Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism

This team is assisting Dr. Braunstein with the development of a database of groups and leaders working to combat Christian Nationalism in the United States.

Do you know of groups and leaders we should consider for the database? Contact Dr. Braunstein @ ruth.braunstein@uconn.edu.  

Updates on Our Work

Coming Soon: Profiles in Resistance

Well, that’s a wrap on Fall 2023. This semester has flown by, but the Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism team here at the Meanings of Democracy Lab has gotten a huge amount of work done, and we are looking forward to sharing more with you in the coming months.

In addition to our work compiling a database of organizations resisting Christian Nationalism in the US today and developing a Pluralist Resistance Syllabus for interested readers, each member of the research team has selected one organization to be the subject of a profile focusing specifically on their efforts to resist CN.

We will be rolling out these Profiles in Resistance in the new year, and hope you will follow along as we do so. In the meantime, please be in touch with suggestions of other organizations or leaders whose work we should be following.

Speaker Mike Johnson and the Influence of Christian Nationalism

Graphic: Kojo Aurelien; Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Last month, Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana replaced Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives, making him third in line to the Presidency. Since his election, experts have weighed in on the role religion plays in the Speaker’s life and political views, and his embrace of many ideas associated with White Christian Nationalism.

Last week, Meanings of Democracy Lab Director Dr. Ruth Braunstein contributed to this conversation with a focus on the Speaker’s longtime concerns about Christian persecution, and how a mounting sense of embattlement has contributed to the radicalization of many white evangelical Christians in the US.

Mike Johnson embodies evangelicals’ embattlement strategy. It may be backfiring, by Ruth Braunstein

Interested in learning more? We’ve curated 10 additional articles featuring experts on religion and politics diving deeper into who Johnson is and why this matters. (more…)

The Pluralist Resistance Syllabus

As our team begins its work to build a comprehensive database of the groups and leaders combatting (White) Christian Nationalism, we have compiled a list of books that are part of this effort. Some of these have been written by groups and leaders engaged in this work. Others are referenced in public discussions about the dangers of WCN for American democracy and Christianity. Finally, others are academic texts that expand our understanding of the history and current nature of WCN in the US. 

NOTE: This is a working document, and we invite you to submit suggestions for additions to Dr. Ruth Braunstein at ruth.braunstein@uconn.edu.


The Syllabus

(Alphabetical by author last name – last update: December 31, 2023)

Alberta, Tim. 2023. The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism. Harper.

Brockschmidt, Annika. 2021. Amerikas Gotteskrieger: Wie Die Religiöse Rechtedie Demokratie Gefährdet. Originalausgabe ed. Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag.

Braunstein, Ruth. 2017. Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Butler, Anthea D. 2021. White Evangelical Racism. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 

Cooper-White, Pamela. 2022. The Psychology of Christian Nationalism: Why People are Drawn in and how to Talk Across the Divide. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. (more…)

Who is the Pluralist Resistance? Criteria for inclusion

This semester our team is starting to build a comprehensive database of the groups and leaders working to combat (White) Christian Nationalism. We call this loosely defined set of groups and leaders the Pluralist Resistance.

We define this field broadly, recognizing that this work is happening across numerous institutional fields; across party lines; across religious, racial and other social divides; and from the local to the transnational level.

Nonetheless, in an effort to create some boundaries around the field, we have identified five criteria for inclusion. Efforts need to fulfill at least one in order to be considered part of this field. (more…)

Christian nationalists have provoked a pluralist resistance

Meanings of Democracy Lab Director, Dr. Ruth Braunstein, has published a new essay at Religion News Service arguing that though the resurgence of Christian Nationalism in American politics has rightfully raised public concern, there is another, relatively untold, side of this story: The most recent rise of Christian nationalism has ignited a wave of resistance. 

According to PRRI, Americans who have heard of Christian nationalism are twice as likely to hold a negative than a positive view of the term. These Americans also reject the specific ideas associated with the ideology. Indeed, the 3 in 10 Americans that PRRI found who align with Christian nationalism to some degree are opposed by nearly the same percentage (29%) who completely reject the ideas associated with Christian nationalism. Another 39% is skeptical.

Most importantly, these Americans are joining a growing movement I call the pluralist resistance. They are taking action through a diverse set of organizations that each tackles a different dimension of Christian nationalism’s influence.

(more…)