Identity Christians have been pushing their agenda, and embedding their framework, into the Republican Party, and party-sponsored legislation for longer than you may think.
The Southern Poverty Law Center websites provide information on Identity Christians, both sources claiming the movement has lost members since the 1980s.
Identity Christians & White Supremacy
Identity Christians are anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-Black Republican Party darlings who promote the racial purity of the Aryan race.
In the 1920s and 30s, E.P. Ingersoll and Howard Rand merged British Israeli antisemitism from Europe with American Protestantism. They propagated the belief that peoples from Germanic, “Aryan” nations are the true Israelis. This and other anti-Semitic ideology was easily translated in families and churches.
Because Christian Identity is not a specific church, its tenants can be fluid, and adaptable to the times. There are specific churches, however, tied to the Aryan Nation and other neo-Nazi groups both inside and outside of prisons.
“Lower races,” according to Identity Christians, are not in God’s favor. Only those who are “ruddy” (can turn red in the sun) are God’s servants; and only those from Nordic/Germanic Europe.
James Aho wrote “The penalties for race-mixing, homo-sexuality, and usury are death,” in 1990’s The politics of righteousness : Idaho Christian patriotism.
Examples of Christian Identity Ideology in Plain Sight
A simple Google Search of “Pure Blood Republicans” turns up a plethora of merch for people proudly Republican, American, and/or refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.
When Mary Miller, Illinois Republican and Trump supporter, called Roe v Wade’s overturning “a historic victory for white life,” it made perfect sense within the Christian Identity framework. While it is easy and more comfortable to see stories in newsfeeds and timelines and assume something akin to “delusions” or other ableist language, I have a different suggestion.
Consider that the most restrictive legislation in the country comes directly from people who:
1. Believe their whiteness makes them God’s chosen people
2. Consider “race-mixing” and queerness akin to beastiality
3. Do not trust science, medicine, or state-funded education
4. Believe that any escalation in public discord encourages their belief in living in the End Times
5. That they are correct, and everyone else is not
A terrific example of this comes straight from Ohio. Republican State Representative Sarah Fowler-Arthur made statements sympathizing with “German soldiers” during WWII. The concerning comments came during a live interview with Morgan Trau in defense of refusing “CRT” being taught in K-12 public schools.
Fowler-Arthur, herself a homeschool graduate from a rural Ohio county, has built her political career attempting to take SEL out of schools and criticizing sex education. She recently attempted a bill allowing people who without social work education to perform social worker duties in Ohio.
Like the Moms of Liberty today making the rounds on social media, this ideology isn’t new: it’s just different now because of tech.
Online spaces are rife with imagery and ideology just like that listed above; and with younger people. The last President gave voice to the self-identifying victims who voted for him. The cult mentality seen in MAGA and Right Wing circles makes sense in this framework. It existed long before he was President.
What if we are collectively watching a much more radicalized group than we’d initially understood? One with larger goals than religion and politics?
Is it possible that this is no accident, and actually a cohesive effort?
Are we ready to collectively have difficult discourse about how white Christianity is intertwined with white supremacy?
Can we afford not to?