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Christian Nationalism Rejected in Some Races, Others Still Counting Votes

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In the aftermath of Election Day 2022, one thing is certain: Americans across the country are rejecting Christian nationalism. Our nation is strengthened through religious and cultural diversity and, in 2023, our leaders will more closely reflect our communities in meaningful ways. In the coming months, it’s up to all of us to draw on this momentum to defeat anti-democratic forces and build a future where everyone can thrive.   

Voters Affirm the Freedom to Make Choices About Our Own Reproductive Futures

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reversed long standing constitutional protections around abortion under the right to privacy. Many of these fights have now moved to the state level, including five states where the freedom to make our own reproductive decisions were on the ballot. 

Researchers consistently found that access to abortion drove many voters – especially young people – to the polls. And in every state where reproductive freedom was on the ballot, further restrictions on abortion were defeated. In Kentucky a ballot measure prohibiting any state right to abortion was roundly rejected while Michigan voters chose to affirmatively protect “the fundamental right to reproductive freedom” under the state constitution. Across race, faith, and place, voters affirmed that decisions about whether and when to start a family are deeply personal and should remain in the hands of the person seeking care.     

Pennsylvanians Reject Christian Nationalist Candidate for Governor

A growing number of politicians are embracing Christian nationalism but few have been as unapologetic in their extremist worldview as Republican nominee Doug Mastriano. Governor-elect Josh Shapiro defeated Mastriano after the former state senator insisted that “We have the power of God with us. We have Jesus Christ that we’re serving here….In November, we’re going to take our state back. My God will make it so.”

Mastriano senior legal advisor, Jenna Ellis, also questioned Shapiro’s faith tweeting Josh Shapiro is “at best a secular Jew in the same way Joe Biden is a secular Catholic.” Article VI of the Constitution prohibits any religious test for office. The Founding Fathers outlined a variety of qualifications for public office, including age, citizenship and residency.  But they specifically exempted religion from qualifying or disqualifying a candidate. The faith tradition of a candidate is not a legitimate litmus test for determining the candidate’s suitability for public office. Questioning the legitimacy of a candidate’s faith implies one right way to be religious and in public office. That violates religious freedom and the principles of democracy we are called to protect. 

Protecting our Democratic Processes 

Interfaith Alliance mobilized people of all faiths and none nationwide to challenge Christian nationalism ahead of the midterms, gathering leading experts for a Capitol Hill briefing in September to sound the alarm, launching a pledge urging voters to reject this dangerous ideology, and producing resources to educate the public on the origins and ideological underpinnings of the Christian nationalist movement. 

In Michigan, and many other states, voters recognized the threats to democracy posed by conspiracy theorists and far right extremist candidates. When faced with candidates that questioned the validity of the 2020 election, they chose to support integrity. Our election system worked because we showed up for one another and our common ideals. Now we must move forward together. 

Learn more about Interfaith Alliance’s efforts to combat hate and discrimination.