Wrapped in the flag and waving the Cross

Jack Posobiec speaks at the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida on July 16, 2023. Photo by Gage Skidmore, available via Wikimedia Commons.

Jim Nelson is a retired Montana Supreme Court justice.

It has been said that: “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving the cross.”

Early signs are visible in the U.S. right now. For example, at the Conservative Political Action Convention’s recent annual meeting, right-wing conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec proclaimed during a panel discussion, “I just wanted to say, welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on January 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it and replace it with this right here.”

Posobiec then held up a Christian cross on his necklace, adding, “That’s right, because all glory, all glory is not to government, all glory is to God.”

Shocked? The Christian nationalist convention-goers weren’t. Rather, Posobiec’s statements met with rousing applause and a hearty “Amen” from the panel’s moderator, Steve Bannon.

And then there’s the recent Alabama Supreme Court decision that embryonic cells waiting to be used as implants for in vitro fertilization are children and, if injured or destroyed, are subject to the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

In his opinion concurring with the court’s decision, Alabama’s Chief Justice Tom Parker declared that Alabamans have adopted the “theologically based view of the sanctity of life” and that “human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God.” 

In an interview on a QAnon conspiracy theorist’s show, Parker stated that “God created government” and that it was “heartbreaking” that “we have let it go into the possession of others.” The chief justice went on to espouse the “Seven Mountains Mandate,” which dictates that Christians must take over the “seven mountains” of American life, including: religion, family, education, media entertainment, business and government. He further noted that “we’ve abandoned those Seven Mountains and they’ve been occupied by the other side. God “is calling and equipping people to step back into these mountains right now.”

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a self-proclaimed Christian nationalist, has claimed the United States is a Christian nation and requires a “biblically sanctioned government.”

In point of fact, however, America is neither a Christian nation nor is Christianity our country’s official, state-sanctioned religion. Indeed, the Constitution’s text and our Country’s constitutional history unequivocally support the opposite.

The First Amendment plainly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free excise thereof. Montana has the same preclusions in our Constitution. Article II, section 5 states: “Freedom of Religion. The state shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (Editor’s note from Laura Belin: Article I, Section 3 of Iowa’s constitution similarly states, “The general assembly shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”)

Yet, Christian nationalist commentators, politicians, and jurists proclaim these false ideologies and doctrines. They ignore the truth that the Constitution not only does not support those, but was carefully drafted to ensure that America was birthed and would thrive as a religiously neutral republic.

So, why do these Christian nationalists peddle these lies and toxic ideologies?

They do so to acquire power and wealth—the two most anti-Christian and corrupting ambitions in the cosmos. They do so because this is exactly what venal men and women do when they follow the script from the authoritarian’s playbook, in the vile tradition of Mussolini, Hitler, Putin and Orbán.

They do so because they have given over their minds, souls and their very characters to a self-appointed dictator; to one who has proclaimed himself to be “the chosen one.” For them, Donald J. Trump is like the new Messiah—the demigod before whom they must bow, seek his blessing, and genuflect to kiss his ring.

Indeed, these reactionaries, these faux patriots are infecting America with fascism; wrapped in the flag and waving the cross.

About the Author(s)

Jim Nelson

  • what's the evidence that folks like Justice Alito or speaker Johnson

    are in it for something other than their faith in, and service to, their God and by what measure could we say (that wouldn’t be imposing our own theology on fellow citizens) that they are wrong about this let alone “anti-Christian”?