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Encore: "The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism"


This conversation originally aired on Nov. 20, 2022.

Christian Nationalism in the United States is a political and cultural ideology that seeks to merge American identity with a particular vision of Christianity. It asserts that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation and that its laws and policies should reflect Christian values.

While the concept of Christian Nationalism has been a recurring theme throughout American history, often emerging more prominently during times of societal change, recent polling shows a significant increase in support for it, particularly among Republicans.


According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 55% of Republicans polled earlier this year identify as adherents to or sympathizers of Christian Nationalism. PRRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education organization that conducts public opinion polls, specializing in the quantitative and qualitative study of political issues as they relate to religious values.

In our modern political landscape wedge issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, trans rights, and Critical Race Theory have become almost central to political discourse, and our guest today says this is very much by design — and all part of an effort to advance Christian Nationalism in this country.

Katherine Stewart is an investigative reporter and author whose work focuses on issues around religious liberty, politics, policy, and education. Her work appears in the New York Times op ed, on NBC, in the New Republic, and in the New York Review of Books.

She began focusing on these issues more than a decade ago after the public school her child attended began hosting what are called ‘Good News Clubs’ that work to convert children to fundamentalist Christianity while creating the false impression that their activities are endorsed by the school. That led to her 2012 book “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.”

In her latest book, "The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism" Stewart lays out how the Religious Right in the United States has portrayed itself as a social movement focusing on cultural issues, but is actually a well-organized political movement that has evolved into a Christian nationalist movement that seeks to gain political power and to impose its vision on all of society.

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