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The Christian Nationalist Bogeyman

A shoddy but prestigious survey paints ordinary believers as insurrectionists-in-waiting.

Congress Holds Joint Session To Ratify 2020 Presidential Election

Is Christian nationalism a growing threat to American politics? A survey conducted by the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) purports to find out, determining how many Americans are Christian nationalists and identifying other beliefs correlated with Christian nationalism. Unfortunately, the survey has a number of flaws, which have been exacerbated by problematic interpretations offered by the researchers overseeing the project. They inflate the number of so-called Christian nationalists, exaggerate the danger these people pose, and downplay data that contradict their intended political message. 

The primary failing of the Brookings/PRRI survey is that it misidentifies many normal Christians as Christian nationalists. Christian nationalism is often portrayed as a theocratic attempt to impose Christianity on Americans at swordpoint. Yet here are the statements the institutions use to measure adherence to Christian nationalism:


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