Christian Nationalism

Profiles in Resistance: Vote Common Good

Vote Common Good was founded by Doug Pagitt, a liberal evangelical Christian pastor, author, and religious activist. Pagitt and his organization are outspoken in their efforts to combat legislation that seeks to fundamentally change the landscape of our country and Christianity. They work to boost support among evangelical Christians for liberal policies and encourage the bloc to excercise their faith without the pressure of adhering to party lines: “For many of these voters, their primary commitment is not to switch parties; it is to be faithful to their beliefs and convictions and make the common good their voting criteria.” The effort started in 2018 following a turn in American politics towards Christian Nationalism, spearheaded by a conglomerate of religious organizations influencing policy and emboldened by Donald Trump. Vote Common Good became an avenue for evangelical voters who were disillusioned by Donald Trump’s leadership and the manipulation of Christianity in the 2020 election and following January 6th.

One of Vote Common Good’s most notable campaigns against Christian Nationalism is their billboard campaign, “HisWordsMatter”. They feature the words of Jesus compared with direct quotes from Donald Trump. Additionally, their “March on Christian Nationalism” Campaign, which took place in March 2023, centered advocacy against Christian Nationalism by joining an International conference being held at Oxford, mobilizing voter turnout in swing states like Arizona and across the country, and launching their podcast series centered around Christian Nationalism. Many of the leading voices on Christian Nationalism are featured in their videos and podcasts, such as Andrew Whitehead, Kristin Du Mez, and Rev. Dr. Stephany Spaulding and it has been very successful.

His Words Matter Campaign, Vote Common Good

A transformation in religious and political ideology has taken hold across the nation, Vote Common Good’s impact is visible and their work is grounded in a commitment to democracy and community: “We are dedicated to flipping the script [on]. . . the way we do politics in America. Flipping the script means changing the narrative with under-girded white Evangelical and Catholic reflective support for Republicans who have put other priorities over the common good for a variety of reasons.”

Lorien Touponse is a Senior, English Major, Women Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor. She has a passion for political activism and believes strongly in the separation of Church and State. In her free time she works for the Undergraduate Student Government at UConn as their Director of Student Services and runs initiatives relating to Mental Health, Sexual Health and Food Insecurity on campus. She hopes to become a lawyer to advocate for underserved communities and women’s rights. 

For more information about the organizations and individuals resisting Christian Nationalism in the United States today, check out our Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism project page.

Profiles in Resistance: Repairers of the Breach

Led by Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, a Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and former North Carolina president and national board member of the NAACP, Repairers of the Breach is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) not-for-profit training activists, artists, and faith leaders to organize and mobilize. Their advocacy around a moral policy agenda prioritizing love, truth, and justice thrust them into the conversation regarding Christian Nationalism.

Photo Credit: Pilar Tempane on Flickr

ROTB views religious nationalism, which promotes the view that America was founded on Christian values and should be governed as such, as a “distorted moral narrative” that is “used in defense of regressive public policies.” In order to address systemic injustices through a moral framework, ROTB believes that faith communities can shift the moral narrative to one of love and inclusivity. Religious nationalism runs contrary to their goal of “peace within and among nations, the dignity and wellness of all people, equal protection under the law, and the responsibility to care for our common home.

Photo Credit: Becker1999 on Flickr

ROTB was founded in 2015 with the mission of reclaiming the language of morality from religious extremists that became prominent in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. This effort is carried our through their Moral Fusion Organizing initiative, which supports grassroots and national movements for social change by advocating for multi-identity and multi-issue organizing. By reclaiming the moral language of the public square, ROTB challenges “so-called conservatives” who “hijack the powerful language of faith” in partisan debates. ROTB’s Poor People’s Campaign joins religious leaders of all races and faiths to combat systemic poverty, thereby promoting multiculturalism and cooperation in the face of pressing partisan divides regarding how to address poverty in the United States. Examples of efforts by the Poor People’s Campaign include the Moral March on Washington, teach-ins, and Moral Monday Rallies across the country.

Katherine Dattner is an honors political science major at the University of Connecticut. Her interests include public policy and international relations.

For more information about the organizations and individuals resisting Christian Nationalism in the United States today, check out our Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism project page.

Profiles in Resistance: Jews For a Secular Democracy

Jews for a Secular Democracy is a nationwide initiative of the Society for Humanistic Judaism that began in April 2018. Drawing from Jewish perspectives and pluralistic values, they combine education and community organizing to uphold secularism. They believe Jewish voices and community are necessary to oppose the ongoing elevation of Christian Nationalism.

Jews for a Secular Democracy works to defend Jews’ and other religious minorities’ right to freedom of religion, deconstruct “Judeo-Christian” rhetoric, and maintain separation of church and state. They define Christian Nationalism in tandem with political power and the imposition of Christian doctrine in policy. They specifically highlight attempts to curtail reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and secular public education. Recognizing how legal discrimination has historically been weaponized against the Jewish community, their advocacy aims to prevent similar treatment of others and the roll back of civil rights.

JFASD Michigan Director Nomi Joyrich at Reproductive Rights protest
Jews for a Secular Democracy, Michigan 2022 Ballot Proposals: Deep Dive and Relational Organizing Training with Nomi Joyrich

Jews for a Secular Democracy is headed by Paul Golin. The organization operates chapters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and New York. They are also organizing action in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. They have been involved in many projects, including promoting secular education in New York nonpublic schools and yeshivas with YAFFED and defending reproductive rights through a ballot initiative with the Floridians Protecting Freedom Coalition.

Kojo Aurelien is a Digital Media and Design B.A. and Sociology Alumni of the University of Connecticut. He combined these dimensions in his work for the lab as a social media intern and research assistant.

For more information about the organizations and individuals resisting Christian Nationalism in the United States today, check out our Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism project page.

Profiles in Resistance: Center for Christianity and Public Life

Founded in 2022 by vocal evangelical Michael Wear, the Center for Christianity and Public Life believes that the fate of American democracy rests on the character of Christianity within the country. Wear, now CEO and President, established the organization following his work as a faith adviser to President Barack Obama. The CCPL advocates that Christian resources should be funneled into supporting and bolstering the public good. One of their most prevalent beliefs is that Christians should be helping build healthy civic pluralism within the 21st century. To quote Wear, “We believe that Christianity—its ideas, its institutions, its people—can and must contribute to building a healthier politics and nation for everyone.”

The CCPL is motivated to resolve the cynicism and volatility in modern public life and politics through a combination of public imagination and Christian civic formation. Wear previously led Public Square Strategies, a consulting firm aimed at helping religious and political organizations along with businesses when it comes to handling the modern American religious and political environment. Now, his work focuses more on supporting individual Christians and community leaders rather than companies and groups. The CCPL does not mention Christian Nationalism by name but has continually promoted a pluralistic vision of the United States that opposes Christian Nationalism and its reach.

The organization has three major programs: its annual “For the Good of the Public” Summit, the Public Life Fellowship, and the Young Professionals Network. “For the Good of the Public” aims to bring community leaders together to discuss issues and Christian resources that can contribute to the public good. The Public Life Fellowship Program is an intensive nine-month program offered to a diverse group of Christians regarding the role they can play in faith and public service. The Young Professionals Network, formally known as The Community of Young Christians in Politics (CYCP), is similarly comprised of a diverse group of Christians, however, it specifically focuses on professionals 35 and under to discuss challenges within their faith and career.

Adrish Das is a sophomore Political Science major and Sociology minor at the University of Connecticut.

For more information about the organizations and individuals resisting Christian Nationalism in the United States today, check out our Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism project page.

Profiles in Resistance: Interfaith Alliance

Interfaith Alliance was founded in 1994 to provide an alternative voice to the Religious Right for people of all faiths. The organization aims to uphold the importance of freedom of religion by affirming the Constitution’s protection against any religious group imposing their beliefs on others. It leads several initiatives targeting extremism and threats to religion and democracy, including their initiative Challenging Christian Nationalism.

Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, President and CEO of Interfaith Alliance, leads the “Christian Nationalism is on the Ballot in 2022” briefing

Interfaith Alliance’s campaign against Christian Nationalism was introduced following the January 6th Insurrection. They recognize the danger this rising ideology poses to the general public, and specifically, other Christians. The organization criticizes Christian Nationalism for using Christian symbols and language in service of a political and cultural goal. Interfaith Alliance defines Christian Nationalism as “a cultural framework that conflates American identity with an exclusive form of religious identity… seek[ing] a fusion of religious and civil life – to the detriment of both… [with] anti-democratic notions of white supremacy, nativism, patriarchy, and authoritarianism.”

In September 2022, the president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance, Rev. Paul Raushenbush, led a policy briefing and discussion in Congress. Raushenbush has been present regularly on many panels, forums, and other media outlets to share the contents of a pamphlet resource offering a brief introduction to Christian Nationalism and educating the public on the importance of combatting it to protect democracy.

Emma Harvison is a Senior at the University of Connecticut studying Human Rights and Political Science with minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She is thankful to be part of the Pluralist Resistance Team with the Meaning of Democracy Lab as she continues to study human rights to learn to be a strong advocate for others.

For more information about the organizations and individuals resisting Christian Nationalism in the United States today, check out our Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism project page.

The Pluralist Resistance YouTube Playlist

As our team works to build a comprehensive database of the groups and leaders combatting (White) Christian Nationalism, we have compiled a YouTube playlist of videos created by those involved in this effort. Many of the videos feature experts on Christian nationalism in the US and discuss how people are working to resist its influence nationally and in local communities. 

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Profiles in Resistance: MICAH


Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope was founded upon the idea of bringing different religious denominations together as one voice for justice. The organization includes Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and other religious communities who, as a collective, act towards civic engagement, criminal justice reform, and economic development, among other initiatives.

The We All Belong Campaign originated as part of MICAH’s goal to promote civic engagement and education as a way to push back against Christian nationalism. MICAH identifies Christian nationalism as a dangerous ideology that aims to sow division throughout the United States. Christian nationalism lumps Christian identity and American identity together, which distorts Christian values and marginalizes religious minorities and non-religious people. MICAH focuses on gathering around Martin Luther King Jr.’s Beloved Community, where everyone is loved and respected regardless of religious affiliation.

Photo Credit: MICAH

The Beloved Community believes in the power and necessity of pluralist democracy. This view is consistent with the principles of America’s founding, however, it is actively being undermined by Christian nationalism, which instead prioritizes only those who see Christianity as a favored elite and political class. Standing for democracy means separating church and state, which allows for a diverse acceptance of other religious traditions. Conflating Christianity with American identity erases the history and culture of other religious groups who also view themselves as Americans.

The We All Belong Campaign began with the idea that the religious leaders of various denominations would join with the president of MICAH, Rev. Dr. Richard Shaw, to sign a statement that commits these religious groups to the goals of the campaign: protecting democracy, rejecting Christian nationalism, and building the Beloved Community. To celebrate this commitment, the religious leaders and their community members marched together to Milwaukee’s iconic statue of Martin Luther King Jr., representing the Beloved Community uniting as pictured below.

Photo Credit: MICAH; Rev. Dr. Richard Shaw signing the “We All Belong” Campaign Statement

Yana Tartakovskiy is a junior studying healthcare management and insurance studies major, political science minor. Her interests include healthcare laws and public policies shaping women’s health.

For more information about the organizations and individuals resisting Christian Nationalism in the United States today, check out our Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism project page. 

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. Continue reading

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

The Syllabus

(Alphabetical by author last name – last update: June 10, 2024)

Alberta, Tim. 2023. The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism. Harper.
Almond, Gabriel A., R. Scott Appleby, and Emmanuel Sivan. 2011. Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms around the World. University of Chicago Press.
Boyd, Gregory A. 2007. The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church. Zondervan.

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

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

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

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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. Continue reading