SERIES: Christian Nationalism After the Jan. 6 Attack


The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol resulted from a brew of political polarization and economic dislocation fueled by conspiracy theories and nationalist rhetoric. But the events of that day also marked a high tide of white Christian nationalism, a longstanding phenomenon in American religious and political history.

In breaking news stories and commentaries following the attack, Religion News Service exposed how the insurrectionists’ violence was stoked by Christian “prophets” and a suspicion of government fostered by decades-long efforts to politicize evangelical Christianity using its own apocalyptic messages.

Now RNS seeks to report on how the insurgents’ faith connections radicalized them and how faith leaders are responding to the Christian nationalism displayed at the Capitol riot. RNS also seeks to understand how other faith communities, Christian or not, have responded to the attack by supporting a vision of America as pluralistic, multicultural, and egalitarian. This investigation also would take into account other factors that led to the riot, including the pandemic, a severe recession, racial reckoning, and disruptions caused by technological, economic, and social changes that have left many feeling unmoored from the past, anxious about the present, and uncertain about the future.

Through this grant, RNS will develop a series of stories that focus, in both print and multimedia, on houses of worship and their surrounding communities: Catholic, mainline Protestant, and Evangelical churches; mosques; temples; gurdwaras; synagogues, and other religious centers.


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Post-Trump, Christian nationalists preach a theology of vaccine resistance
By Jack Jenkins — September 14, 2021
(RNS) — Recent rallies have intermingled resistance to COVID-19 vaccines with calls for a resurgence of Christian influence.
Inside the fraught effort to create a Christian nationalist internet
By Jack Jenkins — October 19, 2021
(RNS) — Booted from mainstream social media websites, outraged Christian nationalists are creating some of their own.
The Unite the Right rally changed her life. She now wants to defeat white nationalism.
By Yonat Shimron — November 26, 2021
(RNS) — Since that searing summer day four years ago, Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin has devoted herself to better understanding what happened and working to make sure it never happens again.
Since Jan. 6 attacks, spiritual leaders unify to combat Christian nationalism
By Alejandra Molina — January 7, 2022
(RNS) — The Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol drew recent attention to the phenomenon of Christian nationalism, but religious and spiritual leaders acknowledge its existence long before that.
How the Capitol attacks helped spread Christian nationalism in the extreme right
By Jack Jenkins — January 26, 2022
(RNS) — For many in the right-wing extremist fringe, Christian nationalism is becoming a shared language.
The American Renewal Project wants to mobilize pastors for the Republican Party
By Yonat Shimron — November 4, 2022
(RNS) — The goal is to bring Christianity back into the public square.
How the battle over Christian nationalism often starts with homeschooling
By Bob Smietana, Emily McFarlan Miller — December 23, 2022
(RNS) — Some of the most popular homeschool curriculum textbooks teach that the first Europeans to arrive in Virginia and Massachusetts made a covenant with God to Christianize the land.
In fight against ‘tyranny,’ Michigan board declares itself ‘constitutional county’
By Yonat Shimron — May 24, 2023
(RNS) — In drafting the resolution to become a ‘constitutional county,’ commissioners relied on the writings of a Wisconsin pastor who promotes the idea of resistance to civil authorities.