How Big Christian Nationalism Was Courted in Northern Idaho

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In early February 2023, a single barn stands in the heart of the Redoubt region of the United States near the Idaho-Washington border. RNS Photo: Jack Jenkins

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (RNS) — Congressman earlier this month. marjorie taylor greenBefore she spoke, a local pastor and former Idaho representative named Tim Remington A person cheered the crowd up by wearing an American flag-themed tie.

Green’s remarks lasted nearly an hour and touched on a variety of topics important to her far-right fans. For example, her claims that the 2020 election was “stolen,” her sympathy for those arrested for participating in attacks on the U.S. Capitol, and her opposition to mandatory vaccines.

She then argued that Democrats in Washington had abandoned God and the truth, specifically the “sword” of biblical truth, which she said “would hurt you.”

The entire room of partisans applauded, sometimes shouting “Amen!”

This event may be the closest ever to Green’s vision for the Republican Party.political party of Christian nationalismA particularly ardent ideological embrace of the Idaho Panhandle was Green, who sold t-shirts that read “Proud Christian Nationalist,” urging counties with fewer than 67,000 Republican voters to speak about biblical truth. It might explain why we traveled over 2,300 miles.Discuss Christian nationalismNorthern Idaho, offers a window into what an attempt to really reveal a right-wing vision of Christian America looks like, and the power it can wield in state politics.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green speaks at the Kootenay County Republican Central Committee Lincoln Day event in Coeur d’Alene, screen grab

Northern Idaho has long been known for ultra-liberal, apocalyptic “preppers” and white supremacist groups. They claim that they have retreated into the region’s vast frozen lakes and wild forests to wait for American society to collapse, and control what remains.

But in recent years, the state’s existing separatists have been joined by conservatives fleeing the bluer West, opportunistic faith leaders, property developers and, most recently, those opposing COVID-19 restrictions and vaccines. I am joining. Few arrived with a Christian nationalist banner, but many were quick to adopt ideological aspects to advance conservative causes and seek the power of unity.

The origins of Northern Idaho’s relationship with contemporary Christian nationalism can be traced to a 2011 blog post published by survivalist author James Wesley, Rawles (comma is his addition). His 4,000-word paper in Rawles, entitled “The American Redoubt — Move to the Mountain States,” asked conservative supporters to pursue an “exit strategy” out of the liberal states and to “safeguard” the American Northwest. She called on people to move to “safe havens”, especially Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Eastern Oregon and Washington. He called the imaginary region “the bulwark of America” ​​and cited Christianity as the pillar of the future society.

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A proposed American redoubt area in the northwestern United States. RNS graphics

“I am sure this short essay will generate a lot of hate mail and people will brand me as a religious separatist,” he wrote. ideologist, but religious rather than racial.”

With the exception of orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews, Lawless said they would also be welcomed into the redoubt because they “share the same moral framework” as conservative Christians. But the post, which has been updated many times since, concludes with a list of “prepper-friendly” congregations in the Reformed Church tradition (Rawls is a Reformed Baptist).

“In dire times, with a few exceptions, the only thing that remains law-abiding is the fear of God,” wrote Rawls, who declined to be interviewed for this article.

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