A past in their image

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A past in their image Christian Nationalist reconstruction and use of American history
Koster, Alexander V., 1973- ( Dissertant )
Owen, Dennis E. ( Thesis advisor )
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State University System of Florida
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Subjects / Keywords:
Cold wars ( jstor )
Conservatism ( jstor )
Cultural values ( jstor )
Heroes ( jstor )
Morality ( jstor )
Nationalism ( jstor )
Religion ( jstor )
Slavery ( jstor )
United States history ( jstor )
War ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Religion -- UF ( lcsh )
Religion thesis, M.A ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


The purpose of this thesis is to summarize and discuss the reconstruction of American history that has been carried out by an interdenominational group of Conservative Christians collectively referred to as Christian Nationalists. Christian Nationalists believe that the United States is God's new chosen nation. As such, it is bound by a divine covenant to God's rules and scriptures. According to Christian Nationalists prevalent social problems like divorce, illegitimacy, crime, prevalent homosexuality and abortion, all result from Americans ignoring the terms of the religious covenant. To prove their point about the cause of social ills, Christian Nationalists turn to elaborate accounts of the past of the United States from just before the Colonial era, to modern times. The themes of these accounts are straightforward: Prominent early Americans were devout God-fearing people. Their adherence to Christian Principles, evident in accounts of their life, is the cause of their great success. The nation as a whole prospered and rose to world power because of the faith of Christian Americans. The nation today is declining because we are not living by the same principles as our forefathers. According to Christian Nationalists, if we Americans don't change our ways, we are doomed to suffer punishment at God's hands. The root of the Christian Nationalists crusade to return the nation to past values is attributed to a period of social disruption. This social disruption is a result of the industrialized world changing from a manufacturing base economy to one based on information exchange. Religious and social conservatives, feeling dislocated by normlessness in society, legitimate their calls for social reformation through this religious-historical reconstruction. ( , )
KEYWORDS: Christian Nationalism, evangelical, fundamentalist, religion and politics, historical reconstruction, Pat Robertson
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 1999.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 95-98).
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Statement of Responsibility:
by Alexander V. Koster.

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A complete list of all of the people I should thank for

helping me would be as long as this thesis. I try to learn

a little something from everyone I meet and then try to

apply each lesson from that day on. A few of the members of

the University of Florida faculty whom I would like to thank

for teaching me lessons that guided me through this

monumental thesis-writing project are Dr. Kenneth Wald,

for teaching me how important and interesting religion is;

Dr. Richard Hiers and Dr. Samuel Hill, for teaching me that

upholding tolerance and understanding does not mean you have

to surrender a firm belief in what is right and wrong; Dr.

Miriam Peskowitz, for teaching me to question where the

knowledge I've acquired throughout my education came from;

and Dr. David Hackett, and Dr. Vashudra Narayanan for

teaching me worlds about people and beliefs I never knew


I would like to give special thanks to Dr. Anna

Peterson and Dr. Dennis Owen for many, many things. They

taught me how to look for the reasons behind people's

beliefs, they taught me that you can disagree, and still

value the merits of a point, and most importantly they

taught me that friendship and teaching go hand in hand.

Finally, I would like to thank my family. They pushed

and pushed and pushed me to complete this thesis until I

finally gave in and went to work. All I can ever say to my

wife on this subject is "thank you." Without her love,

patience, help and understanding throughout this whole

process I would have given up long ago.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......................................... ii

ABSTRACT ................................................ vi

1. INTRODUCTION ...................................... 1

Imagery on the Campaign Trail ................ 1
Why Christian Nationalism ................... 3

2. THE STATE OF THE NATION ........................... 8

The Ills that Bind Us ........................ 8
A History of Conspiracies ................... 10
The Twin Secular Powers: Government and
Media ..................................... .. 17
Conclusion .................................. .. 20


History the Teacher, the Example ............. 22
Christopher Columbus as a Christian Hero .... 24
Colonial America and the Civic Ideal ......... 26
The "Christian" Revolution of 1776
and the Constitution ..................... 31
George Washington: The Model Citizen ........ 36
The Unmentionable Past I: Slavery and the
Civil War ................................. .. 38
The Unmentionable Past II: The Treatment of
Native-Americans ........................... 42
The Twentieth Century--Growth, Prosperity
and Decay ................................. .. 45
The Great Wars of the First Fifty Years ..... 47
The Cold War and Communism .................. 50
Immorality, Anarchy and Permissiveness in
the Late Twentieth Century ................. 54
The Growing Specter of Secular Government ... 56
The United Nations and the Threat of
Globalism ................................. .. 58
Conclusion .................................. .. 61


The Making of a History of Quotes ............ 63
Appropriating the Righteous Past ............. 70
Explaining the Historical Process ............ 72

5. A PROCESS OF WORLD BUILDING .................... 77

Adjusting to Normlessness ................... 77
The Need for the Past ........................ 80
Fighting Globalism and Multiculturalism ..... 83
Fighting Feminism and Sexual Permissiveness. 87
Total Immersion in the Christian Nationalist
World ..................................... .. 89
Conclusion .................................. .. 93

REFERENCES ............................................ 95

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................................... .. 99

Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts



Alexander V. Koster

August, 1999

Chairman: Dr. Dennis E. Owen
Major Department: Religion

The purpose of this thesis is to summarize and discuss

the reconstruction of American history that has been carried

out by an interdenominational group of Conservative

Christians collectively referred to as Christian


Christian Nationalists believe that the United States

is God's new chosen nation. As such, it is bound by a

divine covenant to God's rules and scriptures. According to

Christian Nationalists prevalent social problems like

divorce, illegitimacy, crime, prevalent homosexuality and

abortion, all result from Americans ignoring the terms of

the religious covenant.

To prove their point about the cause of social ills,

Christian Nationalists turn to elaborate accounts of the

past of the United States from just before the Colonial era,

to modern times. The themes of these accounts are

straightforward: Prominent early Americans were devout God-

fearing people. Their adherence to Christian Principles,

evident in accounts of their life, is the cause of their

great success. The nation as a whole prospered and rose to

world power because of the faith of Christian Americans.

The nation today is declining because we are not living by

the same principles as our forefathers. According to

Christian Nationalists, if we Americans don't change our

ways, we are doomed to suffer punishment at God's hands.

The root of the Christian Nationalists crusade to

return the nation to past values is attributed to a period

of social disruption. This social disruption is a result of

the industrialized world changing from a manufacturing base

economy to one based on information exchange. Religious and

social conservatives, feeling dislocated by normlessness in

society, legitimate their calls for social reformation

through this religious-historical reconstruction.



Imagery on the Campaign Trail

In a campaign speech for the 1996 Republican party

nomination, candidate Alan Keyes passionately discussed the

destructive effects of many characteristics of modern

society.' He then called for an end to dependence on

government, for a return of prayer and religious instruction

in public schools, and for the rejection of a culture of

overt and obsessive materialism. In this speech, Alan Keyes

argued that because forces of hedonistic individualism and

governmental intervention were not part of God's plan for

the American nation during its creation two centuries ago,

their prominent role in modern society could only contribute

to its downfall. At the climax of his speech, the candidate

confidently asserted that God would not let transgressions

go unpunished. If the nation did not change its ways and

return to the righteous Christian roots that

IThis speech was given to the Conservative Political Action Committee
meeting, on the morning 2/24/96. It was televised on the C-Span network on
that same day at around 4:30pm.

brought it to greatness, those assembled at the campaign

gathering would live to see the fall of the United States.

Although the speech paraphrased above is by no means

unique in its fervor or its apocalyptic warning, it presents

a clear example of how calls for change in American society

are replete with references to a historical American

"essence" or "true meaning" that has been abandoned at great

peril to the nation. From proponents of major revolutionary

changes in the social order to politicians calling for minor

policy adjustments, public figures from all ends of the

social and political spectrums feel compelled to tie their

positions to reified images of foundational or essential

principles of "Americaness." Christian Nationalist

activists seek to legitimate their causes in the eyes of the

public by connecting to America's past. Indeed, it often

appears that in the public arena answering the question:

"Is this policy good for America?" is only slightly more

important than answering the question: "Is this policy

American in character?"

What does separate Alan Keyes' speech from more secular

and traditional public calls for change in the United States

is that it is part of a growing social-religious movement

that has gone beyond simply using pseudo-historical evidence

as legitimization tools. Increasingly ideas of Americanness

and essential American values are being overtly and

inextricably connected to religious concepts of Christian

destiny, chosenness, and divine will. Cries accusing policy

makers of breaking from American heritage and tradition are

increasingly followed by claims about deviant authorities

breaking away from God. It has become clear that the goal

of many politically active Evangelical Christians such as

Alan Keyes is to convince the rest of the population that

Christ, Satan, and sin are as involved in American social

policy decisions as the President and Congress. To the

promoters of this Christian Nationalist agenda, the nation's

politics cannot be separated from God, or church from state,

or future from past history and destiny.2

Why Christian Nationalism?

The term Christian Nationalism describes those mostly

Evangelical and conservative Pentecostal Christians who

believe that the fate of United States as a secular

political entity is inextricably intertwined with the

religious and moral practices of its citizenry.3 The

2 I am choosing to use the term Christian Nationalism because it correctly
addresses the defining characteristics of the movement. To attribute the
political activism of those who tie America's existence to divine will and
destiny to just Evangelical Christians, or Conservative Christians, or to
the Right-wing of American politics would simply be inaccurate. Many
"conservative Christians" such as the Jehovah's Witness, find the practice
of attributing divine purpose to a secular institution such as the United
States to be blasphemous.
3 It is important to note that there are some conservative Catholics who could
also be described as Christian nationalists. Pat Buchanan and Phillys
Schalfly for example. However, Catholic conservatives are less likely to
feel a connection to early colonial history because of its exclusively
Protestant focus.

dependence of the nation's economy, foreign affairs and

natural resources and production on individual Americans'

beliefs and practices stems from the status of the United

States as the Biblical God's chosen nation. As a chosen

nation the United States is bound to God by a sacred

covenant which, if upheld, assures the nation of

providentially enhanced status in the world, success in

domestic and foreign affairs, and wealth and well-being for

the population.

Although it is not uncommon for patriots of all sorts

to extol the virtues and superiority of their nation,

Christian Nationalists in particular are ardent promoters of

ideas of American preeminence in the world. An example of

this worldview can be seen in the textbook Teaching and

Learning America's Christian History, where the first text

page prominently displays this 1845 quote by Emma Willard:

The Government of the United States is acknowledged by
the wise and good of other nations, to be the most
free, impartial, and righteous government of the world;
but all agree, that for such a government to be
sustained many years, the principles of truth and
righteousness, taught in the Holy Scriptures, must be
practiced. The rulers must govern in the fear of God,
and the people obey the laws (Slater, p. ix 1965).

4 The source of this covenantal model in colonial American history will be
addressed later.

What is crucial to note is that this righteousness is

righteousness because of the adherence to God and scripture.

Wisdom and goodness exist only in conjunction with fear of

God. This statement by Willard all but spells out America's

raison d'etre: To serve God according to a set plan for the

nation. To Christian Nationalists, the truths so clearly

described by Willard a century and a half ago will remain as

true tomorrow as they were yesterday. Thus all of American

history, as they understand it, is a lesson in the role of

God in American life. George Marsden (1984) elaborates on

this point:

But another view of history, as we have already seen
from our colonial architectural examples, has been an
even more powerful force throughout the experience of
most of white evangelicalism in America. In this view,
America is God's chosen nation--the covenanted people
as the Puritans suggested. This view is drawn from the
Old Testament and is directed towards culture/building
rather than culture/avoiding. America, says this
covenantal view, has been blessed with prosperity
because she has been an essentially Christian nation
(p. 96).

Despite their rising prominence and visibility today,
Christian Nationalist public figures have been around in
American soil since the first separatist colonies were
formed in New England in the seventeenth century. In a
speech in 1630, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay
colony stated what is probably the most significant tenet of
Christian Nationalist ideology when he spoke the famous

Wee shall find that the God of Israell is among us. .
when hee shall make us prayse and glory that men shall
say of succeeding plantations: the lord make it like
that of New England: for wee must Consider that we
shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people
are uppon us (Cherry, 1971, p. vii).

Throughout the centuries since Winthrop's statement was

made, it has remained enormously influential in American

culture. Conrad Cherry (1997) describes Winthrop's ideas of

chosenness and destiny as: ". .both a stimulus of

creative American energy and a source of American self-

righteousness" (p. viii). He goes on to say that Winthrop's

words became nothing less than: ". .the essence of

America's motivating mythology" (Cherry, 1971, p. vii).

Given the enormous impact that Winthrop's view of America

has had on American culture it is important to note that to

Christian Nationalists the words of the early Massachusetts

Bay governor mean even more. Beyond being a "stimulus of

creative American energy", the meaning of Winthrop's words

are seen as holding the truth behind all American successes.

Beyond just being "the source of American self

righteousness", the ideas contained in Winthrop's words are

considered proof of American superiority, acquired through

pre-eminence in God's eyes. About motivation in American

mythology, however, there can be no doubt. It is clear that

among Christian Nationalists the implications of being the

chosen people of God are taken quite seriously. The

resurgent Christian Nationalist activism of the 1980s and


1990s offers plenty of proof that when times of social and

moral transformation arise, believers in America's destiny

will rise up to insure that their vision of reality is at

the forefront of public debate.


The Ills that Bind Us

If, as Willard and her Christian Nationalist

descendants argue, the well-being of historical America was

tied to adherence to given Christian and Biblical

principles, then the decadence and decline of modern America

can be attributed to a national abandonment of those

principles. Christian Nationalists perceive both

themselves and the great nation built by their spiritual

ancestors to be threatened. In their eyes, the United

States is evolving into a nation where a growing secularist

and humanist movement is increasingly undermining the moral

ties that have sustained it since the first Pilgrims landed

in the Northeast some three and a half centuries ago:

". .there is absolutely no way that (American)government

can operate successfully unless led by Godly men and women

5 There are huge assumptions about the "well-being" of historical America
being made left and right here. Who enjoyed prosperity? Why? Who didn't?
Why? Who is being left out of the story of America and its greatness? All
of these issues pose serious problems to the cosmology of Christian
Nationalists. However, for the time being they shall be set aside for the
sake of conveying the popular sentiment of the movement: A rosy past, and
a "fallen" present.

operating under the laws of God and Jacob" (Robertson, 1991,

p. 227). Increases in crime, illegitimacy, homosexuality,

corruption, violence, and economic strife are all blamed on

the rise of secularization and humanism (Hunter, 1983a;

Noll, 1989). Opponents of many of the tolerant sexual, and

other social practices of non-conservative Americans argue

that these practices have led to many social ills. These

social practices have had their effect either directly by

somehow eroding the national economic base, or indirectly by

fostering an atmosphere of moral devaluation where life and

property ultimately have little inherent or transcendent


The Social Traditionalism of the New Right is generally
concerned with what is seen as the breakdown of the
family, community, religion and traditional morality in
American life. 6 Abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment,
busing, Affirmative Action, sexual permissiveness,
drugs, prohibitions on school prayer, the secular
curriculum in public schools, and many similar things
are opposed on the grounds that they contribute to the
process of social breakdown and moral decay. The
spread of secular, materialist, and humanist values
("secular humanism") that deny the existence of God and
the importance of nonmaterial goals is also resisted
(Himmelstein, 1983. P. 16).

The different kinds of causal relationships that led

from secularization and humanism to different social ills

are only the beginning of the problems that threaten the

survival of the United States. The fact that these

6 "New Right" is one of the names that has been assigned to the conservative
religious movement that includes Christian nationalists.

allegedly anti-religious forces exist threatens the nation

through a breach of the covenant with God. An America that

is not continuing on the pious path that preceded the 1960s

is no longer keeping its half of the bargain with God and is

thus threatened by its impiety. Indeed, there are many

Christian Nationalists that would attribute the apparent

increases in violent weather and natural disasters to a God

who is displeased with the impious cultural decisions made

by the American public.8 Such declarations are followed by

assertions that the near future only holds more of the same

disasters should the government or general population not

change its ways.

A History of Conspiracies

In order to explain the root causes of the alleged

moral downfall of the United States, many Christian

Nationalists turn to a variety of often far reaching

conspiracy theories.9 These conspiracy theories are widely

publicized as followers try to convince others of the very

real existence of deliberate and organized attempts to

7 The reason why the sixties is singled out will be explained later when the
Christian nationalist account of history is summarized.
8 Pat Robertson, in his cable television programs such as CBN and the 700 Club
is an avid proponent of this view. Where environmentalists might attribute
severe weather to climactic changes brought on by industrialization, many
Christian nationalists would tend to place the source of the cataclysms on
an angry God.
9 By conspiracy theory I mean the belief in concerted, organized, deliberate
campaigns to achieve a certain end without notice while such a campaign is

undermine Christian moral foundations of the United States.

Aside from the perception of organized threat against church

and state, most conspiracy theorists share in a belief about

the existence of a deliberate movement to control and

distort historical information. Christian Nationalists

argue that one of the most significant tactics employed by

those who seek to break America's connection to God, is to

alter the public understanding of our national history. By

eliminating all mention of the providential forces at work

in America's past, anti-religious/anti-American forces seek

to reduce the influence that Christianity has on the

present. This, in turn, leads to more acceptance of

unchristian practices such as illicit sexual activity,

abortion, increased government regulation and intrusion

which then undermine the moral and political stability and

security of the nation.

Despite the fact that each of these conspiracy

theories may assign ultimate blame for the national

abandonment of Christian values on a different anti-

religious force, they all share in the assertion that such a

plot is the work of some kind of external intrusion into the

most truly American facets of our society. 0 Catherine

Millard, for example, asserts that there is clear evidence

10 Here "external" means everything from foreign intrusion to satanic
intrusion. Whichever conspiratorial force a given theory points to, it is
one that was at some point absent in mainstream culture.

that an international conspiracy is behind assaults on

American Christian culture:

It is my firm belief, based on seven years of in-depth
research and study in formulating two books on the
crucial subject of America's Christian heritage,
symbols, history, and evidence, and their rapid
elimination from the very records of our United States
history, that Psychopolitics lies behind this sinister
plot to disarm this nation of her greatest strength--
faith in God, Christ, and the Bible, and to
subsequently enslave the American people to a ruthless
foreign rule (Millard, 1991, p. 402).

Pat Robertson, probably the most prominent Christian

Nationalist, agrees with Milliard's assertions that the

Christian history of the United States is being deliberately

altered by organized forces:

It has been like a machine. For thirty years the minds
of our children have been vacuumed and sanitized,
leaving them opened to anyone capable of exploiting
their trained biases, their materialistic desires, and
their programmed gullibility. The model is not
universally true--particularly for children who have
been taught a value system at home--but you don't have
to look far to see just how pervasive this model has
become (Robertson, 1991, p. 218).

According to Robertson, the campaign of revisionism and

historical obliteration is geared towards undermining young

people's loyalty to the cultural roots of the United States:

Our young people are being taught that the American
way, the Christian lifestyle, the standard of living of
America, along with the glorious chapters of our
history are tainted with oppression and racism and
sexism, and we are no better or no more capable than
anybody else. Just read the propaganda against
Columbus and the white settlers as we prepare for the
five hundredth anniversary of his epic voyage of
discovery (Robertson, 1991, p. 218).

The final step in this whole conspiratorial process,

Robertson argues, will be to reshape the mentality of the

future generations of Americans so as to make them more easy

to manipulate and brainwash:

This is, of course, conditioning for the new world. You
have got a blank slate, young people with no concept of
the history of America, no concept of the struggle for
freedom or what the relative values are of our ways
versus other ways. They are ready pawns for a value-
neutral way of thinking (Robertson, 1991, p. 218).

Although Robertson and Millard agree about the

conspiracy of history, Robertson assigns far more sinister

roots and even more subterfuge to the conspirators. For

Robertson it is not simply a set of Anti-American foreign

nations that are behind the assaults on Christian America,

but rather a group of ambitious globalists who are guided at

all levels by Satan himself. Robertson describes at length

how these ambitious, totalitarian, anti-Christians would

come to power after the downfall of moral America:

Such a world government can come together only after
the Christian United States is out of the way. After
all, the rest of the world can federate any time it
wants to, but a vital, economically strong, Christian
United States would have at its disposal the spiritual
and material force to prohibit a Satanic dictator from
winning his battle (Robertson, 1991, p. 256).

Robertson then continues to explain why a vibrant, righteous

America would undermine the goals of the dark conspirators:

With America still free and at large, Satan's schemes
will at best be only partially successful. From these
shores could come the television, radio, and printed
matter to counter an otherwise all out news blackout.
An independent America could point out Satan's lies.
If America is free people everywhere can hope for
freedom. And if America goes down, all hope is lost
for the rest of the world (Robertson, 1991, 256).

The idea of chosenness or national prominence in the

eyes of God is central to the way which Catherine Millard

and Pat Robertson approach the issue of American moral

decline. It is clear from both of their arguments that they

believe that other nations are aware of, and jealous of

America's relationship to God. Naturally, these foreign

powers are also jealous of the success that such a

relationship has brought the United States. It follows,

then, for Christian Nationalists to believe that foreign

forces would seek to dominate or destroy that which they

envy. Pat Robertson's overt suspicion and accusations about

internationalists, global organizations, and foreign

influences are part of a Christian Nationalist ideology that

is totally committed to arguing that America is a nation

above all nations whose only defense against those who would

see her fail is to maintain a close relationship with the

deity. The abandonment of a historical vision which

reminded Americans of their connection to God only serves to

fray the ties that guarantee us deliverance from our


Although the far reaching theories and urgent warnings

of conservative Christian leaders such as Millard and

Robertson focus on the tumult and upheaval of recent

decades, it would be inaccurate to assume that Christian

Nationalists have only recently begun to believe in national

enemies who have, among other things, tried to alter the

teaching and content of American history. The fairly recent

conspiracies of history that Robertson and Millard

articulate are only the newest set of alarms that have

sounded warnings over the direction of American historical

education. In the paranoid times of the McCarthy hearings,

theories about communist attacks on American culture,

abounded. These conspiracy theories continued through the

Cold War, intensifying during the 1960s.

In the introduction to her 1966 teaching guide:

Teaching and Learning America's Christian History, Rosalie

J. Slater assigned the blame for the poor condition of the

nation she lived in to the suppression of America's

Christian heritage by secular education forces over a

century earlier:

For over one hundred years Americans have not known or
learned of America's Christian History. Five
generations of Americans have produced a national
ignorance concerning the providential founding of this
nation and of God's hand in preserving, defending, and
leading the colonists to victory in 1775-81 --the seven
long years of the American Christian Revolution. Today
we have no proud heroes--no models of character, or
leadership, to inspire our youth. We have no identity
for courage, conscience, or compassion, to cherish as
part of the proud fabric which a people weaves into a
character and tradition. The reason is not that we do
not posses such a treasury of greatness and wisdom.
The reason is that we have allowed our treasury to be
robbed and pillaged of its gold--the gold of Christian
character. In doing so we have lost our vision of the
destiny and purpose of God's America.
One hundred years ago we took education out of the
Christian home where it had raised up men and women who
were God-fearing, Christ-honoring, Bible-loving people.
People who were willing to count the cost of Christian
liberty. Yielding to the arguments of secularism in
the 1830s, 40s, 50s, we permitted our churches to
relinquish their leadership of Christian education. In
making this change into the government sponsored
schools we closed our bible as the educational and
political textbook, and we shifted our level of
education from the building of individual Christian
character to the building of a group character,
comfortable to society. As we shifted from a God-
centered republic to a man-centered democracy--we began
to flounder (Slater, 1965, p. xiii).

Although Slater was focusing on a moral decline in America

that dated back to a time long before the decades that

Millard and Robertson address, she joined them in assigning

blame to secularizing forces who removed attention from

God's works. It is clear from the above quote that she

believed that the growing influence of government on society

played a key part in the loss of Christian character and

values. To her, it was a worldly, humanistic, government

that had acted deliberately and meticulously to remove

mention of God when it had assumed the duties of public


The Twin Secular Powers: Government and Media

Most Christian nationalist authors such as Slater

express a deep suspicion of the non-Christian secular

government in their writings. This suspicion is based in

the fear that the government, as a worldly, human-based

institution, will act as a secularizing force on the rest of

society. The history of this suspicion of government is a

long and complex one. As far back as the post Civil-War

Reconstruction era, Southern Evangelicals felt that the

federal government was directly assaulting their religion

based Christian civilization by imposing intrusive

reparation and racial policies on the former confederate


The twentieth century saw the growth of even more

causes for suspicion of government among Christian

Nationalists. The implementation of New Deal policies,

Southern desegregation and the expansion of suffrage all

went against cultural traditions that had in different ways

been legitimate by religion." Even with all of the causes

that preceded it, however, it was the Cold War that provided

the greatest impetus for an organized effort to oppose the

growth of government involvement in American society. As a

result of the Soviet central power's ongoing campaign of

repression against religious institutions in the Eastern

Block, many Christians in the United States felt that it was

up to them to remain vigilant to insure that the same events

not take place here. After the onset of Cold War, every

significant policy decision at the Federal level involving

religion was scrutinized to determine whether the United

States was beginning to be influenced by Soviet attempts to

undermine America's superior cultural values. Federal

policies and court decisions that were perceived by

Christian Nationalists as being anti-religious were

pronounced by activists as being signs of communist

infiltration. When the United States Supreme Court decided

in the 1962 case Engel v. Vitale that it was

unconstitutional for the State of New York to compose and

lead students in prayer at public schools, the backlash was

immediate. Christian Nationalists assaulted the decision

from airwaves and pulpits as being part of a communist-

atheist conspiracy against the moral integrity of the United

1 In the case of segregation and racism, religious legitimization came from
distinct interpretations of Old Testament passages that were said to explain
the "marking" of blacks as a fallen people. The struggle against the

States (Boston, 1993, p. 104). Other prominent court cases

followed in the footsteps of the Engle decision, including

Murray v. Curlett and Abington Township School District v.

Shempp, where the courts found that the respective school

districts were requiring students to comply with

unconstitutional mandated religious practices.

The non Christian mass media is closely linked to the

government on the list of institutions that cannot be

trusted. For Christian Nationalists there is no doubt that

there is extreme bias in both the printed and televised news

services (Hunter, 1983a, p. 111). The mass media is accused

of being a pawn of the secularist-humanist movement that

continuously portrays conservative Christians as radical

extremists.12 Far from being an institution that maintains

vigilance over the government, the media is seen as a pawn

of it. Pat Robertson alleges that the "liberal media" works

for the government, attempting to discredit and undermine

Christian candidates who are seeking to change policy:

empowerment of women was, and continues to be, based in biblical readings
assigning leadership and power to men over women.
12 Later I will explain why this type of accusation is of so much concern to
Christian nationalists. The need to appear as traditionalist, or
conservative rather than radical is essential to many conservative religious

The liberal press has tried repeatedly to take away
from Christian people in America the right to run for
office, to support candidates, to protest government
abuses, or to protect themselves in court. Whatever
ultimate victory Christian candidates may win is
usually nullified by the torrent of unwarranted
vituperation they have to experience in the press. With
very few exceptions in America, it is absolutely
impossible for an evangelical Christian to receive a
fair story in the liberal press when he or she is
involved in any unfavorable encounter with a government
agency at any level (Robertson, 1991, p.243).

In light of the negativity and suspicion that surrounds

Christian Nationalists' dealings with government, it is not

surprising that many of the legal and political decisions

that go in their favor are seen as victories against the

system rather than within it. To Robertson and his

supporters, the national institutions of the media and the

government have ceased to be arenas of debate and exchange,

and have instead been transformed into the strongholds of

globalist, humanist ideological opponents bent on keeping

the voices of informed Americans quiet.


For the religious conservatives who make up the Christian

Nationalist movement, the moral integrity of the nation is

threatened from all sides. As they see it, while the mass

media works at discrediting their cause as the cause of

extremist religious fanatics, the government is engaged in a

campaign of social deconstruction, bent on removing the

remaining pillars of a moral nation. As the federal

government undermines traditions that stemmed from a close-

knit Christian American society of the past, secular-

humanist forces within public education are engaged in a

campaign of revisionism. The goal of this process of

rewriting the past is to remove all mention of God from

American history. The lessons of the past are changed from

being lessons about America's providential status in the

world to lessons about amoral human achievement and national

sins.13 To Christian Nationalists American history is

crucial. The Christian history of the United States

contains many Biblical guidelines that can help the nation

fix its social, economic and individual moral problems. To

deny that history is to deny the nation a chance to redeem

itself in the eyes of God. Thus to deny that history is to

go against God himself. And that, Christian Nationalists

argue, is the most threatening possibility of all; and one

that will not go unpunished by the almighty.

13 One of the big complaints of many conservatives, (not just Christians) is
that current history education guidelines place far too much emphasis on
national wrongdoing such as slavery and imperialism, and far too little on
events geared towards building national pride. This is seen by many
conspiracy theorists as an attempt by outsiders to undermine national unity
and erode public confidence in American superiority.



History the Teacher, the Example

As mentioned in Chapter 1, to Christian Nationalists

the events of America's past not only inform the people of

the present about dead and martyred heroes and long settled

wars, but also provide a set of guidelines that the nation

must always adhere to. According to these believers, the

United States has no way of maintaining its power in the

world if it allows the historical record of its relationship

to God to be ignored or worse yet, deliberately obliterated

by outsiders or apostates. To many, the threat of national

decline is all too real, as the transformation of the

national historical record is already well underway. In the

introduction to The Rewriting Of America's History,

Catherine Millard explains how she believes the relationship

between God and the United States is being systematically

covered up:

It's happening through the rewriting and/or
reinterpretation of American historical records: in our
national parks, monuments, memorials, landmarks,
shrines and churches. In some cases changes are
subtle, and in others, blatant. It is done through
removal of key historical pieces that do not support
the current ungodly bias (Millard, 1991, p. iii).

The accusation that modern history is tainted with an

"ungodly bias" comes from all corners of the Christian

Nationalist movement. While the accuracy of the historical

claims made by Christian Nationalists can certainly be

challenged, there can be no doubt that in the historical

accounts of American history given by these devotees, God

and religion play a much more central role than is the case

in more secular or mainstream versions of historical

events.14 Indeed, the prominent figures and events of

America's past are almost exclusively described by Christian

Nationalists in terms of their relationships to Christian

faith or to some understanding of Biblical precedent and

tradition. Statements about personal piety and religiosity

made by these historical figures are transformed into the

central themes of entire eras of American history. In turn

those themes become lessons about propriety, behavior and

success for future generations. Notable figures of the

American past also play into this historical message. In

many ways the Christian Nationalist heroes of American

History seem to be almost the same person, blessed by God

yet humble; ambitious yet driven by a higher purpose.

According to the Christian nationalist reading, from the

earliest days of exploration to the twentieth century, these

heroes always attributed success to their personal

14 By "secular or mainstream accounts" I mean history as it is taught in
public schools, or through popular images from major media sources.

relationship to a God that reigned supreme in every aspect

of life. Christian Nationalists are quick to point to such

historical "proof" of America's Christian origins.

Christopher Columbus as a Christian Hero

Although Christian Nationalist academics are by no

means ignorant of the vast history that preceded the

European arrival to the Americas, they do not consider it

part of their cultural ancestry and thus choose to leave it

out of their accounts of the events that shaped the destiny

of the United States.15 To many of these religious

conservatives, the beginning of God's relationship with this

part of the world began with the arrival of the first

Christians in 1492.16 Christian Nationalists believe that

Christopher Columbus, the most prominent of these early

explorers, should be revered as a hero and a devoted

follower of Christ. In her book Great American Statesmen and

Heroes, Catherine Millard emphasizes this point when she

argues that several lengthy passages written by Columbus

15 It is quite possible that the omission of these millennia of pre-Colonial
history is motivated by a desire to downplay the historical significance of
pre-Colonial America to modern audiences.
16 Not all Protestants are willing to give any significance to religion in the
accomplishments of Catholics such as Columbus and his fellow explorers. To
many, Catholicism was one of the corrupt and spiritually devoid institutions
that later characterized the decadent "Old World" that early Colonists
sought to escape. Francis Shaeffer's The Christian Manifesto, provides a
good example of this. Shaeffer blames Roman Catholics for the introduction
of Secular Humanism to the United States. However, many of the more
prominent Christian Nationalists today do consider conservative Roman
Catholics allies in the struggle to bring about a restoration of traditional
social norms, and have thus integrated figures of that religion into the
Christian-American myth.

reveal the navigator to have been: ". .a humble man who

knew God, and whose purpose in life was to serve Him"

(Millard, 1995, p. 6). According to Millard, the clear

religious devotion that Christopher Columbus displayed in

his writing provides proof that the navigator set to sail

the globe with missionary and not selfish financial motives

in mind:

Thus we see that Columbus' primary allegiance was to
God and not Gold, as some modern day revisionist
historians have indicated. His vision and burden
remained the same--'to bring the Gospel to unknown
coastlands' (Millard, 1995, p. 7).

Millard argues that faith was so important to the explorer

that he even expressed it in his signature: "His writings

show a strong thread of Christianity. Even his signature is

encased in a triangular pattern, with the beautiful names of

the Almighty God" (Millard, 1991, p. 2). To Millard, and

other Christian Nationalists, the evidence of Christopher

Columbus' religious devotion contrasts irreconcilably with

the historical record kept by secular institutions. The

navigator was an example of faith and bravery for all to

admire, not the first in a line of greedy exploiters who

massacred the innocent natives.

Pat Robertson echoes Milliard's claims that secularist

forces have distorted the record of Christopher Columbus'

accomplishments. He argues that attacks on the character

and motives of the early explorers are part of a propaganda

campaign to discredit the European-Christian heritage of the

United States. Robertson (1991) claims that the reluctance

of many public figures and educators to embrace the 500th

anniversary of the arrival of Columbus is proof of such a

campaign: "Just read the propaganda against Columbus and

the white settlers as we prepare for the five hundredth

anniversary of his epic voyage of discovery" (p. 218). To

Christian Nationalist, the early days of exploration and

discovery should be for Americans to learn about with pride

and appreciation, but not regret. They see the success of

pioneers like Columbus as a sign of God's plans for the New

World, particularly the United States. According to these

devoted activists, the divine hand that brought Christopher

Columbus to the Americas led the way for their spiritual

ancestors from England to settle the new Promised Land just

a few centuries later.

Colonial America and the Civic Ideal

In the years spanning the time from the first Virginia

settlements to the American revolution, the White Anglo-

Saxon Protestant population and culture that Christian

Nationalists most strongly identify with became established

on North American soil. The Puritan and Pilgrim settlers in

particular figure prominently in the imagination of

proponents of a Christian America. The doctrine of a new

Holy Covenant espoused by these early settlers is not only

studied historically by modern Christian Nationalist

academics, but is also embraced as an ongoing reality by the

whole community. These modern religious conservatives are

committed to the idea that they, like the Puritans before

them, are part of God's new chosen nation, or tribe. In

many ways, they are the ideological successors of early

colonials like John Winthrop, who was a firm believer in a

covenantal worldview (Heinz, 1983, p. 141). As a result, it

can be said that to Christian Nationalists the rise and

establishment of the early colonies in Virginia and New

England not only influenced the demographic and cultural

future of the United States, but also revealed and defined

the nature of its relationship to God.

In the historical accounts of Christian Nationalists

Colonial figures such as John Winthrop, William Bradford,

and William Penn, are all quoted extensively. These early

leaders of Eastern colonies are very important to the

historical vision of Christian Nationalists for several

reasons. At different times, these men guided the growth of

settlements that were both overtly and more subtly grounded

in very religious worldviews." In turn, modern religious

conservatives often cite the legacy of Christian government

17 Obviously the type of colonial society founded by tolerance-minded William
Penn differed greatly from the austere and uncompromising culture of
Massachusetts Bay Colony, however, both were in their own way molded in
accordance to some form of Christian values, as expressed by their founders.
It is such a foundation that is of interest and significance to the Radical

in the Colonial era as an example of how much the nation has

strayed from its roots. It is important to note, however,

that to modern Christian Nationalists what these and other

Colonial leaders said is of far more importance than what

they did. The speeches, legal documents, and personal

writings of that era provide Christian Nationalists with

many firsthand testimonies of a worldview that they can

easily connect to their own:

That all persons having children shall cause such to be
instructed in reading and writing, so that they may be
able to read the Scriptures, and to write by the time
they attain 12 years of age (Millard, 1991, p. 44).

This quote from William Penn illustrates the kind of

historical statement that Christian Nationalists use to

support their calls for a return to the original religious

intent of the nation. While a more secular minded

intellectual might point out that Bibles were practically

the only books available for people to read in the

seventeenth century, a Christian Nationalist would consider

such a point secondary. The fact that teaching every new

child to read scripture was central to one of the great

colonial fathers is the point that Christian Nationalists

would emphasize, and use as a lesson for current society.

Briefly stated, the goal of Christian Nationalist

activism is to direct the American public and government

towards recognition and enactment of a distinct religious

worldview. This worldview encompasses everything from

foreign policy, economics, education, public life, to

domestic life, child rearing and sexual mores. In many ways

the Christian Nationalists vision of Colonial America is the

embodiment of many of their civic ideals. In other words,

that era of the history of the United States was

characterized by public and legal behavior that Christian

Nationalists consider an example to modern Americans. Tim

LaHaye, a prominent Christian Nationalist author describes

life in that era:

The laws of the people were largely Bible laws, moral
and social standards basically Christian. In fact, as
unbelievable as it seems today, several of the early
colonial constitutions actually required that any
governmental office holder acknowledge personal belief
in Jesus Christ before he could seek election (Heinz,
1993, p. 144).

In America's Christian History, Gary DeMar (1995) describes

Colonial America in a similar light:

The Bible was used as the Standard for developing Civil
legislation. Civil rulers and courts were considered
to be "ministers of God for the good of the people. .
." The Christian religion was also protected from
those who ". .shall go about to subvert or destroy
the Christian faith or religion by preaching,
publishing, or maintaining any dangerous error or
heresy. . (p. 59)"

Christian Nationalists would like to see modern America

following the Colonial example of a government based on

religious principles and ideals. They believe that God

intended for the United States to remain under such a

system, instead of straying towards more and more secular

laws. Pat Robertson (1991) goes as far as to state that

followers of the Bible endowed by their faith with better

judgment, and thus are better suited to govern:

When I said during my presidential bid that I would
only bring Christians and Jews into the Government I
hit a firestorm. 'What do you mean?' the media
challenged me. 'You're not going to bring Atheists
into the government? How dare you maintain that those
who believe the Judeo-Christian values are better
qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?'
My simple answer is, 'Yes, they are.' (p.219).

He then goes on to say that they are more trustworthy

because they believe in a higher power that would condemn

them for breaking trust (Robertson, 1991, p. 219).

The style and focus of Government in the Colonial era

also provides a great source of inspiration to Christian

Nationalists. They often contrast the enormous and

seemingly omnipresent central government of the late

twentieth century with the micro-managed, autonomous regions

of the Colonial era. The "town meeting" style local level

majoritarianism of the past is used to legitimate calls for

a much greater decentralization of power today. Christian

Nationalists are ardent promoters of "community standards"

which they believe should supercede any judicially

established atomistic "rights" derived from notions of

privacy. They use their understanding of authority in the

Colonial past to argue that communities should have the

right to democratically choose standards of decency,

education, welfare, and taxation. They also believe that

the same communities (sometimes cities, sometimes counties

or states) ought to determine the role of religion in their

local civic life. Christian Nationalists believe that such

grassroots decision making would allow moral localities that

follow the Colonial example of religious society to prosper

both spiritually and financially.

According to Christian Nationalists, Colonial America

benefited from the wisdom of moral, overtly religious

leaders. It was the wisdom of those leaders, and their

successors over time that led the population of the

Christian Colonies to revolt against the oppression of the

British Monarchy. In the eyes of Christian Nationalists,

contemporary America could learn a lot from the example of

an era when citizenship was based in conservative Biblical

principles. They believe that those principles brought both

spiritual and material prosperity in the past, and could

serve the nation as well in the future.

The "Christian" Revolution of 1776, and the Constitution

There are several similarities between Christian

Nationalist understanding and use of the Colonial era, and

their reconstruction and interpretation of the years and

events surrounding the American Revolution.

The civic culture of Colonial America is lauded by

modern religious conservatives for its multifaceted

institutionalization of religious principles, and for its

emphasis on local autonomous government. The Revolutionary

era is also seen by Christian Nationalists as a source of a

set of ideals that they believe to be essential to the heart

and soul of the nation. The sense of national identity

ascribed to the heroes of that era is thoroughly intertwined

with a deep religious identity. The Revolutionary

"Christian Patriotism" that results is made reference to and

promoted at great lengths by modern Christian Nationalists.

The significant personalities of the American Revolution,

just like those of the age of discovery and Colonial

America, are used by Christian Nationalists as "evidence" to

support their claims about the past.

In promoting their understanding of Revolutionary

America, Christian Nationalists seek to prove that at its

most defining nascent moment, the United States was clearly

a Christian Nation, defined and liberated by Christian

Patriots who say themselves as doing the will of a Christian

God (Noll, Marsden, & Hatch, 1989, p. 70):

To the historians of the New Christian Right, the
founding of the American republic was, like the
discovery and settlement of America itself, a
providential phenomenon. In one way or another all of
them present both the revolutionary war and the
creation of the American Constitution as God-guided
episodes (Heinz, 1993, p. 145).

To many Christian Nationalists, the sheer fact that a band

of Colonists was able to lead a few decentralized

territories to liberty over the mighty British army is proof

that God tipped the scales in the Revolutionaries favor:

Some books, like that of Marshall and Manuel go so far
as to claim actual divine intervention, arguing that
God '. .directly intervened on America's behalf--as
dramatically and conclusively as He did in the days of
the Old Testament' (Heinz, 1993, 145).

Catherine Millard, a supporter of this position, goes as far

as to argue that the leaders of America's liberation were

aware of God's role in their victory:

Washington knew that the hand of God had been strong
not only in shaping his own personal life, but that of
the newly formed nation. Note the following letter he
wrote on August 20, 1778 to his Virginia friend, Thomas
Nelson: 'The hand of God has been so conspicuous in
all his (the course of the war) that he must be worse
than an infidel that lacks faith and more wicked than
has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations'
(Millard, 1995, p. 82).

If George Washington and other Revolutionary heroes knew

that their victory was due to God's intervention on their

behalf, as Millard asserts, then it makes sense for them to

have built a government that acknowledged the role of the

almighty in enabling and preserving their liberty.

According to Christian Nationalists, that is exactly what

the founding fathers did.

Catherine Millard, Pat Robertson and others argue that

everything from early national rituals and symbols, to the

writing of the Constitution and the design of the Bill of

Rights result directly from concerted attempts by the

Founding Fathers to preserve the providential relationship

between nation and Creator. Christian Nationalists believe

that the first leaders of the American nation even had the

knowledge that the nation would decline and erode if it fell

away from its Christian roots. In Teaching and Learning

America's Christian History, Rosalie Slater (1965) expresses

such sentiments:

The Founding Fathers of our Nation had a clear
conception of Christian character and Christian
citizenship as part of an inseparable fabric of
education. They cherished both these aspects of
development as vital to the maintenance of individual
liberty and the freedom of America (p. xiv).

Given the central role that the Founding Fathers play

in the founding of the United States, as proported by

Christian Nationalists, there is little doubt the way that

their lives and accomplishments are described is of great

importance to this group. Teaching present generations

about the religious character and moral wisdom of figures

such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin

Franklin, is not only seen by Christian Nationalists as a

way to correct misinformation that might have been

disseminated by the liberal media, but also as a means of

providing a set of ideal role models that might serve as

examples for the future. In general, the lives of the

Founding Fathers are recounted according to the same

patterns that characterized the stories of earlier heroes of

Christian Nationalist history. There are tales of their

upbringing, religious education and the resulting moral

drive that led them to their accomplishments. Assertions

about their character are supported by quotes and excerpts

from their writings filled making references to God and

faith in Christ. Christian Nationalists tend to follow

descriptions of Revolutionary heroes with explanations

describing that figure's character and values leaving no

doubt about the true meaning of their legal or political

work. A good example of this is found in the Rewriting of

America's History, where Millard criticizes several current

history textbooks for distorting historical events.

In Millard's first example of an inaccurate secularist

account, we read of John Adams' humiliation when it was

suggested that Americans be given aristocratic titles as

part of high level government service. In the second of

these accounts, the author discusses the development of a

rift between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson over

negotiations in Paris. In that text, the author suggests

that some of their disagreements may have been petty in

nature. He notes that ". .the traditional image of

America's Founding Fathers tends not to show their very

human squabbles, disagreements, and bad habits" (Millard,

1991, p. 82). Millard's reaction to these statements is

typical of Christian Nationalists when the character of a

traditional hero-figure is brought into question. Milard

(1991) states that:

The above is just another unscrupulous attempt to
debase and malign the founding fathers, in particular
John Adams, whose exemplary Christian life in both the
political arena and homefront is a worthy testimony to
the Biblical foundations of America (p.82).

In attacking the secular schoolbooks' accounts with this

statement, Millard is arguing that historical accounts

calling into question the elevated stature of the Founding

Fathers are also calling into question the religious

foundation of the nation. Christian Nationalists are firm

in their belief that such negative statements about the

heroes of independence are not only inaccurate, but

deliberately designed to undermine patriotic (and therefore

religious) feelings among the population.

George Washington: The Model Citizen

The first president of the United States is one of the

most prominent figures in Christian Nationalist accounts of

American history. The fame and public recognition of George

Washington as a war hero and first president led to many

written accounts of his life, including deeds and sayings

dating all the way back to his lifetime. Christian

Nationalists draw extensively from historical records that

emphasize Washington's religiosity and character. Indeed

such characteristics often become the focus of lessons about

Washington's life. The theme is clear: the nation rose from

noble roots.

In Great American Statesmen and Heroes, Catherine

Millard addresses the issue of Wasington's Christian

character. Sections entitled "George Washington's Prayer at

Valley Forge", "Washington's Godly Character", "Thomas

Jefferson describes Washington's Christian Character" and

"Washington's Christian Character Extolled by John Adams",

illustrate Millard's repeated return to the theme of the

first President's piety (Millard, 1995, p. 52, 79-82). She

begins the chapter by listing some of the 110 Rules of

Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation

that are said to have been a large influence on Washington's

life. Following the pattern she established in her

description of Colonial life, Millard emphasizes behaviors

and values which involve cleanliness, honor and moral

behavior. It is almost as if Millard believes that by

listing those she can provide the highlights of Washington's

personality that ought to be important to well-educated

Americans today. The message is clear, there is no moral

ambiguity in the nation's heroic past.

The Unmentionable Past I: Slavery and the Civil War

The history of slavery, while not ignored by Christian

Nationalists, is one carefully and lightly tread. Promoters

of this religious worldview frequently condemn the evil of

slavery and the treatment of African Americans under such a

system. It is not surprising, however, that the context and

nature of their condemnation of slavery and racism is

integrated into their religious-historical argument.

One of the most evident ways Christian Nationalists

introduce a discussion of the issue of slavery within the

context of their "Christian-America" worldview, is by

quoting Revolutionary era heroes who condemned the

institution. Christian Nationalists are careful to indicate

that an end to slavery was part of (at least) some of the

Founding Fathers' plans for the nation. They often make

reference to statements by Washington Jefferson and Madison

condemning the evil of such institutions (Millard, 1991, p.

96).1" By introducing the topic of slavery in that context,

Christian Nationalists can preserve a measure of continuity

within their historical story. The issue of slavery never

undermines their portrayal of a moral early-America because

1s Here Millard describes Jefferson as ahead of his time on the issue of

key historical figures appeared to condemn it from Day


One of the more prominent Christian Nationalist heroes,

Abraham Lincoln is praised extensively for the Emancipation

Proclamation and his role in ending slavery in the young

United States. There is no doubt in the minds of Christian

Nationalists that Lincoln's actions were motivated by his

strong religious character. Descriptions of the statesman

are replete with references to his knowledge and grasp of

the Bible.20 Christian Nationalist accounts of Lincoln's

life and religiosity are similar to accounts of Thomas

Jefferson's life in that a section is often devoted to

refuting "misconceptions" or "myths" about that person's

religiosity. In America's Christian History The Untold

Story, Gary DeMar challenges historical accounts that call

into question Lincoln's devotion go God: "What about

Lincoln's beliefs about the Bible? An atheist would have no

cause to quote the Bible in support of any belief or

cause"(DeMar, 1993, 185). To support this view, DeMar (1993)

uses a quote about Lincoln from Nathan 0. Hatch:

19This argument was clearly presented in a letter to the Gainesville Sun, week
of December 5th 1997.
20 Millard, 1995 p. 223-227 is a good example of this.

He (Lincoln) possessed a rare command of biblical
detail, searched its pages for personal strength,
displayed its characters and settings in his humor,
and, in time of national crisis, drew upon its themes
to explain the meaning of slavery, civil war, and
emancipation (p.185).

This view leaves the student of Christian Nationalist with

no doubt about the source of Lincoln's moral strength.

Christian Nationalists so thoroughly embrace the

abolitionist crusade as their own, that they leave no doubt

about God's stand on the issue.21 In America's Christian

History-The Untold Story, Gary DeMar asserts that "Had

Biblical law, instead of natural law, operated in America,

chattel slavery would have been outlawed before it had ever

reached our shores. The Bible is very clear on the slavery

issue." DeMar (1993) goes so far as to say that "True

Biblical Christianity operated in England with the abolition

of the slave trade without a war long before abolitionists

took up arms in America" (p. 185). DeMar (1993) then quotes

Otto J. Scott, who argued that: "Had the British Government

not been in the Hands of Christians, there seems little

reason to have expected it to mount its massive, expensive

and voluntary campaign against slavery" (p. 185).

In contrast to the condemnation of relativism that

pervades Christian Nationalist discourse about modern

America, a relativist approach to morality is clearly

applied by Christian Nationalists discussing or describing

the Antebellum and Civil War eras. According to their

worldview, overt racist and pro-slavery stances did not

prevent a nineteenth century American from being a good

Christian because those behaviors were simply a facet of the

American value system that was accepted at the time.

However, slavery and racist attitudes in and of themselves

are depicted as evil. This stance allows Christian

Nationalists to praise the character and Christian virtue of

Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, who were on

the anti abolitionist side in the Civil War, while at the

same time condemning some of their views.

Another example of how Christian Nationalists dodge the

issue of slave ownership on the part of their heroes ties

the issue to domestic necessity. When confronted with the

seeming hypocrisy of both condemning slavery and owning

slaves, Christian Nationalists sometimes argue that figures

such as Washington and Jefferson had no choice and were

bound by family and economic obligations that were totally

unrelated to the debate over the morality of slavery. It is

as though the moral act of keeping up with familial

obligations absolved them from guilt in participating in an

21 This connection to the anti-slavery movement provides Christian
Nationalists with a powerful set of symbols to apply to modern social
concerns. This will be discussed later.

immoral system.22 Once again, a relativistic standard is


The Unmentionable Past II: The Treatment of Native

Christian Nationalists discuss the treatment of Native

Americans in terms that are similar to their discussion of

slavery, with guarded condemnation of the acts, but not the

individuals. As a result, leaders such as Andrew Jackson,

who were instrumental in the deportation and death of

thousands of Native Americans still be praised by Christian

Nationalists for their Christian character. The forced

exiles, the deliberate breaching of treaties and the

massacres that characterized nineteenth century treatment of

Native Americans are condemned by Christian Nationalists as

wrongdoings. However, as in the case of slavery, these

wrongdoings happened when individuals broke away from the

moral path. They took place when early America's Christian

spirit was being rejected, not embraced.

Despite the condemnation of the treatment of Native

Americans, the entire expansionist process that led to the

death of hundreds of thousands of Native Americans is

considered by many to have been a part of an inevitable

process intended by God:

22 In America's Dates With Destiny, Pat Roberston (1991) argues that: ".
.those moments that illustrate our forefathers' failures happened not
because those men kept Christ's commission, but because they wandered from

Twenty-Five thousand years ago there were Indians here.
and it was their land. .Yet it was never in the
destiny of 400,000 red men to have and hold dominion
over a land promised to greatness and power in the
World. Its vastness was too much for one race (Hunter,
1983b, 149).

According to Dale Evans Rogers, Native Americans were ". .

.forced out by cosmic forces" (Hunter, 1983b, p. 149). In

the Christian Nationalist understanding of American destiny,

there could not have been any other ending to the Native

American chapter of this continent's history. God's New

Israel had to arise. While the method of conquest of the

America's might not have been the most moral, or righteous,

the outcome was inevitable.

Outside of the very broad condemnation of American

policy and treatment of Native Americans in the past few

centuries, that entire population is for the most part left

out of Christian Nationalist accounts of American history.

In materials that are meant to be educational to children or

Christian Nationalist citizens, authors tend to point out

positive aspects of the relationship between European

settlers, and the Native Americans they found in the New

World. In America's Christian History The Untold Story,

Gary DeMar talks about the wisdom of the writings of 17th

century Puritan missionary John Eliot. Eliot's The

it." (p. 126) This explanation for the wrongdoings of early American
history plays a significant role in CN historiography.

Christian Commonwealth, was intended to be a plan of

government for the Natick Indian community (DeMar, 1995, p.


In Great American Statesmen and Heroes, Catherine

Millard also depicts the positive interaction of true

Christians and the inhabitants of the New World. Once

again, the true Christians are seen as being a positive

influence on the life of the natives. Here, she describes

the significance of a long passage written by John Smith

during the settlement of the Virginia colonies where the

captain discusses the Indians' reaction to the colonist's

religious practices:

. .Smith relates that even the natives were in awe
and admiration of the colonists' Christian lives, that
is, their life of prayer, obedience to the Lord,
longsuffering and forgiveness; all of which drew them
to the true God of the Bible and Jesus Christ His Son
(Millard, 1995, p. 17).

This quote teaches the reader the influence that the

Christianity of the Colonists had on the Native Americans

they encountered. In her textbook, Great American Statesmen

and Heroes, Millard emphasizes the positive role that the

new European-Americans played in their interactions with the

spiritually empty Native Americans. She writes about the

altruistic missionary motives of Hernando de Soto, and

later, about the conversion of Pocahontas.23 She even goes

Millard 1995, p.11, 19

so far as to challenge the mainstream education that teaches

about the oppression and abuse of Native Americans at the

hands of European settlers. After quoting a colonial era

account about Native American mistreatment of members of

Hernando de Soto's party, Millard (1995) goes on to say:

Here we learn of the Indian's exploitation and slaying
of the Christians. Many modern day textbooks and
history books would have the youth of America believe
the opposite to be true. One reads volumes of
twentieth century revisionist accounts decrying de
Soto's -and other great American explorers' and
discoverers' -cruelty, abuse and extermination of the
natives; majoring upon their despoiling of the Indians'
culture and "idyllic" way of life. True historic
records, however, such as the one just cited on
Hernando de Soto, show these accounts to be without
evidence, and a revision of history (p. 10).

Although most Christian Nationalists probably wouldn't go so

far in attacking the mainstream understanding of relations

between whites and Indians, they would share in the

sentiment behind Millard's dramatic words: The history of

relations between early white Americans, and the natives of

the New World has been distorted to portray the Europeans in

a bad light.

The Twentieth Century--Growth, Prosperity and Decay

In his article The Liberal Reaction, in Redeeming

America: Piety and Politics in the New Christian Right,

James Hunter (1983b) does a good job of capturing the

Christian Nationalist understanding of the Twentieth


As seen by those in the New Christian Right, the
twentieth century has been the best and worst of times.
On the one hand, it has been a century of continuity, in
which God's providential plan has continued to be played
out among his people; on the other it has been a century
of corruption, in which America, or at least its
government, has lost its spiritual purpose (p. 152).

In the Christian Nationalist account of the last near-

hundred years, the power and status and affluence of God's

new Israel has grown dramatically. From a nation that lived

in the economic shadows of the European colonial powers

during the nineteenth century, the United States grew into

the world superpower that led the "free world" in

technology, military might, and vision. The picture has not

all been rosy though. The Christian Nationalist account of

the last hundred years also includes very detailed

descriptions of ever-growing forces working to undermine the

nation. While the United States has grown stronger and more

powerful, it has also grown more susceptible to secular

decadence, corruption and outside threats.

The Christian Nationalist story of the American Century

begins with church sponsored movements towards Prohibition,

and with the success of the woman's suffrage movement.24 The

prominent role of activist women in both of these movements

is important in the Christian Nationalist story because it

serves as a contrast point to later "secular" activism also

24 This event is significant because the movement was built around the social
activism of church based groups decades earlier. Christian Nationalist use
of past religious based activist movements will be explained later.

led predominantly by women.25 Ralph Reed (1996), a prominent

Christian Nationalist, points this out:

In more recent times many have tended to equate the
movement of women into politics with liberalism and
modern feminism, but the most powerful women's
political force in American history was not led by the
likes of Gloria Steinem, or Bella Abzug. It flowed out
of the evangelical churches, and its women members
viewed their civic involvement as missionary work (p.

The Great Wars of the First Fifty Years.

The Two World Wars are significant in the Christian

Nationalist American story both for their historical and

symbolic significance. On a historical level, the first and

second world wars provide Christian Nationalists with

evidence of American superiority on military and

technological levels. They also provide the most

unambiguous, vivid, and tangible examples of the United

States fighting as the representative of goodness and

righteousness against despotic forces that ultimately

threatened the soul of the nation. In With God on Our Side,

William Martin (1996) states that:

For example the crusade for the Equal Rights Amendment, and Pro-Choice

World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917
provided fundamentalism with what was to become one of
its major elements: religious nationalism. Sunday,
Riley, and other fundamentalist leaders declared that
Satan himself was directing the German war effort, and
hinted strongly that it was part of the same process
that had begun with the development of Biblical
criticism in German Universities. Modernism, they
asserted, had turned Germany into a Godless nation, and
would do the same to America (p. 11).

Even early on in the century, America's foes were not only

threatening our allies, but our souls. In this quote we

once again see a case where the educational ideology of a

nation is credited with bringing down its moral stature, and

placing control of its government in Satan's hand.

The overwhelming victory of the American "side" in both

wars, even after many setbacks, supports claims of divine

favor when the cause is righteous. These struggles against

good versus evil serve as a contrast with more morally

ambiguous conflicts later in the century:

In carrying out this role, religious conservatives turn
to World War II as a clear and uncontroversial case,
for like most Americans, they consider it to be a just
war. In fact within the New Christian Right, the Second
World War provides a prototype for international
politics, a moral war fought to achieve a lasting peace
(Simpson, 1993, 198).

However significant the historical reality of the two

World Wars is to Christian Nationalists, it is within the

realm of symbolism and language that these events

(particularly World War II) play their greatest role. After

the Second World War, the imagery of the monolithic and

tyrannical Nazi-type state continuously demanding worship

and sacrifice from a people indoctrinated into submission,

began to repeatedly be used by Christian Nationalists when

addressing the evils of the growing power and influence of

both the Federal Government and the United Nations. The

forces and factors that led to the rise of totalitarian

Germany are paralleled to those leading the world towards

more centralized government today.

In The New World Order, Robertson, discuses the

influence of occultism on Nazi doctrine. He argues that

occultism influenced and guided Nazi plans for world

domination (Robertson, 1991, 168). He then goes on to argue

that those same occultist forces are behind the current

drive towards globalism and a single world government.26

In America's Christian History: The Untold Story, Gary

DeMar describes an even more subtle connection or parallel

between contemporary American education and the methods of

indoctrination used by Nazi Germany. After discussing his

theory about the absence of educational materials that

mention America's Christian Heritage in public schools,

DeMar launches into a chapter about the indoctrinating

26 The argument he uses here is very long and convoluted. It delves into the
history of various secret societies, and the relationships between their
members. The general point of the whole argument, however, is that Satan
seeks to use humanism, occultism and neo-paganism as a doorway to have
renewed influence over people. During the Nazi years in Germany the
influence of occult and pagan beliefs allowed Satan to have great control

strategies of communism, Nazism, socialism and humanism.

DeMar reminds the reader that Hitler ". .knew that by

controlling the educational establishment he could push

through any worldview he desired" (DeMar, 1995, p. 38). He

then goes on to point out that "Hitler understood the

direction of the nation would be determined by the ideology

of the younger generation" (DeMar, 1995, p. 38). Although

DeMar does not overtly state that the federal government has

sinister Nazi-like motives, he does try to establish a clear

connection between the methods employed by the respective

national governments both then and now.

The Cold War and Communism

It is almost impossible to overstate the central role

that the Cold War and communism play in the Christian

Nationalist account of American history. To Christian

Nationalists, communism and the Soviet Union were the

ideological and political embodiments of the very opposite

of God's will. They represented everything that could go

wrong with cultural and political structures controlled by

human hands in a deliberate attempt to turn away from God.

The importance of communism in the Christian

Nationalist story is not based solely on its difference from

the moral American ideals of capitalism and religious self-

over the actions of German leadership. This in turn led to the many
horrendous deeds of the Third Reich.

determination. Communism is most significant because to

Christian Nationalists, it was an invasive tool used by

Satan in an attempt to destroy Christian America using any

and all available means. According to Christian

Nationalists, the political, economic and military struggle

against communism was fought during the Cold War with

missiles ready to launch, while the educational, moral and

cultural war against the same enemy was fought with forty

years of conservative social activism.27

As was true of the World Wars, the Cold War was a

clear-cut case of Good versus Evil. The United States was

playing the agent of good once again, this time against its

most threatening foe. In the Christian Nationalist's story,

communist attempts to undermine the strength of the nation

were taking place everywhere during the decades following

World War II. The social activism of liberals, minorities

and women during the years of the Cold War is repeatedly

described by Christian Nationalists as being part of an

intricate Marxist, communist and/or Satanic plot. According

to Christian Nationalists, the same forces that had tanks,

missiles and submarines ready to attack us for decades were

also responsible, for example, for the "Marxist/Lesbian

27 Note that not all of these struggles have been victories. American success
in the Cold War does not stop Christian Nationalists from pointing out (what
they perceive as) the growing influence of socialist and communist ideology
in various facets of American culture. Even after the fall of the Soviet
Union, the ideological threat of communist ideals is seen as very real.

circus" that was (at least in Beverly LaHaye's eyes) the

National Women's convention in November of 1977 (Kintz,

1977, p. 81).

As might be surmised, Christian Nationalists place

particular attention to the events that led to the collapse

of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War. From the

earliest days of the Cold War, Christian Nationalists had

opposed any kind of diplomacy, treaties or friendly

overtures from the United States that were designed to keep

peace. Current historical accounts of this era echo the

view that: "A special place in hell is being reserved for

people who believe in walking down the middle of the

political and religious road" (Lienesch, 1993, p. 7). Their

worldview is reinforced by the image of an uncompromising

and quick to strike Ronald Reagan raising the stakes and the

costs of militarization until the Russian economy collapsed,

and the Eastern Block people revolted against repression

(Lienesch, 1993, p. 205). Christian Nationalists will point

out that they supported Reagan for his ardent Anti-Communism

from the very beginning of the actor's political career, and

had no doubt that his "all or nothing" approach was the only

way to deal with America's enemies (Lienesch, 1993, p. 7).

While the military and political victory against the

Soviet Union is celebrated in Christian Nationalist accounts

of American history, there is also a lot of focus on the

losses that the United States suffered at the hands of

Communists, Marxists and Socialists in the social and

cultural battlegrounds of the Cold War. The losses were

quite severe in state and government offices, and

particularly in the halls of academia. According to

Christian Nationalists, communist forces were quite

successful in taking control of many government positions,

and even more so in taking over departments at colleges and

universities across the country. According to Robertson,

the American higher education that ". .began as a system,

with a Christian world-view, where a professor or student

could openly debate the nature of God, and how the

principles of science and the mind were supposed to work in

relation to him," turned into a higher education that ". .

has since become a system where one can deny the existence

of God and openly advocate atheism" (Robertson, 1991, p.

220). Tim LaHaye goes so far as to say that when God rids

the earth of Communists "we can only imagine the number of

vacancies that will occur in one day in the federal and

state governments and in three thousand universities and

colleges in America" (Averill, 1996, p. 128-129). According

to Christian Nationalists, these leftist takeovers of parts

of American government and society play a key role in

contributing to the overall decline in American morality and


Immorality, Anarchy and Permissiveness in the Late Twentieth

Claims about the declining moral standards of youth are

common in every generation. Parents and grandparents often

stare at the world surrounding them after middle age in

horror, as practices that were not tolerated in their youth

become not only accepted, but commonplace. Christian

Nationalist complaints about the recklessness and abandon of

younger generations are not that different from other

critiques of youth culture in terms of what they complain

about (sexual permissiveness, illicit drug use, rudeness,

etc.) However, their explanation for the causes and forces

behind the erosion of "traditional" values sets them apart

from other social critics.

During the Cold War, Christian Nationalists were quick

to jump at every opportunity to connect the military and

political objectives of the Soviet Union to the agenda of

all perceived enemies of Christianity. In turn, communism

and Marxism were viewed and depicted as immoral doctrines

promoted by Satan.23 Christian Nationalists spend a great

deal of time proving in detail how the counterculture and

youth movements of the past forty years really were

deliberately devised by enemies of the nation. Sex, drugs

and rock music weren't simply vices that increasingly led

2S Both of these depictions have carried over into Christian Nationalist
accounts of history. Communism and Soviet motives are still depicted as
part of a greater sinister plan.

America's youth away from Christ; they were the tools and

weapons of very tangible forces trying to conquer the United

States. In The Rewriting of America's History, Catherine

Millard supports this view with a quote from Kenneth Goff:

By making readily available drugs of various kinds, by
giving the teenager alcohol, by praising his wildness,
by stimulating him with sex literature,. . the
psychopolitical operator can create the necessary
attitude of chaos, idleness, and worthlessness into
which then can be cast the solution which will give the
teenager complete freedom everywhere-Communism
(Millard, 1991, p. 404).

Even children are taught that the immoral temptations

that surround them, such as the desire to listen to rock

music, are really tools in a Satanic conspiracy. In small

comic books that are handed out at concerts and other

gatherings frequented by young people, Christian

Nationalists communicate this message. In one such comic

book, Satan is seen telling a group of newly recruited rock

musicians who give up church for their music, that he is

responsible for the introduction of Rock music into American


I control billions of souls with my music . .In the
50s and 60s I started gradually, introducing my new
beat into some of the crooners . .at first it was
nice and soft. Then I gave them Elvis and the Beatles,
etc. And out of this came the Flower Children, the
protesters . .And a near revolution . My music
pushes murder, drugs, free sex, suicide, to destroy
country, home and education (Chick, 1986, p. 11).

This account of the decline of morality starting in society

in the 1950s and 1960s is another significant part of the

Christian Nationalist account of American history. There is

a clear sense in the Christian Nationalist community that

the decades following World War II marked the beginning of

the end of traditionalism and morality in the United States.

The political activism and social crusades of organizations

like the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition are seen

as a necessary part of combating the decline of the past few

decades. Patriotic Christian Americans working hard to give

the nation back its moral strength so it can continue

fighting on God's side in the continuing battle against both

national and foreign foes.

The Growing Specter of Secular Government

Christian Nationalist accounts of the Twentieth Century

share in their description of the threat posed by the ever-

growing power and influence of centralized government:

. .the authors describe another and more baleful side
of the twentieth century: the growing power of
government. Standing in stark contrast to the moral
and spiritual soundness of America's people, the state
is described as a corrupting and secular institution
(Hunter, 1993b, p. 152).

As "corrupting and secular" institutions, governments are

not controlled by the same restraints that curtail the

impulses of moral people.29 People in positions of power

often seek to consolidate and secure their hold on that

power regardless of the cost or compromises they have to

make. According to Christian Nationalists, the pursuit of

consensus to maintain popularity and power has led the

federal government away from upholding its end of the

American Covenant with God (Wilson, 1999). As a result the

United States has been punished both at a domestic and

international level (Bellringer, 1997). The following quote

by Jerry Falwell illustrates the point that even our

political failures over the past few decades (such as Korea,

Vietnam, etc. .) are proof of God's displeasure:

Violating God's principles brings a nation to shame.
The last 20 to 30 years we have suffered shame and of
late, international embarrassment because we have been
violating God's principles (Noll et. al., 1989, p.

Over the past few decades the federal government in the US

has not only been at odds with Christian-American principles

because of the immorality of elected and appointed

officials. The growing welfare state has also been a cause

of much concern to Christian Nationalists. Programs such

as affirmative action and welfare are seen as having both

29 Of course, if the United States was under the kind of quasi-theocratic rule
promoted by many Christian Nationalists, governments would not be depicted
as inherently evil, but rather as simply reflective of the morality of the
people who compose them. Some Christian Nationalists embrace the view that
by limiting who can participate in government (through a religious litmus
test, for example) governmental institutions could regain their moral

led to an erosion of the work ethic, and as having

undermined traditional families. The increased tax burden

levied by the government in order to pay for these programs

led to more burden on businesses and working individuals.

Christian Nationalists and other fiscal conservatives argue

that the cost of maintaining the welfare state resulted in a

decline in real wages and available income that led to an

increased need for two income families (Robertson, 1991, p.

238). Two income families, in turn, led to a lack of

supervision of children and to an absence of role models.

In Christian Nationalist eyes the connection between the

growing role of government and the rise of immorality among

the population is thus clear as day. Of course, the

problems don't end there. In fact, the government to fear

the most is not our own, which at least is tempered by the

legal wisdom of our Christian forefathers. The biggest

threat is assimilation under a bigger, more imposing and

sinister global government.

The United Nations and the threat of Globalism

According to Christian Nationalists, the rising role

and power of the United Nations has had a major effect on

American autonomy, sovereignty, military readiness and

cultural and nationalistic pride. Pat Robertson argues that

the reason that United Nations has had such an influence on

the United States is because it has led to an increased

exposure to corrupting influences from outside of American

Judeo-Christian culture. According to Robertson, the

globalist culture of the United Nations and its proponents,

simply does not have the same goals and values as Judeo-

Christian America:

With such a dehumanized and impersonal beliefss, it is
no wonder that supporters of the one world ideology
find it so easy to assault the ideas of national pride
and the sovereignty of independent nations (Robertson,
1991, p. 156).

In Robertson's eyes, the liberal and new age focus on global

concerns and the collective good (represented by the United

Nations) is evidence of the rejection of American religious

and cultural values that include concerns about individual

success, individual property, and most importantly

individual relationship with God.

In the eyes of Christian Nationalists the United

Nations and other prominent global organizations like the

World Bank, are major players in the prophesied era of

tumultuousness and chaos that the world is about to enter.

To many, the United Nations represents the "One World"

government that is to come under the control of the

Antichrist. To others, the United Nations is simply a pawn

of demonic forces seeking to weaken God's new chose nation

through increased influence in American affairs. Either way

the objective of these globalist organizations is to either

weaken or assimilate this country. Christian Nationalists

believe that membership in global agencies and participation

in multinational agreements has allowed non-Christian

foreign nations to gain control of various facets of

American Government:

Are we giving America over to UN control? The answer
to that question is YES. The National parks are only
one small part of our sovereignty. The give-away is a
continuing phenomena which 99 percent of the American
People don't understand, aren't aware of, and could
care less about anyhow.

Why are the leaders of the United States giving away
our Sovereignty? There is only one answer: One World
Government. No more sovereign United States. Our
government teaches this in our public schools. The
liberal media preaches it. National Public Radio
preaches it. The agenda moves forward rapidly. EVEN
GOVERNMENT (Derickson, 1997, p. 1).

When the UN gains enough power, according to Christian

Nationalists, what will follow is predictable:

Then the New Age religion of humanity becomes official,
and the new world order leaders embrace it. Then they
elect a world president with plenary powers who is
totally given to the religion of humanity (Robertson,
1991, p. 177).

Extremist, fringe organizations within the Christian

Nationalists movement try to mobilize fellow believers to

join militias and citizen information groups to counter the

threat posed by globalists. These fringe organizations rent

time on cable access channels, and run adds in newspapers

and magazines to inform the population about their

"findings." A recent issue of The North Florida Advocate,

had an advertisement for a video which documented the United

Nations plot to take over the United States. Sections of

the add read:

Minuteman Network III (a suppressed information
service), brings you --America: Its Not Too Late.
.Yet! The entire diabolic conspiracy is covered. The
future United Nations takeover and enslavement of
Americans via concentration camps (North Florida
Advocate, 1997, p. 17).

Even though most Christian Nationalists do not hold to such

extreme views about the United Nations, suspicion is still

prevalent. Any organization, foreign or domestic, that does

not understand and hold dear the relationship between God

and the United States is to be mistrusted and feared.

The Christian Nationalist American story comes to an

end at a time when the nation is threatened by internal

corruption and foreign and demonic ambition. It is easy to

contrast Christian Nationalist depictions of contemporary

America with the vision of an American past where everyone

feared God, willingly played by the rules set forth by

church and tradition, looked and acted the same, and held

both cross and flag as symbols of freedom and prosperity.

In the Christian Nationalist story, a once moral nation has

been polluted by outsiders and sinister forces. The

solution to the problem is to be found in a conversion and

redemption process that is anchored in personal conviction,


and reliant and mass mobilization and activism. Cultural

and social restoration depends on the ability of Christian

Nationalists to convince the rest of Americans that their

crusades are not only in everyone's best interest, but

necessary for the nation's survival.



The Making of a History of Quotes

A closer examination of the Christian Nationalist

"American story," from the Age of Discovery to contemporary

times, reveals several important characteristics of the

historiography that was used to produce it.30 This

historical production not only makes careful selection of

which evidence is acceptable, but also shows remarkable

consistency in the types of sources from which the "true

past" may be recreated.

One of the most outstanding facets of the Christian

Nationalist historical production is its focus and reliance

upon statements of piety made either by important historical

figures themselves, or by their contemporaries. In that

way, it is a history built around a framework of quotes.

These quotes tend to serve two distinct functions: To

support historical claims made by a Christian Nationalist

3o Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language
defines historiographyy" as: ". .the body of techniques, theories and
principles of historical research and presentation" and as: ". .methods
of historical scholarship."

author that tie into the social or political goals of

Christian nationalists, or to contradict historical claims

made in secular, or mainstream accounts of American history

that disagree with the Christian Nationalist worldview.

Evidence of Christian Nationalist reliance on quotes to

both support and defend historical claims can be found in

almost any primary source from this group that contains

accounts of American history. Christian Nationalist history

books by Slater, Millard, Hall and DeMar, are all filled

with quotes and writings from Jefferson, Washington,

Lincoln, Webster and their friends, talking about virtuous

behavior and God's grace, both generally, or in relation to

each other.31 For example, in Great American Statesmen and

Heroes, there are sections with titles such as: "Thomas

Jefferson describes Washington's Christian Character" and

"John Adams Describes Sermons and Church to His Wife

Abigail" (Millard, 1995, p. 82, 97). Both of these headings

are followed by quotes from the founding fathers, which are

in turn followed by an explanation from the author detailing

how that quote shows that early America was indeed,


31 Specifically, these books are Great American Statesmen and Heroes and The
Rewriting of America's History, by Catherine Millard; Teaching and Learning
America's Christian History by Rosalie J. Slater; America's Christian
History by Gary DeMar; The Christian History of the American Revolution by
Verna M. Hall

Another way isolated quotes are used by Christian

Nationalist historians is to contradict contemporary or

mainstream accounts of history. An example of this can be

found in the account about Hernando de Soto found in

Millard's Great American Statesmen and Heroes. The basic

point made in this account is that it was the Indians that

massacred the European Christians, and not the other way

around, as is claimed by modern academia (Millard, 1995, p.

10). Millard bases this claim on the Memoir of Hernando de

Escalante Fontaneida that recounted the de Soto expedition

(Millard, 1995, p. 10). This example is part of a greater

trend within the Christian Nationalist historical model,

where any partially substantiated historical claim

(particularly by way of a primary account) that contradicts

a mainstream historical position is sufficient proof that

the modern take is wrong.

The historical dependence on firsthand statements and

letters fails to consider or ignores the fact that in the

conventional writing styles of the era or traditional

manners of speech, references to God were commonplace.32

While quotes by historical figures and other primary data of

that type are valid historical evidence, "mainstream", or

32 One could argue that the use of religious language was, in and of itself, a
sign of piety. However, if such religious vocabulary were abundant in day
to day conversations ranging from pious discussions by devout people, to
crude and base drunken ramblings by uncouth people, then making such a claim
is more difficult.

more academic history would tend to evaluate the reliability

of this type of historical evidence in light of other

evidence, such as archaeological data, secondary accounts,

cultural trends of the time, etc. A good example of how

academic historiography deals with primary texts can be

found in Readings in Medieval History, a secular academic

textbook by Patrick Geary. At the beginning of the chapter

where a Roman historical document is reproduced Geary

provides the reader with a wealth of critical information

about the text. In the following example, a work by the

Roman historian Tacitus, written in 98 C.E. is introduced by

Geary (1989):

In 98 the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus wrote a
brief description of the Germanic peoples living beyond
the Rhine. His account is based on the writings of
previous geographers and historians, especially Pliny
the Elder's lost German Wars as well as on interviews
with people who had fist hand experience with the
Germanic peoples. Although largely accurate in its
details, the treatise organizes and filters Tacitus'
data through the classical ethnological categories.
Its purpose was less to inform Romans about the Germans
than to criticize Roman customs and morals by
contrasting them with those of the barbarians (p. 89).

In this excerpt Geary not only provides historical

information about the origins of a historical document, he

provides information about the context it was written in as

well. Geary also discusses the accuracy of that document in

light of other research, about its limitations based on the

cultural influences that molded it, and about the purpose it

might have served for the author. Most of this type of

information is completely absent from Christian Nationalist

historical texts. Millard, for example, does not provide

much background on the Memoir of Hernando de Escalante

Fontaneida, which is crucial to her argument about Native

Americans. She does not discuss why such a memoir might

have been written, or who in the sixteenth century was

expected to read it. Millard fails to mention if that was

one of many or few similar accounts, if it was typical of

the writing style of the era, or if it showed influences by

other memoirs or documents written by contemporary authors.

As this example shows, Christian Nationalist historical

works do not address primary historical material using

modern critical methods because such processes might

undermine the meanings they are assigning to their

historical evidence.

In The Search for Christian America, Chuck Noll tries

to explain the process that led to only some historical

material being acceptable for use in current accounts by

Christian Nationalists: "In the first place, religious

patriotism cordoned off early American history from critical

scrutiny" (Noll et. al, 1989, p. 115). Noll then goes on to

say that: "What this process of legend-building involved,

of course, was an emphasis upon some truths of the past

along with a filtering out of others" (Noll et. al., 1989,

p. 115). Verna M. Hall provides an excellent example of this

filtering. In her short account of the centuries that

preceded the establishment of the Thirteen Colonies, Hall

starts off with a brief but detailed and analytical

discussion about John Wycliffe's translation of the Bible

into English. She then states that this event directly led

to God beginning to . .call forth men to develop the

many scientific and economic fields which would be necessary

to enable man to sail the seas, explore and finally settle

lands across the Atlantic ocean" (Hall, 1975, p. xxv). God,

according to Hall (1976), ". .had been reserving the land

we know as the original thirteen colonies to begin

establishing the Christian form of civil government. . ."

(p. xxv). This historical account, found in a textbook, no

less, leaves out the centuries of conflicts, wars, rising

and falling empires that one way or another led to the world

where Jamestown and later Plymoth were settled. Hall does

not feel it is necessary to explain (to nonbelievers) how

Englishmen reading a translation of a translation of the

Bible in 1382 led to the rise of Catholic Portugal's naval

power and seafaring skills. 33-34

33 Hall does mention that Wycliffe translated from Latin into English.
34 Because, after all, England was not one of the first major naval powers.
Portugal and Spain (certainly not nations transformed by the Wycliffe
Bible,) were able to keep several major maritime secrets from the British
for decades.

In a way, the whole study of history was therefore sent

in a direction far more favorable to those seeking a

Christian America. Had early American history been open to

more careful examination the rosy colored past would have

been tainted by many disturbing unchristian truths from

Americas early days such as slavery and the genocide of

Native Americans. Noll (1989) points out that ". .it was

far easier to remember one's birthright simply as breaking

the yoke of tyranny rather than as a paradoxical heritage

that could account for the simultaneous development of

liberty and Slavery"(p. 115). Considering the kind types of

social and political positions that Christian Nationalists

use their history to support, a paradoxical history was

never an option. History has to retain a high degree of

consistency and unanbiguity in order to provide support for

any kind of reconstructionist movement. One can't call for

a return to the past if the past was not clearly a better

place. This need for consistency was a driving force behind

the methods of Christian Nationalist historical scholarship.

With the methodological precedent set in this fashion,

it was not difficult for Christian Nationalists to devise a

historiography that would be supportive of their early

America. The "quotes based" method of historical

reconstruction is also evident in Christian Nationalist

analyses of more contemporary history. Descriptions,

critiques and even conspiracy theories are based on worlds

of evidence easily unearthed using this quotes based

historiography. In The New World Order, for example, Pat

Robertson strings a wide array of quotes from motivational

speakers, academics and new age philosophers into a proof of

an elaborate conspiracy by Satan to ". .rise to godship

and wield divine authority in the world. . ." (Robertson,

1991, p. 176).

Appropriating the Righteous Past

Another major characteristic of Christian Nationalist

Historiography is its tendency to appropriate historical

events and symbols that according to contemporary culture

and society represent high points of moral behavior. These

historical deeds and symbols become part of the Christian

Nationalist story where good deeds of America's past were

carried out by righteous Christians. This historical

assimilation is particularly interesting because the past

causes and crusades now attributed to god-fearing Christians

were often opposed by traditionalists and conservatives of

the time. Association with the Woman's Suffrage movement,

and (at least part of) the anti-slavery and civil rights

movements are examples of Christian nationalist

appropriation of symbols and events.

In Active Faith, Ralph Reed discusses the impact of

past religious resurgence and activism, reminding the reader

that after the Second Great Awakening, "Vast number of

converts freed their slaves and took up civil disobedience

by assisting the Underground Railroad. . ." (Reed, 1996,

p. 32-33). Later in Active Faith, Reed argues that these

abolitionists were part of a tradition of activism that

Christian Nationalists belong to because like ". .other

religious folk in later years who poured into the political

arena because of their opposition to segregation or

abortion, they upset the existing political order, and

provoked a realignment of political loyalties" (Reed, 1996,

p. 33).

There is no question that from a mainstream historical

perspective Reed is correct about the role evangelicals

played in the abolitionist movement. However, it is the

association of 19th Century evangelical radicals with a late

20th Century religious-political movement that seems more

contrived. It is important to Christian Nationalists to be

able to portray themselves as both a conservative force

which seeks to restore the America that has been lost, and

as a radical force which seeks to correct "social

injustices" like abortion and religious oppression. A

connection to traditionalism and restoration allows

Christian Nationalists the opportunity to claim the "glory

days" of America's past as a product of the culture they

seek to restore. They can then use nostalgia as a powerful

tool, replete with imagery that entices people who feel

dislocated or alienated in contemporary culture. On the

other hand, an association with radical social justice

movements over the past two centuries allows Christian

Nationalists to broaden their appeal to people who otherwise

might be scared off by their traditionalist rhetoric.

Within this set of symbols, Christian Nationalists are not

trying to return to an age of racial segregation or male

ownership of women's bodies. Rather they are trying to

crusade against the oppression and evil of abortion by doing

for the unborn what the suffrage movement and the civil

rights movement did for women and blacks: provide them with

a voice in public affairs, and with legal protection.

Explaining the Historical Process

According to Marsden, there are two distinct

evangelical Christian historical models. Both of these

historical models play important roles in Christian

Nationalist historiography. The first of these models, the

dispensationalist understanding of history, holds that

"Modern history is of interest only as it produces some

facts that document the cultural decline predicted in the

Bible" (Marsden, 1984, p. 96). According to this view,

history consists merely of predetermined events, dictated by

God, and spelled out in the Bible. Current society and

culture, despite claims of progress and enlightenment,

simply parallels Biblical Babylon. As a result, "Modern

cultural history is of almost no help in understanding

ourselves, the church, or our spiritual mission" (Marsden,

1984, p. 96).

The second evangelical Christian historical model that

influenced Christian Nationalist thought is the covenantal

model. This is based in the now familiar "America is God's

chosen nation" worldview. According to Marsden:

In this later Covenantal, or Christian-America view,
some knowledge of cultural history is far more
important than it is in the dispensationalist view,
which wants to skip the past two thousand years, and
get back to the New Testament (Marsden, 1984, p. 96).

Marsden argues that according to the covenantal model,

believers can measure the spiritual well-being of

contemporary America by measuring it against the "idyllic

past" (Marsden, 1984, p. 96). This comparison process leads

to sermons and speeches being filled with mentions of

history: "So we hear repeatedly, for instance, of how

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson,

made this or that positive statement about God, prayer, or

the Bible"(Marsden, 1984, p. 96).

Although the Christian Nationalist view of American

history may seem to be a close match to the convenantal

model set forth by Marsden, it actually derives from both

models. As followers of the covenantal model, Christian

Nationalists believe that the spiritual health of the nation

can be measured against the ideals of the more God fearing

past. However, in their worldview, the dispensationalist

pattern of cultural decline emerges when the covenant is

abandoned. The inevitable and preordained decline according

to Biblical patterns and prophesies becomes the mold for

historical events when the nation falls away from God.

According to Christian Nationalists, not only does

individual spiritual and moral freedom derive from a close

relationship to God, so does "national freedom." The United

States can achieve greatness and unrestrained prosperity as

a free nation through its adherence to the covenant. Once

the covenant is broken, inevitable decline follows. History

is, according to their view, predetermined by a biblical

historical cycle that argues unequivocally that corrupt

nations fall.

The Christian Nationalist historical model is

supported, according to Marsden, by an early-modern era

understanding of history. He argues that evangelicals ".

.view history as more or less a Baconian scientific

enterprise of gathering and classifying facts" (Marsden,

1984, p. 97). According to this early scientific model,

acquired facts about history, culture, or society will fall

into one of several existing models set forth by God. These

will, in turn, explain the root causes of national curses or


Marsden's early-modern model of the Christian

Nationalist understanding of history explains why cultural

trends, patterns of speech, and secondary historical data

were not incorporated into the Christian Nationalist story

of the American past:

History is, like early modern views of law, largely a
matter of gathering precedents. It is not, as in
contemporary modern history and as in academic
contemporary thought generally, a matter of tracing the
cause and effect relationships in a cultural flow
(Marsden, 1984, p. 97).

Christian Nationalist historiography thus seeks to gather as

many instances of evidence that support their historical

models as are needed to prove that the past and present fall

into basic, theologically grounded, patterns. No additional

examination of the historical evidence, its possible roots,

its inherent contradictions and hypocrisies, is needed.

To Christian Nationalists, just as biblical history

exists meaningful and universally applicable independent of

historical era or cultural bias, American history also

exists as a set of events that have meaning outside of the

time in which they took place. American history takes on a

biblical character in the Christian Nationalist world in

such a way that Christian Nationalists treat academic

criticism and close reading of it with the same suspicion

and rejection as they treat scholarly examination of the

Bible. The simple desire to question, challenge and


contextualize either biblical or American history indicates

on its own, a disbelief in the truths and lessons that are

contained within.


Adjusting to Normlessness

Christian Nationalists in the late twentieth century

show signs of dislocation and alienation from mainstream

society and culture. Increasingly visible social and

political activism by Christian Nationalists reflect their

growing discontent with the practices and policies of

contemporary America. Understanding the driving forces

behind this resurgence of Christian Nationalist activism and

social criticism is key to understanding their ultimate


Sociologist Peter Berger argues that socially

established order, or nomos, is best understood as a shield

against the unbearable discomfort that people feel when

operating in an environment of normlessness and chaos.

Social order thus takes on a "sheltering quality" which

helps govern and guide the lives of members of society

(Berger, 1969, p. 22). Given this understanding, when an

element within society is desperately challenging and trying

to transform social norms, it is because the existing or

newly created nomos does not appear to serve that element's

needs. In other words, the current social order, or the

social order that is being created, is threatening rather

than reassuring. Members of that group do not feel that the

nomos relieves what Berger calls "the unbearable

psychological tension" brought on by normlessness, or the

threat of normlessness (Berger, 1969, p. 22).

In his essay The Great Disruption: Human Nature and

the Reconstitution of Social Order, Francis Fukuyama argues

that "The shift to the information age has been accompanied

by social disorder throughout the industrialized world"

(Fukuyama, 1999, p. 55). According to Fukuyama, this shift

to the information age, which began with the

deindustrialization of the American manufacturing core

during the 1960s, has proven to be a turbulent and

tumultuous process that has resulted in ". .seriously

deteriorating social conditions in most of the of the

industrialized world" (Fukuyama, 1999, p. 55).

Some of the changes that characterized the transition

to the information age included rising crime, increased

rates of divorce, higher illegitimacy and a greater mistrust

of government.35 Fukuyama argues that these changes were

35 Fukuyama points out that no matter how often conservatives are attacked for
holding onto the view that morality declined during this time, the fact
remains that: "they are essentially correct: the perceived breakdown of

products of "a Great Disruption in the social values that

had prevailed in the industrial-age society" (Fukuyama,

1999, p. 56). The result of all of this social upheaval has

been a period of the aforementioned "anomie", or

normlessness, with all of its accompanying discomforts for

individuals within a society (Fukuyama, 1999, p. 76).

Religious and social conservatives, like other groups

within American society, have felt the results of the social

upheaval that is accompanying the transition to the

information age. In response to the disarray, communities

of believers have organized in larger and larger circles

with commitments to various types of activism and social

reaction. In fact, one of the largest conservative

Christian social and political organizations, the Moral

Majority, reached its peak of national prominence during

some of the most visible years of social upheaval.36

Although Fukuyama makes the case that the era of the

Great Disruption is coming to a close, the struggle to

social order is not a matter of nostalgia, poor memory, or ignorance about
the hypocrisies of earlier ages. The decline is readily measurable in
statistics on crime, fatherless children, broken trust, reduced
opportunities for, and outcomes from education, and the like" (Fukuyama,
1999, p. 56).
36 The late 1970s and early 1980s saw some of the highest levels of divorce
and crime (see Fukuyama, 1999, p. 60). It was also during this point that a
lot of social upheaval surrounded the attempted passage of the Equal Rights
Amendment. The Moral Majority and other conservative religious groups like
the Eagle Forum gained large followings and preeminence during that time

define the new nomos is far from over (Fukuyama, 1999, p.

78). American society still finds itself in the midst of

upheaval caused by competing elements seeking to establish

social norms according to their own value systems.

Christian Nationalists are key players in this ongoing

battle over social and cultural values. Their

reconstruction of American history is an important tool in

this battle, crucial to their attempt gain more followers.

The Need for the Past

If, as adherents to many world religions argue,

humanity is totally depraved and fallen without a hope of

redemption, then there is no expectation that social or

political structures can ultimately lead to an improvement

or change within the human condition.

However, if one believes, as do Christian Nationalists,

that humans have some measure of influence over their moral

and spiritual condition, then establishing social and

political institutions which foster righteousness is

imperative. In fact, Christian Nationalists believe that

passivity and inactivity in the face of evil puts God to the

test and that it is their duty as Christians to aggressively

challenge evil (Chandler, 1984, p. 46). In many ways, their

religious tradition forces them to work towards reforming

society, despite any arguments to remain detached from

secular affairs.37 Following in the Old Testament tradition

that profoundly influenced Colonial Puritanism, Christian

Nationalists believe that the many will be punished for the

sins of the few. Christian Nationalists living in a sinful

America are standing next to a potential "ground zero" of

God's wrath.38 Thus the motivation for reforming society at

the very least, due to a kind of religious self interest

(Wuthnow, 1989, p. 177).

The first step for Christian Nationalists seeking to

persuade others that their worldview is true, is to show

proof of the existence of a time and place when social and

political institutions actually did promote and uphold a

righteous society. Once proof of the existence and benefits

of said time and place is provided, Christian Nationalists

must provide an account of the transition between the no

longer mythical ideal past and the no longer ideal present.

One of the major uses of the Christian Nationalist story is

to establish clear points of contrast between the sound and

cohesive homogeneous America of the ideal past, and the

37 It is within this tradition of reformative activism that Christian
Nationalists make the best case for a connection to liberal social causes of
the past such as the woman's suffrage movement and the civil rights
movement. The impetus to act in the face of social injustice/perceived
social injustice, does come out of a common tradition for both liberal and
conservative evangelicals.
38 The Old Testament is filled with references to God exacting punishment on
Israelites and others for deviation from the covenant. The biblical stories
of Sodom and Gomorrah, are just a few examples of God wrath towards those
who disobey.

fragmented, chaotic and morally compromising heterogeneous

culture of the present. This contrast addresses the loss of

cultural integrity in racial, political, sexual and

religious social realms, and provides a viable theodicy to

explain the sources of modern ills.

A well-emphasized distinction between the homogeneous

ideal past, and the heterogeneous present, serves a variety

of purposes for Christian Nationalists. The first of these

is to convey the message that their cultural ideal, though

apparently designed to serve the needs of a small faction

within society, actually served everyone's needs in the

past. Once the benefits of the homogeneous past are

established, Christian Nationalists can use the contrast as

an effective attack on four pillars of the liberal social

ethic that most clearly threaten them: globalism,

multiculturalism, feminism and sexual permissiveness.

When seeking to prove the universal benefits of their

idyllic homogeneous past, Christian Nationalists turn to

historical accounts once again. Previously, the Christian

Nationalist use of historical accounts has been shown to

serve the purpose of providing a type of quasi-academic hard

evidence to support claims about the existence of a divinely

created Christian-America. To prove the universal appeal

and benefit of Christian-American culture to members of a

multicultural and diverse modern society, Christian

Nationalists turn to far more recent type of historical

"evidence": nostalgia-laden first-hand accounts. When

engaging in these historical narratives, "...authors turn the

clock back to their own childhoods, drawing a nostalgic

picture that has all of the characteristics of a Norman

Rockwell painting" (Lienesch, 1993, p. 152). Unlike

Christian Nationalist history textbooks and articles, these

personal, warm and often humorous narratives function most

effectively by drawing emotive, rather than intellectual

responses from their audience. The often-autobiographical

imagery contains scenes of " reunions and picnics on

the courthouse lawn, complete with casts of pious and

patriotic people" (Lienesch, 1993, p. 152). The appeal of

this "past" is tremendous. In the hectic dawn of the

information age, everyone from aging baby-boomers to newly

arrived immigrants will be attracted by the possibility of

an America where their children can live the idyllic scenes

brought to life by eloquent preachers.

Fighting Globalism and Multiculturalism

Once the universal benefits of the Christian

Nationalist past have been established, believers can turn

their attention towards attacking various facets of

liberalism that are seen as most threatening.

Multiculturalism and globalism are depicted as great

external threats to American sovereignty, political values

and moral culture.39 In arguing against these alleged

liberal values, discussion revolves around the inability and

unwillingness of foreigners and members of other religions

to understand and apply the principles of American freedom

and morality (DeMar, 1995, p. 191). For example, a larger

and more powerful international political entity would not

have the values and traditions that guarantee the freedoms

that Americans enjoy. However, these freedoms are so

engrained in the homogeneous and unpolluted culture of the

ideal past, that they would be guaranteed in a nation

governed by Christian Nationalist principles. Pat Robertson

(1991) states this view clearly in The New World Order:

There was no inherent danger in merging South Carolina
with Virginia or Connecticut with Massachusetts,
because they (members of the populace) were all
basically from one common stock and one common
philosophy (p. 205).

Robertson then adds that under a global government if one

were being tried of a crime, the assembly of a true jury of

39 It is important to note that internationalism or globalism are by no means
simply liberal values. In fact many of most prominent advocates of tearing
down international barriers have come out of conservative free-market
economic circles, and not out of the liberal mainstream. More populist and
isolationist-minded conservatives like Christian Nationalists sometimes
dismiss these globalist advocates simply as misguided brethren. However,
they are often far more harsh in their criticism. Robertson, for example,
connects many internationalist proponents with his global conspiracies.
Others, like Pat Buchanan, simply refer to them as greedy and unpatriotic

peers would be near impossible. Being tried with a jury of

"illiterate foreign peasants": "What appeal would you have

to justice, reason or shared values? None!" (Robertson,

1991, p. 209). The message Robertson is conveying is clear:

the guarantees and legal protection available in the United

States are based around common values that were present in

the providential colonial era. These values were very much

white European and male in origin, but still manage to

benefit and protect everyone today.

It is within the fight against multiculturalism and

globalism that Christian Nationalists are able to allow deep

seated prejudices to emerge. While the strong Pentecostal

presence in the movement in recent years has opened its

doors to a large following of African-Americans and Latinos,

and led to far less tolerance of biological or essentialist

racism, cultural racism and prejudice is often not only

tolerated but encouraged.40 Basically the message is:

"Everyone regardless of race is OK, as long as they share

our values." Outside the sphere of shared Anglo-American

40 This has become more true since Robertson took over the leadership of the
movement. Roberston's religious roots lie in Pentecostalism and not in
Fundamentalism. Charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity has so many
historical ties to African-American Christianity, that membership is far
more likely to be integrated and racially sensitive than traditional
fundamentalism. Evidence of this is found in the growing willingness by
many Christian Nationalists to promote and defend the morality of the Civil
Rights movement, which traditionally had been harshly attacked by
conservative Christians. Nevertheless, an intense loyalty to traditional

evangelical values, prejudice and rejection are acceptable,

as long as they are not tied to essential or biological


Christian Nationalists delight in pointing out that

under the politically correct tyranny that would govern a

multicultural globalist society, no one would have the

freedom to condemn immorality in public:

No one could speak out against the beliefs of a Muslim,
a Hindu, or an animist, or against the beliefs of a
communist or a socialist. Christians could not speak
out against the sin of homosexuality or pedophilia.

Equality of all religions, races sexual practices and
belief systems would be considered paramount, and
anyone found guilty of stepping over the line would
have to be publicly penalized by the world government
(Robertson, 1991, p. 212).

The result of the society that liberal Americans are trying

to build is not greater tolerance and acceptance, but

greater fear and injustice. According to Christian

Nationalists, tolerance and acceptance derive from the

embracing of values from America's homogeneous past.

Everyone can share in the freedoms brought on by the correct


white protestant values remains in the movement. Tolerance and inclusion is
dependent on the adoption of those values.

Fighting Feminism and Sexual Permissiveness

In the eyes of Christian Nationalists, one of the

biggest threats of multiculturalism is the possibility that

tolerance will allow the introduction and eventual

acceptance of values that are not only contrary to their

beliefs, but ultimately destructive to society as a whole.

The growth of feminism and sexual permissiveness in society,

both attributed to foreign cultural influence, are seen as

proof that the fears of multiculturalism are well founded.

Christian Nationalists are bound, by culture and tradition,

to a sexual ethic that not only clearly defines the role of

women in society, but also limits sexual contact to very

proscribed circumstances. At the very least, the social

order Christian Nationalists promote requires fairly rigid

codes of behavior. Thus it is threatened by social

movements that seek to expand roles and possibilities for

people who previously had been limited to only specific

positions within society as wives and mothers.

According to Laurence Grossberg, conservatives have to

"...regulate pleasure in order to reestablish the discipline

they believe necessary for the reproduction of the social

order and the production of capital" (Kintz, 1997, p. 57).

By arguing that the traditional family structure with all

its restrictions on roles and behavior is the source of the

economic prosperity that the nation enjoys, Christian

Nationalists can attack a liberal agenda that they believe

promotes too broad a choice of roles for women, and too

tolerant an approach to sexual mores. Christian

Nationalists cite the growing costs of a welfare state which

supports single mothers as proof of the economic impact of

sexual permissiveness. They also cite the social costs of

the high divorce rate and of the neglect of children, and

attribute them in large part to the lack of a submissive,

family driven attitude among women and to the lack of clear

and assertive leadership roles among men.

The Christian Nationalist ideal homogeneous world, as

shown through historical images, provides a better

alternative. Women are spared the pressures and pains of

balancing home life with professional careers. They are

given a clear set of instructions that are tied directly to

the nostalgic first-hand accounts of family picnics and

well-mannered children. People are given clear guidelines

that spare them from the unwanted and often deadly

consequences of sexual licentiousness, and from the

discomfort involved in having to accept close proximity to

alternative sexual lifestyles. Christian Nationalists once

again make a case for the high cost of allowing the growth

of liberal values.

Total Immersion in the Christian Nationalist World

Christian Nationalists not only provide a cohesive and

homogeneous history to people willing to buy into their

world view, they also provide access to educational centers

and mass-media of all types which help to complete the

experience of complete cultural immersion into a cohesive

world of symbols and values. While conservative religious

educational institutions have long history of training

generations of believers in preparation for the roles in

society, the usefulness of the mass media in the promotion

of the Christian Nationalist worldview has only recently

begun to be realized.

One of the purposes the alternative Christian media

serves for Christian Nationalists is as another basis for

contrasts to mainstream secular culture. In The New World

Order, Pat Robertson does a good job of summarizing the

Christian Nationalist understanding of the secular Mass

Media today:

The idea that (the secular) mass media can educate and
inform the moral and mental health needs of children is
really the ultimate farce. Just look at what the mass
media offer our children today! Popular television is
flooded with filth and violence; MTV, VH-1,and pop
radio stations are sewers of obscenity, rebellion, and
violence; pop magazines promote the vilest forms of
pornography and a form of materialism, selfishness, and
greed that has fallen to the lowest levels in human
history (Robertson, 1991, p. 222-23).

In order to counteract the influence of the "liberal media"

on the public's perception of both current and historical

events, Christian Nationalists have founded many different

publications for both local and national audiences. Often,

these magazines and newspapers are given away freely by

organizations crusading to inform the public of the many

conspiracies that they claim to have uncovered. The North

Florida Advocate is an excellent example of such a

publication. In a recent issue, the United Nations, the

federal government, environmentalists, and proponents of

multiculturalism were all implicated in different

conspiracies to place the United States under foreign,

totalitarian control. The newspaper is filled with

editorials, articles, and advertisements depicting a

Christian America under the constant onslaught of anti-

religious and anti-American forces (Derickson, 1997, p. 5).

The whole issue of the war over symbols and the power

that the use of the modern mass media has given Christian

Nationalists, is addressed by Donald Heinz in Liebman and

Wuthnow's The New Christian Right. In the chapter entitled

The Struggle to Define America, Heinz points out that the

creation of a far-reaching Conservative Christian mass media

has allowed Christian Nationalists to free themselves from

the symbolic world of the secular mass media:

With television the New Christian Right gained crucial
access to symbol production. The medium of television
had been the chief means, in the view of the New
Christian Right, through which secular humanism was
being implanted into the public consciousness. Now
they were going to use this medium to tell their own
story, to propagate a countermythology (Heinz, 1983, p.

The countermythology is, in effect, one of the main selling

points of this alternative media form. By comparing itself

to a secular media replete with images of violence and sex,

Christian Nationalists get an easy vehicle to promote the

traditionalist "pro-social" message of their television

programming. Shows that tie into the Christian-America

worldview are shown daily, while commercials that question

America's moral direction are intermingled with ads for

dryer sheets and tires. The evening news covers not only

national and international news from a Christian Nationalist

perspective, but also has sections on familiar health,

finance and human-interest stories as well.

Access to the modern mass-media has allowed extremist

Christian-Nationalist groups to communicate and promote even

more radical messages about satanic and foreign

conspiracies. During purchased cable access hours citizen

groups and religious militias often contrast their "facts"

with those of the secular news. This extremist programming,

along with its more subdued counterparts often direct

viewers to other Christian Nationalist media forms, such as

Christian America history books and books on education,

conspiracy theories and prophesy.

The Christian Nationalist media has spread with

enormous success into the realm of popular fiction. Here a

host of authors write tales of the times of tribulation,

with sinful characters redeeming themselves and joining

other righteous American's in God's crusade against evil

(Diamond, 1998, p. 55). This expansion into an adult market

for fiction is very significant, because it expands the

scope of the Christian Nationalist world. According to

author Sara Diamond (1998):

Christian Fiction plays a role similar to Christian
Music. It entertains in a way that reinforces a
reader's sense of separation from and superiority to
the sinful world while simultaneously keeping the
reader connected to secular affairs. If one were to
read nothing but the Bible and tracts extolling
Christian virtue, one would not feel engaged with the
rest of society. Reading about abortion, adultery, and
government conspiracies is titillating in its own
right. It also keeps one ready to do Christian Battle
when opportunity knocks (p. 56).

Although only a portion of the Christian Nationalist

media complex deals directly with religious and social

issues, that portion is so well integrated with the

mainstream elements of the content and programming that the

historical, political and social imagery becomes familiar

and easily assimilated by viewers and readers. The whole

Christian Nationalist worldview, from history, to views on

morality and explanations for modern evil are communicated

in very reassuring ways through objects that people already

tend to turn to for escape from their everyday lives.


Francis Fukuyama believes that the more rigid aspects

of religious conservatism are more likely than not going to

lead to an increased fragmentation of American society

rather than an increased cohesiveness (Fukuyama, 1999, p.

80). However, he points out that religion is such a powerful

binding force in society, that it is likely to play a

significant role in the reestablishment of social order that

follows the rough transition to the information age. People

will turn to religion. .

. .not necessarily because they accept the truth of
revelation but precisely because the absence of
community and the transience of social ties in the
secular world make them hungry for ritual and cultural
tradition (Fukuyama, 1999, p. 80).

By providing a complete and all encompassing world of

values and traditions replete with history, imagery and

theodicy, Christian Nationalists hope to gain followers who

seek not only firm doctrinary consistency, but also a sense

of shared community and culture. In the eyes of Christian