Center for Political Awareness

Cracking the Christian Nationalist Code: A Glossary for the Confused

The Christian right has a clearly anti-democratic agenda — but it's concealed with deliberately confusing terms.

Paula White and Michael Flynn (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

 

While Joe Biden’s support for Israel’s Gaza war has outraged or alienated many would-be supporters, Donald Trump has never expressed even the slightest interest in Palestinian rights. Trump’s allies in the evangelical community — by far his strongest base of support — interpret Middle East politics through a biblical lens that gives Israel title to all the lands from the Nile to the Euphrates — and also sees the apocalypse they believe is coming as desirable. Striving for peace and universal human rights, in their view, goes against God’s will.

A key figure who epitomizes this view is John Hagee, founder and leader of Christians United for Israel, which boasts 10 million members, which is greater than the total population of American Jews. It was founded in 2006 after the publication of Hagee’s book “Jerusalem Countdown,” which asserts that a U.S.-Israel war against Iran is both biblically prophesied and necessary to bring about the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming. Two years later, John McCain rejected Hagee’s endorsement in the 2008 presidential campaign, after a sermon of Hagee’s surfaced describing Hitler as fulfilling God’s will by hastening the return of Jews to Israel. 

But Hagee is just one figure in the still-poorly-understood Christian dominionist movement that’s supporting Trump and MAGA Republicans in general. Their goal is to remake America into a right-wing Christian theocracy. Canadian scholar André Gagné’s recent book “American Evangelicals for Trump: Dominion, Spiritual Warfare, and the End Times” (Salon story here) does much to explain the evangelical wing of that movement, known as the New Apostolic Reformation, drawing on its own own words. 

As I noted in that article, three high-profile NAR leaders — Lance Wallnau, Paula White-Cain and Dutch Sheets — were intimately involved in bringing Trump to power, supporting him and then fighting to keep him in power after the 2020 election. They’re just the tip of the iceberg. Since 2020, Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s short-lived national security adviser, has been a co-leader of the “ReAwaken America Tour,” which is connected to multiple NAR figures, as Jennifer Cohn reported in 2022. Just this month, Salon contributor Frederick Clarkson of Political Research Associates reported on Wallnau’s latest political venture, dubbed the “Courage Tour,” which targets 19 counties that “are going to determine the future of America.”

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