By Mark Ellis –
A guest with an unlikely pedigree launched an angry, hate-fueled tirade against conservative American Christians, contending they are essentially fascist, racist, and anti-Semitic.
“This week in Washington is a group meeting of Christian leaders, ‘Pray, Vote Stand,’ at which Marjorie Taylor Greene, Donald Trump, DeSantis, and the rest of the crew will all speak. And this same group is very much allied these days with Viktor Orban of Hungary, who has established a kind of Christian nationalism, white nationalism there,” Frank Schaeffer told Joy Reid of MSNBC on September 12th.
Host Reid concurred with Schaeffer, stating that the Republican Party has essentially embraced Christian nationalism: “While they claim to use Christian values to justify their extremist policies, almost none of what they stand for is actually based on the teachings of (Jesus Christ),” she said.
Christian nationalism seeks to legislate civil and criminal laws that reflect a Christian world view.
“What your viewers have to understand is that white nationalism and Christian nationalism have marched hand in hand since the 14th century,” Schaeffer told Reid, broadening the attack to infer that conservative Christians are also racists. “But the American Christian nationalists, the white nationalists, this amalgam of people who are now trying to stop the teaching of black history, rollback rights for women and gay folks, who are trying to put us back in a position of ignoring our own racist history, as if we can blot it out, are very much in line with the history of Christian conquests.”
Schaeffer asserted that a distasteful coalition is attempting to impose authoritarian government on the United States. “Let’s just remember something, Viktor Orban, who is the friend of all these people, a big fan of Tucker Carlson, who quotes him all the time and invites him over, has started to move his country towards an authoritarian model that Fox News, Tucker Carlson, the Republican Party, Donald Trump, all these others want to emulate here in America.
If these people and organizations are all aligned – marching toward authoritarianism — why did Fox News fire Tucker Carlson?
Then Schaeffer crossed the rhetorical line by calling for a harsh response to put down the perceived threats in his mind. “This is now, and it is going to repeat here in the United States, unless we crush — and I choose that word advisedly — this snake in our midst of a combination of racism, white supremacy, which you pointed out so well…and the rise of Christian nationalism — this is all one and the same reactionary movement.”
“These people are holding hands across the distance in history, which as you rightly point out is not so long ago. With the slave trade, they are rolling us back into an era where what was unthinkable even 20 or 30 years ago in America is now becoming thinkable.”
Then Schaeffer added Elon Musk to his enemies list. “It is no, it is no coincidence that there’s also a rise of antisemitism. That in Elon Musk, for instance, today we have echoes of Henry Ford in 1920, who started an antisemitic newspaper railing against Jews. These things all go together: white nationalism, Christian nationalism, antisemitism. This is the world the Republican-Trump-cult has brought us and every American who loves their country must stand up and fight these people with tooth and nail.”
At the beginning of the interview, Joy Reid introduced Frank Schaeffer as a film director, screenwriter and author of Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God (published 2014).
Many in the audience, however, may not have known him as the son of the highly esteemed evangelical theologian, philosopher, and author, who, along with his wife, Edith, founded the L’Abri community in Switzerland.
While Frank Schaeffer was a conservative evangelical Christian in his youth, he went through a metamorphosis in the 90s, leaving his Presbyterian Calvinist roots, joining the Eastern Orthodox Church, and ultimately becoming a liberal Democrat and a self-described Christian atheist.
In 2014 he told the Huffington Post that even though he attends church every weekend and prays, “I do not always believe, let alone know, if God exists. I do not always know he, she, or it does not exist either, though there are long patches in my life when it seems God never did exist.”
Schaeffer has said he would like to “unhook [young Evangelicals] from allegiance to the Bible”.