How White Nationalists Weaponize Christianity To Galvanize The Far-Right

Christian nationalism has reemerged as a central theme among the far-right, marking a departure from previous affiliations with a variety of esoteric and extremist beliefs. This shift was anticipated by some within the white nationalist community after the Charlottesville event, leading to a strategic focus on integrating with Christian conservative groups rather than exploiting existing societal divides.

The America First (AF) movement, under the leadership of Nick Fuentes, has made notable inroads into religious circles, including the New Apostolic Reformation, the Orthodox church, and the Mormon church. This infiltration is characterized by participation in political and religious events, the formation of far-right church groups, and engagement with religious media to sway Christians towards far-right ideologies.

This strategy of “entryism,” a term denoting covert infiltration, was adopted by the Identitarian movement in an attempt to rebrand itself as a conservative movement post-Charlottesville, aiming to embed itself within mainstream spaces under the guise of patriotism.

The origins of the AF movement can be traced back to its leaders’ initial involvement with Identity Evropa and Identitarianism, a far-right ideology with roots in Europe that found its way to the U.S. This movement gained visibility during the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, a pivotal event marked by violence and tragedy. Following Charlottesville, the movement saw a shift in leadership and strategy, with attempts to mainstream its ideology by engaging more with conservative movements and less with overtly extremist rallies.

The rebranding of Identity Evropa to the American Identity Movement and subsequent efforts to align more closely with conservative and Christian nationalist themes illustrate the far-right’s adaptive strategies. Nick Fuentes’s America First media enterprise exemplifies the merging of fascist ideologies with populist conservative politics, leveraging the Trump brand to blur the lines between extremism and mainstream conservatism.

Fuentes and his followers have been active in various forms of social and political disruption, including the so-called “Groyper Wars,” aimed at challenging mainstream conservative figures and organizations. Their tactics have extended to religious spaces, where they push for a far-right shift, and to political actions, such as protests and involvement in the January 6 Capitol riot, indicating a broader ambition to reshape the conservative landscape in America.

The term “America First” itself, with its historical connotations of nationalism and isolationism, has been co-opted by the far-right as a unifying slogan for a movement that seeks to blend white nationalism with Christian identity politics. This movement’s engagement with evangelical and religious communities reflects a strategic effort to influence and mobilize these groups towards their ideological goals.

Recent developments, including the involvement of prominent figures and elected officials with the America First PAC and conferences, signal the movement’s continued efforts to gain legitimacy and influence within the Republican Party and conservative circles. Despite controversies and challenges, the movement’s leaders and influencers continue to advocate for an “America First” agenda that aligns with Christian nationalism and far-right ideologies.

As the movement navigates the complexities of modern American politics, the boundary between mainstream conservatism and white nationalism appears increasingly blurred. With ongoing efforts to integrate these ideologies into the Republican Party and conservative Christian communities, the America First movement represents a significant and contentious force in the current political landscape, with potential implications for future elections and the broader direction of American conservatism.

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