We read the Gab founder’s how-to guide to Christian nationalism. The book is part of a new trend of conservatives openly embracing the ideology.

Share this post
Listen to this article
This Sept. 7, 2020 file photo shows the "Oregon for Trump 2020 Labor Day Cruise Rally" at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Ore.
This Sept. 7, 2020 file photo shows the “Oregon for Trump 2020 Labor Day Cruise Rally” at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Ore.

  • Gab founder Andrew Torba’s book was a best seller on Amazon a week after it was released.
  • The book outlines the authors’ vision for a Christian nationalist society and how to get there.
  • Christian nationalism has been increasingly embraced by conservative figures and GOP lawmakers.

Gab founder Andrew Torba’s new book serves as a guide to Christian nationalism, signaling a recent shift in which it’s becoming more common for public figures to openly embrace the concept.

“Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide For Taking Dominion And Discipling Nations” was written by Torba and Andrew Isker, a pastor from Minnesota. The brief book, which was independently published, was listed as the number 12 best seller in the non-fiction category on Amazon the week after it was released last month. At the time of this writing, it had a 4.7-star rating with 745 reviews.

Christian nationalism can generally be boiled down to the belief that Christianity should have a privileged position in American society.

Though it is not a new concept, prominent conservative figures have increasingly embraced it in recent years. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has openly identified as a Christian nationalist, even selling merch with the descriptor, while Rep. Lauren Boebert has embraced its tenets, saying “the church is supposed to direct the government.”

“Simply put, Christian nationalism is a cultural framework — a collection of myths, traditions, symbols, narratives, and value systems — that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life,” sociologists Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry write in their 2020 book, “Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States.” The book examines how Christian nationalism shapes Americans’ views on society and politics.

However, embrace of the ideology is not black and white but rather a spectrum, with some Americans believing aspects of the concept while rejecting others. Torba’s book demonstrates this, as his description of Christian nationalism differs in some ways from academic understandings of it.

But his central theme is consistent: American society and government should be guided by Christian principles and led by Christians.

Building a parallel Christian society

Torba’s platform, Gab, was founded in 2016 and touts itself as a free-speech social network that does not moderate content like more mainstream sites. It’s also been associated with the far-right, gaining notoriety in 2018 when the shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh posted antisemitic rhetoric on the site prior to carrying out the attack. Many conservatives also flocked to the site in 2021 when former President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter.

“Christian nationalism is a spiritual, political, and cultural movement comprised of Christians who are working to build a Christian society grounded in a Biblical worldview,” Torba and Isker write, adding that Christian nationalists today “seek to reestablish states that recognize Jesus Christ as King, the general Christian faith as the foundation of state government, and state laws that reflect (in every way possible and reasonable) Christian morality and charity.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican of Georgia, speaks during a campaign rally for J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, at The Trout Club on April 30, 2022 in Newark, Ohio. Former President Donald Trump recently endorsed J.D. Vance in the Ohio Republican Senate primary, bolstering his profile heading into the May 3 primary election. Other candidates in the Republican Senate primary field include Josh Mandel, Mike Gibbons, Jane Timken, Matt Dolan and Mark Pukita.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican of Georgia, has said all Republicans should be Christian nationalists.

Such ideas are in step with common understandings of Christian nationalism. However, the book also states that Christian nationalists do not think the US has a special relationship with God, and instead emphasizes the Christian mandate to disciple, or convert, people of all nations to the religion.

The book describes modern American society as one of moral decay, where God has been rejected and agents of Satan have invaded “every facet of our country and culture.” The book says ours is a society in which there has been “half a century of legal infanticide” and a yearly “celebration of sodomy for an entire month,” rejecting abortion rights and gay pride. The authors also defend traditional gender roles and reject transgender people in extreme terms.

These themes resurface repeatedly throughout the book, which also instructs American Christians on how they should live, discuss their faith, and convert others. But rather than seek to transform society into a Christian one, the book advocates for forming a parallel Christian society that can take over when our current society fails, which the authors say is inevitable.

“Our primary goal is to build a parallel Christian society, economy, and infrastructure which will fill the vacuum of the secular state when it falls,” the authors write. The concept is not new for Torba, who often discusses his plans for a parallel Christian economy.

Non-Christians are free to stay — but not serve in leadership roles

The ideal Christian nation described in the book may include some non-Christians, the authors write. But at another point they say “we are Christians and our worldview is in direct conflict and a threat to all other false worldviews. It’s time to start acting like it.”

They also write that leaders and influential figures must be Christian, just as Christian principles must guide every aspect of society, government, and domestic life.

Torba — who has been accused of antisemitism, including by the Anti-Defamation League — and his co-author devote an entire chapter to rejecting the idea of shared “Judeo-Christian” values, calling the term itself a problem. The chapter begins with a message to journalists who they anticipate will “CTRL+F” for “Jews” in order to find quotes to “take out of context,” and is dedicated to ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who are both Jewish.

Torba has previously said that Shapiro — just like anyone who is not Christian, including Jewish people, atheists, or agnostics — is not welcome in the Christian movement.

The authors go on to describe Christianity and Judaism as “incompatible” and “irreconcilable” religions, but write that Jewish people must and will be converted to Christianity along with the rest of the world.

“Far from being ‘antisemitic,’ a proper understanding of this shows heartfelt concern for their souls!” they write, adding Christians “should pray often for the Jewish people to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., addresses attendees during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, July 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican of Colorado, has not openly identified with Christian nationalism but has advocated for some of its key tenets.

The public embrace of a somewhat taboo concept

Scholars of Christian nationalism, and Christian nationalists themselves, are quick to point out these ideas are not new. However, the separation of church and state has long been a widely accepted and mainstream viewpoint in the US.

Many ideals currently being espoused proudly by Christian nationalists were less common in mainstream politics than they have been in recent years, according to Amanda Tyler, the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

“It was always present but the fact that they’re openly embracing the label is different and troubling,” Tyler, the lead organizer of the Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign, previously told Insider, adding: “Unfortunately I’m seeing this almost one-up game in some circles, who can be the bigger Christian nationalist.”

Perry, one of the authors of “Taking America Back for God,” also noted that shift in a tweet that featured Torba’s book, as well as another recently released pro-Christian nationalism title.

“We’re now definitely well past the ‘Christian nationalism doesn’t exist’ and the ‘Christian nationalism is fringe’ arguments to full-on ‘Christian nationalism is the only way forward.'”

Read the original article on Business Insider