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1. “In God We Trust” should never have been our national motto and was only able to become so because of an early Cold War consensus around promoting religion in the public square in order to combat “godless Communism.”


#FridayMotivation #EmptyThePews
2. While many promoters of this idea of a religious America meant for it to be to some degree inclusive--see popular Cold War notions like "Tri-Faith America" (Protestants, Catholics, Jews) and "Judeo-Christian"--it was always exclusive of unbelievers and many others.
3. In addition, the early Cold War moment, partly thanks to the uptick in apocalyptic thinking due to the advent of nuclear weapons, allowed radical right-wing Christians to come back into the mainstream of American life as scholars like Angela Lahr and Jonathan Herzog have shown
4. These are today's Christian nationalists, esp. white evangelicals (but also trad Catholics, Mormons, and other conservative Christians they're now in a coalition with). Then they were more widely known as fundamentalists; those now called evangelicals still have fundie beliefs
5. And when that early Cold War consensus around the sacralization of religion in American public life broke down around 1960, the rabidly anti-Communist Christian nationalists doubled down, founding Christian schools/segregation academies, etc. #EmptyThePews
6. By the 1970s radical right-wing Christians like Paul Weyrich were building institutions like the Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973, and the Council for National Policy, founded in 1981. They also came to increasingly use Christian schools and homeschooling to indoctrinate.
7. And if you listen to those of us who received this kind of education--read the #ExposeChristianSchools and #ExposeChristianHomeschooling tags--you will quickly learn that the creation of this parallel right-wing Christian space was never about a retreat. #EmptyThePews
8. Oh no, my dear sweet summer child. We were not raised on Rod Dreher's supposed "Benedict option" (which he's not taking himself as far as that goes, the asshole). We were raised to "take America back for Christ." And all of that is coming to a head now

9. We were raised to define Christianity in the narrow way it's now defined by prominent "religious freedom" proponents. We were raised to outright reject the notion of pluralism as heretical. The Christian Right's Trumpist power-grab is no surprise to us

10. And that same early Cold War fear that we need a "big idea" to command absolute loyalty, that the way the Commies had Marxism we would need something equally compelling, so let's make it God? Or Jesus? It's alive and well today among powerful fundies.

11. So no, Billy Graham was not "apolitical" in his pursuit of public policy driven by Christianity. He was anti-pluralist. And Franklin, whom everyone loves to revile as a "fake Christian," did not fall far from the tree.

#FridayThoughts #EmptyThePews
12. Today's white evangelicals grabbing power under Trump *is* Billy Graham's legacy. Probably his most significant legacy. And that's some seriously poisoned fruit, folks, but such is the fruit of seeking to Christianize the public square:


13. I want to add that deriding this theocratic Christian nationalism as "fake Christianity" is counterproductive. It may make you feel good about yourself, but it's bad for democracy. Don't do it.


#FridayThoughts #EmptyThePews #Resist
14. To those who lament the "damage" evangelicals are doing to themselves--the seeds were there a long time ago. I know you want your fellow evangelicals to be better, @Peter_Wehner. But it's time to face why they are not. And to listen to the leavers.

@Peter_Wehner 15. Christian fascists cannot be shamed into behaving better. We can only defeat them politically. To do so, we need more of the American public to understand the gravity of the threat our American theocrats represent to democracy and human rights.

#EmptyThePews #Resist
@Peter_Wehner 16. One way you can help get the word out is to amplify the voices of former evangelicals (and ex-LDS and ex-Catholics) and researchers who know right-wing Christianity well. Promote our work, and help fund our initiatives if you can. We've been a voice crying in the wilderness.
@Peter_Wehner 17. If you appreciate the content I produce, I'd very much appreciate you throwing a few dollars a month or more toward my @Patreon, if you can afford it. The offer I made here stands:

I'll make my patronage info public again when I hit 325 patrons.
@Peter_Wehner @Patreon 18. Here's the direct link:


Finally, a non-comprehensive #FF shout-out to ex-evangelicals and researchers doing important work: @ToriGlass @profagagne @brucewilson @cindy_w_brandt @brchastain @gloriousbeth @julieingersoll @ReadMoreScience @RSokamoto
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