Project 2025 Part 7: All Church, No State

The US prides itself on its stance on freedom of religion. But what happens when religion is legislated?

Project 2025 Part 7: All Church, No State
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This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Project 2025

One thing I’ve been hesitant to cover is how Project 2025 intertwines religion, education and government. I understand that religion can be a contentious issue. Some are happy to have religion in schools while others are not, some are happy for people to wear religious symbols while others think they should be banned from the workplace.

I’m not here to debate these things as it would take away from the contents of “Mandate For Leadership” and dilute the discussion we’re having.

Religion is down to the individual and I am not here to judge nor be judged, I am just trying to provide a balanced view of the contents of the manifesto.

The problem is that Project 2025 removes that choice from you: they are literally going to legislate everyone in America into a Christian way of life – well, what Project 2025 views as “Christian” at least.

The Mandate is written from a very privileged (white) Christian viewpoint with a nod to Judaism on occasion whereas Islam is conflated with terrorism[1]Mandate For Leadership, Page 275 and “brutal” theocracy[2]Mandate For Leadership, Page 180.

As you read the Mandate, it becomes abundantly apparent what the religious agenda of Project 2025 is: Protect Americans from non-Christian religions by framing Islam as Terror and ignoring the fact that 1.2 billion Hindus[3]Wikipedia: Hinduism by country and 500 million Buddhists[4]Wikipedia: Major Religious Groups (among countless other religions of course) exist.

Christian Nationalism Disguised As Policy

There’s no doubt that Project 2025 is aiming to place into law certain “protections” to further Christian values, the question is: Why?

At the heart of the policy lies “Christian Nationalism”, the idea that a America’s very sense of self is defined by the religious beginnings of the country and that if you allow other religions and beliefs to flourish your national identity will cease to exist[5]Christianity Today: What Is Christian Nationalism?.

Christian Nationalism isn’t to be confused with a theocratic regime[6]ThoughtCo: What Is Theocracy? Definition and Examples, the elected President of the United States is no closer to God than John Doe down the street. Instead Christian Nationalism is an extreme form of (usually white) Christianity that instils a sense of superiority in those who follow traditional Christian family values meaning they are better than everyone else (read: LGBTQIA+, non-Christian, non-white).

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Through legislation, Project 2025 aims to bring their Christian values to the rest of America whether they like it or not:

God ordained the Sabbath as a day of rest, and until very recently the Judeo-Christian tradition sought to honor that mandate by moral and legal regulation of work on that day…. Congress should encourage communal rest by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)9 to require that workers be paid time and a half for hours worked on the Sabbath. That day would default to Sunday, except for employers with a sincere religious observance of a Sabbath at a different time[7]Mandate For Leadership, Page 589

So you might think that an mandated day off or extra pay is a good thing, and maybe it is. But what if the only apprenticeship available in your area was run by a religious group who, due to Project 2025’s pro-discrimination legislation, can refuse to allow you access to it?

America has a long history of religious organizations working to advance the dignity of workers and provide them with greater opportunity, from the many prominent Christian and Jewish voices in the early labor movement to the “labor priests” who would appear on picket lines to support their flocks. Today, the role of religion in helping workers has diminished, but a country committed to strengthening civil society must ask more from religious organizations and make sure that their important role is not impeded by regulatory roadblocks or the bureaucratic status quo.

Encourage and enable religious organizations to participate in apprenticeship programs, etc.
Both DOL and NLRB should facilitate religious organizations helping to strengthen working families via apprenticeship programs, worker organizations, vocational training, benefits networks, etc.[8]Mandate For Leadership, Page 595

And even if you don’t want to live by “traditional” family values, they’ll mandate that you do at the Federal level:

At the heart of The Conservative Promise is the resolve to reclaim the role of each American worker as the protagonist in his or her own life and to restore the family as the centerpiece of American life… The Judeo-Christian tradition, stretching back to Genesis, has always recognized fruitful work as integral to human dignity, as service to God, neighbor, and family…. our federal labor and employment agencies have an important role to play… ultimately encouraging wages and conditions for jobs that can support a family[9]Mandate For Leadership, Page 581

Why Is Project 2025 Promoting Christian Nationalism?

According to data from the Pew Research Center[10]Pew Research Center: Modeling the Future of Religion in America, in the 1970s 90% of Americans classed themselves as “Christian”, by 2020 that figure was down to 64%.

From 2015 onwards, thanks to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign, othering people[11]VeryWellMind: How Othering Contributes to Discrimination and Prejudice became mainstream. Comments that were once considered abhorrent became acceptable: All migrants were rapists, all members of the LGBTQIA+ community were pedophiles and it was completely normal to mock disabled people[12]BBC News: Donald Trump under fire for mocking disabled reporter.

Because of this shift in societal norms[13]Simply Psychology: Examples Of Social Norms & Societal Standards: Including Cultural Norms, groups like the Proud Boys[14]BBC News: Proud Boys and antifa – who are they and what do they want? felt as though they could act with impunity, as seen through their actions on January 6th 2021[15]BBC News: Capitol riots timeline: What happened on 6 January 2021?. This was the start of the rise in popularity of the Christian Nationalism movement[16]Pulitzer Center: How the Capitol Attacks Helped Spread Christian Nationalism in the Extreme Right as their chants of “Christ Is King” while dressed in MAGA and “America First” paraphernalia were broadcast across the nation, and the world.

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But surely, if you purport to follow the teachings of the Gospel – one of peace, love and acceptance – then surely taking part in violence or hatred of any kind should be antithetical to your Christian beliefs? Apparently not.

“For decades now, evangelical devotional life, evangelical preaching and evangelical teaching has found a space to promote this kind of militancy.[17]Religion News Service: For insurrectionists, a violent faith brewed from nationalism, conspiracies and Jesus
Kristin Kobes Du Mez
History Professor, Calvin University

Christian Nationalism And Donald Trump

The Christian Nationalist movement was a way for various different evangelical and other Christian groups to coalesce under a single Pro-Donald Trump banner, and by acting in the name of Jesus, Trump and their Country they were attempting to protect democracy, not undermine or overthrow it[18]The New York Times: How White Evangelical Christians Fused With Trump Extremism.

It’s easy to see where the cult-like behaviour stems from: They believe in God, they believe in their Country and they believe that Trump represents the two of these belief systems in a form of symbiotic relationship. They see Trump as the only way to restore the traditional Christian, and therefore American, values that have been eroded by the spread of “gender ideology”, “wokeism” and rampant immigration.

In return, Trump panders to this belief, framing his speeches around these fears, and as a result this became part of the core tenet of Project 2025.

In the final part we’ll wrap things up by taking a look at how fake news and false narratives dominate policy and what you can do to stop it.

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References

References
1 Mandate For Leadership, Page 275
2 Mandate For Leadership, Page 180
3 Wikipedia: Hinduism by country
4 Wikipedia: Major Religious Groups
5 Christianity Today: What Is Christian Nationalism?
6 ThoughtCo: What Is Theocracy? Definition and Examples
7 Mandate For Leadership, Page 589
8 Mandate For Leadership, Page 595
9 Mandate For Leadership, Page 581
10 Pew Research Center: Modeling the Future of Religion in America
11 VeryWellMind: How Othering Contributes to Discrimination and Prejudice
12 BBC News: Donald Trump under fire for mocking disabled reporter
13 Simply Psychology: Examples Of Social Norms & Societal Standards: Including Cultural Norms
14 BBC News: Proud Boys and antifa – who are they and what do they want?
15 BBC News: Capitol riots timeline: What happened on 6 January 2021?
16 Pulitzer Center: How the Capitol Attacks Helped Spread Christian Nationalism in the Extreme Right
17 Religion News Service: For insurrectionists, a violent faith brewed from nationalism, conspiracies and Jesus
18 The New York Times: How White Evangelical Christians Fused With Trump Extremism
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