy theorists to bring about God’s will in America?

  15. Meredith Nienhuis

    Man looks at the outside, God looks at the heart. Is it not meaningless to argue whether Trump is or is not a Christian? Truly, it is not for Christians to judge those we view as sinners and unbelievers. Christians are to Pray for the lost and to proclaim Jesus’ death and resurrection. There “is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 ESV

    1. Meredith –
      Let’s be careful about playing the “church” game and hiding behind scriptures to avoid calling a sin a sin. I’ve been in church most of my life and know we are quite good at speaking Christianese and hiding behind the Bible.
      But if we want to do that, we can point to scriptures that tell us how our words and actions are a reflection of what’s in our hearts. What do Trump’s words and actions tell us about his heart? And if Trump is claiming to be a Christian, then scripture DOES say we are to judge him in accordance to our faith.
      We can also use those same scriptures as a reminder that only God knows the heart of Democrats and leftists too, right?

      1. Marin Heiskell,

        Paul, Jesus, etc. all said worse than Trump has of the evildoers and lying hypocrites of their day. I don’t believe his words showed us a corrupted heart. God raised him up to speak truth, to address the 900-pound elephant in the room that all the pretty, proper, moral leaders of the left and “respectable” right refused to.

        That’s a virtue, not a vice.

        1. Brian –

          I find lying, name-calling, bullying, and cursing to not be virtuous behavior at all. I believe the Bible when it says from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. I believe the Bible when it tells us to bridle our tongue (as it can speak life or death) and points out the benefits of a “soft answer” (and how it turns away wrath). There are plenty of other verses that tell us the importance of watching our mouths; I believe obeying them is virtous. I also believe calling athletes who peacefully protest “sons of b****es” flies in the face of scripture, should offend followers of Christ, and is not virtuous.
          So that’s where we disagree.

        2. There is nothing virtuous about the many, many times Donald Trump has attacked the way women looked or made sexual innuendos about them, or made suggestive comments about underage girls. There is nothing virtuous about how he turned on Mike Pence for being reasonable.

          1. Mark Gunderson, Marin Heiskell,

            How much of what you say is verifiably attributed to Trump with proof and how much is hearsay and rumor? And, even if some of it is true how do you know there’s been no repentance in the years since?

            I repeat, calling out the wicked, for being wicked, is not “unbiblical”. King David said, and prayed for, a whole lot worse upon his enemies than anything that’s ever come out of Trump’s mouth or tweets (NOT comparing Trump to David–as said earlier, I think Cyrus is the better analogy).

          2. Brian I attempted to post a link about two days ago but it must have violated the moderation guidelines.

            Google “donald trump statements about women.”

            Repentance? How many times have you heard him apologize for this stuff (I can think of exactly two) much less make amends? Did he stop being cruel at some point and start exhibiting love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?

          3. Mark Gunderson,

            Did you urge Biden to repent for his foul language at reporter Peter Doocy, or that citizen who asked him about gun laws on the campaign trail two years ago? He claims to be Christian too (a Catholic).

            No, I don’t agree with the way Trump went about some of his opinions, even if they were generally in the right. But, I am a lot more bothered by terrible actions than questionable (but accurate) words. What do you think Jesus would be more bothered by–some over-the-top speech that was meant well, or goals and deeds that directly contradict all of his values?

          4. If your takeaway is “questionable (but accurate)” I do not believe you actually read through any of the lists of things he has said, and to or about whom. The vast majority of instances weren’t related to any sort of political agenda.

            “What do you think Jesus would be more bothered by–some over-the-top speech that was meant well, or goals and deeds that directly contradict all of his values?”

            There is no need to speculate. “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

            You cannot have evil speech and good intent or good deeds. Many evangelical supporters of Trump have followed the predictable pattern: deny he said anything offensive (‘he didn’t say that’), then minimize the offense when it is undeniable (‘that’s not what he meant’), justify the offense when intent is overwhelmingly obvious (‘really, they deserve it’), and then ultimately emulate the offense (‘Let’s go Brandon’).

  16. Meredith Nienhuis

    If it is true that Trump still holds that he does not need repentance, then he remains condemned and under God’s judgement. John 3:18 And if one believes Trump is not a Christian then it is not ours to judge.
    By the way, according to Scripture every Christian is to be a member of a local church and willingly submit to the discipline of their church.
    Lastly, I do not believe that any Christian would, nor should, worship the Abortion Beast.

  17. Brian Patrick,

    Joe Biden DID repent for his remark to a Fox News reporter. He called him later that night to apologize. This is how Christians act and what a Christian president should do.

    Likewise, when a Southern white supremacist went into a church in South Carolina and murdered several people having a Bible study and prayer meeting, we had a Christian president who showed the grace of God. Those people murdered were Black. The president was Black. President Obama could have riled up the crowd at the funeral of the pastor with angry words of revenge and retribution. Instead, he asked for those black friends and family of the victims to show God’s grace. This is how we would expect a Christian president to act.

    (One wonders how Trump would have responded if a half dozen white evangelicals having a prayer meeting were murdered by an illegal alien.)

    Both men, Biden and Obama, have lived Christian lives for a long time. There was a time when Christians believed that it was important to have leaders who live by the Commandments of God.

    Today it seems that you and others believe that character no longer counts in a leader, that in order to bring about God’s will in America that we need to do anything necessary, including cheating in election, lying about and dehumanizing our opponents and accepting the help of angry militants and crazy conspiracy people.

    If we were really doing God’s will, would we have to lie, cheat and steal to accomplish it? Would it really be necessary to elect corrupt people to bring about God’s will?

    1. Meredith Nienhuis


      Living by the Commandments of God does not make one a Christian. Perhaps a good moral person it doth make but one is not saved by works lest anyone should boast. Faith is a gift of God, please read Ephesians 2:8-9
      One is saved only by believing in Jesus! and His death and resurrection – by His shed blood on the Cross are we saved!
      It saddens me that some “Christians” actually believe that abortion is not murder, and willingly break God’s commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” Example – Biden and Obama

      1. Meriden, what we are comparing here are politicians who profess Christ and who demonstrate the Fruits of the Spirit versus a politician who has never processed Christ and whose fruit sums up the Seven Deadly Sins.

        The Bible says that we will know His followers by their love, and that true Christians will show God’s fruit. It says nothing about a person’s political views on anortion the death penalty or immigration.

        1. I haven’t read through all of the comments (TL/DR) so I don’t know if someone already brought up something I find very fascinating about nationalism and affinity for one’s country of origin.

          I confess. I am quite fond of my country, and in some ways I believe God might be as well. Why wouldn’t He be since He is the one who causes kingdoms to rise and fall? Oh, I also believe He is very angry as well. Why wouldn’t He be?

          What I find so fascinating is His continued attachment to a country and a people. Why is God so attached to a small piece of land in the Middle East and the Jewish nation? Could it be that God is the original nationalist? Nahhhh.

  18. Meredith Nienhuis

    2 Corinthians 11:14-15 is warning to all. ” …even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So, it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. ……”
    We as Christians are foremost to warned that we do not worship those with feet of clay. Instead, we are to be slaves of Christ and to worship Him alone with all our heart and with all our strength.

    1. Meredith,

      You say that we are “not to worship those with feet of clay.”

      Why aren’t Christians bothered when Republicans depict Trump as the Messiah?

      Or when they post pictures on social media of Donald Trump being crucified on the cross?

      Or when they bring a Golden Calf statue of Donald Trump to their conventions so people can get a picture with it?

      Or when they put up a billboard with Trump’s picture alongside the prophecy about Jesus- “Unto Us A Child Is Born and the Government Will Rest On His Shoulders”?

      And yes, we should not let ourselves be deceived.

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