Democrats Pass Resolution Condemning ‘White Religious Nationalism’ - Word&Way

Democrats Pass Resolution Condemning ‘White Religious Nationalism’

(RNS) — The Democratic National Committee has passed a resolution condemning “white religious nationalism,” declaring that “theocracy is incompatible with democracy and religious freedom.”

The resolution was approved over the weekend as Democratic Party officials gathered in Philadelphia for their winter meeting. The resolution, put forward by more than 30 co-sponsors from across the country, linked forms of religious nationalism to racist ideologies, arguing that “one of many heinous elements of white nationalism is its perversion of religion to make their hateful message more palatable.”

The authors noted that faith leaders from across the religious spectrum have condemned religious nationalism — particularly Christian nationalism or white Christian nationalism — in recent years. They said its influence was visible during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison, center left, stands for the Pledge of Allegiance during the Democratic National Committee winter meeting, Feb. 4, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

“White religious nationalism has used the cover of patriotism to foment and inflame hate by providing cover for racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and islamophobia,” the resolution read in part.

The document, first reported by the Friendly Atheist Substack newsletter, went on to draw connections between religious nationalism and the Republican Party. The resolution implicitly linked the ideology to various conservative efforts, including the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision last summer by the Supreme Court.

Michael Bearfoot, a Democratic delegate from Minnesota who submitted the resolution, celebrated its passage.

“White religious nationalism has an end goal of a white religious state,” Bearfoot said in a statement to Religion News Service. “This has no place for me as a black pagan. This is why I was proud to introduce this resolution and was happy that it passed.”

Sarah Levin, who co-chairs of the DNC Interfaith Council as a secular representative, also praised the document.

“Since he was elected, President Biden has been warning Americans about the threats to our democracy on multiple fronts,” Levin said in a statement. “White Christian nationalism should be at the top of that list, and for the sake of our democracy, it’s time to call it what it is.”

She later added: “By recognizing the connection between this movement and the broad-ranging attacks on nearly everything Democrats are fighting for, this resolution puts those of us who believe in democracy, freedom and religious pluralism in a stronger position to join forces.”

The resolution comes as voices supporting Christian nationalism have grown louder. Traditionally expressed through a spectrum of ideologies, calls for a Christian nation and for restrictions on non-Christian groups seem to have brought together several extremist groups.

Some variations, such as the variety trumpeted by Andrew Torba, head of the controversial conservative social media website Gab, have been widely condemned as antisemitic.

The DNC’s concern comes months after online personality and white nationalist Nick Fuentes was reported to have dined with former President Donald Trump in the company of the rapper Ye, also known as Kanye West.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who spoke at a conference organized by Fuentes last year, is among a handful of prominent Republicans who openly identify with Christian nationalism. Greene has called for the GOP to become the “party of Christian nationalism.”

When RNS polled more than 50 prominent Republicans to ask if they had any reaction to Greene’s rhetoric last year, only two — Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina — responded. The lawmakers, both of whom are Christian, appealed to the value of the separation of church and state.