Trump's army of God: Doug Mastriano and the Christian nationalist attack on democracy

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A long article but worth the read.
On May 9, the New Yorker published a feature story by Pulitzer winner Eliza Griswold about Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who could well be the Republican nominee for governor next year, as a flagship example of the swelling power of Christian nationalism within today's GOP. That's an issue I focused on in a 2018 story largely driven by a paper called "Make America Christian Again," co-authored by sociologist Andrew Whitehead. I described this phenomenon as "an Old Testament-based worldview fusing Christian and American identities, and sharpening the divide with those who are excluded from it," and quoted from the paper:

Christian nationalism … draws its roots from "Old Testament" parallels between America and Israel, who was commanded to maintain cultural and blood purity, often through war, conquest, and separatism.

Despite the "Old Testament" slant, this version of Christianity has no room for Exodus 22:21: "You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt," or numerous other biblical passages — which is why Christian nationalism can't be considered synonymous with Christianity per se. Many people in Trump's base perceive it that way, however, as that paper first showed. And Griswold rightly chose Mastriano as a shining — and troubling — example of what that means in practice today.

First elected to the State Senate in a special election in May 2019, Mastriano has quickly gained prominence over the past year, as Griswold explains:

[H]e has led rallies against mask mandates and other public-health protocols, which he has characterized as "the governor's autocratic control over our lives." He has become a leader of the Stop the Steal campaign, and claims that he spoke to Donald Trump at least fifteen times between the 2020 election and the insurrection at the Capitol, on January 6th.

Since Griswold's story was published, Mastriano has claimed to have Trump's endorsement for governor, along with a promise to campaign with him (though a Trump adviser has disputed this), while new evidence casts doubt on his claims of non-involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection. On June 2, he was one of three Pennsylvania lawmakers who toured the Arizona election "audit," calling for the Keystone State to follow suit, the latest front in Trump's effort to delegitimize Biden's election.

Griswold's story is important and compelling, drawing attention to a perennially undercovered phenomenon whose importance is only growing as much of the GOP's traditional issue package has fallen to the wayside — but certainly not its culture war component. Griswold touches base with a wide range of relevant experts, and brings much-needed attention to the under-appreciated power of Christian nationalism within today's GOP, even as Mastriano and others involved with it disingenuously reject that identification.

But right-wing religious politics is so poorly understood by outsiders that any story will inevitably leave a lot out. Beyond that, journalists must navigate layers of deception and denial — reflected in repeated televangelist scandals, for example — that have made the religious right such a perfect epistemic fit for Trump's gaslighting style. That fit, and what lies behind it, was highlighted by retired intelligence analyst James Scaminaci III in a 2017 essay, "Battle without Bullets: The Christian Right and Fourth Generation Warfare." (The confusion of Christian nationalism with Christianity on the one hand and American democracy on the other reflects the main thrust of what "fourth-generation warfare" is all about, as I'll describe below.)

To avoid such deception, the term "Christian nationalism" could be more sharply clarified, to dispense with its adherents' denials. The religious movement Griswold mentions — the New Apostolic Reformation — could be more clearly defined, and doing that can shed light on Christian nationalism's lesser-known, but more nefarious fellow-traveler, Dominionism — a creed that adds two more elements: a belief in "biblical law," as adherents define it, and the religious supremacy of their version of Christianity.

All of these are not just threats to American democracy but are also biblically questionable, to say the least, which should be a focus of primary concern to those they appeal to most strongly. At a more granular level, there's a need to illuminate the groundwork for the emergence of figures like Mastriano that's been laid over time — for example, through the state-level organization of Project Blitz, devoted to passing three tiers of increasingly theocratic laws. It's also important to examine Mastriano's Christian nationalist deceptions prior to entering politics, as well as the role of fourth-generation warfare. Let's consider each of these in turn.
https://www.salon.com/2021/06/12/trumps ... democracy/

Best we remember the words of Lewis Sinclair.- "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis,

Re: Trump's army of God: Doug Mastriano and the Christian nationalist attack on democracy

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they have nothing to do with actual christianity, following the most profane man possible and wearing his symbol emblazoned on their foreheads. they must know this, it's straight from the one book of the bible they prefer over all of the others, which means they know exactly what they're doing and who they are. the army of evil. fortunately,i don't believe in their supernatural mumbo-jumbo. evil is a human trait, and resides in the hearts and minds of man. they have no excuse, there is no devil, only evil men.
never submit! (click "submit" button now.)

Re: Trump's army of God: Doug Mastriano and the Christian nationalist attack on democracy

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lurker wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:24 am they have nothing to do with actual christianity, following the most profane man possible and wearing his symbol emblazoned on their foreheads. they must know this, it's straight from the one book of the bible they prefer over all of the others, which means they know exactly what they're doing and who they are. the army of evil. fortunately,i don't believe in their supernatural mumbo-jumbo. evil is a human trait, and resides in the hearts and minds of man. they have no excuse, there is no devil, only evil men.
:clap2: :clap2: :clap2: Agree.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Trump's army of God: Doug Mastriano and the Christian nationalist attack on democracy

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These religious militant extremists is to Christianity as Al-Qaeda and ISIS were to Islam. Religious nationalism takes many forms but they all prescribe the same solution to all social problems: kill all non-believers.

Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot, led a different form of (non-religious) Nationalism that resulted in the same kinds of blind bloodlust.
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

Re: Trump's army of God: Doug Mastriano and the Christian nationalist attack on democracy

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PA has divided government right now, Republicans control the legislature and Democrats hold the governor's mansion. I don't know PA politics but may be voters like it that way, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have a lot of votes and as Donnie's loss in 2020 showed, all those little counties may go red but metro areas dominate. Too far out for valid polling but something to watch.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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