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Op/ed: UMD Poll Shows Republicans Support Declaring the U.S. a Christian Nation

Most GOP Voters Say Such a Move Would Be Unconstitutional, But Still Endorse It

By Stella Rouse and Shibley Telhami

American flag with cross-shaped ray of light

Most Republicans support the idea of an official Christian identity for the country, a UMD poll found.

Photo by iStock

Declaring the United States a “Christian nation” is a message that Republicans could broadly embrace in the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential race, a new University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll found.

But the two government and politics professors leading the poll—Stella Rouse, poll associate director, and Shibley Telhami, its director—wrote in Politico on Wednesday that the results also reveal the limits to the message’s appeal. Over the long term, as the demographics of the country shift and new generations of Republicans come to the fore, Christian nationalism could become a “political loser,” they say.

Christian nationalism, a belief that the United States was founded as a white, Christian nation and that there is no separation between church and state, is gaining steam on the right.

Prominent Republican politicians have made the themes critical to their message to voters in the run up to the 2022 midterm elections. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, has argued that America is a Christian nation and that the separation of church and state is a “myth.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia hard-liner, declared: “We need to be the party of nationalism and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian Nationalists.” Amid a backlash, she doubled down and announced she would start selling “Christian Nationalist” shirts. Now Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to be flirting with Christian nationalist rhetoric, as well.

Read the rest, including details about the poll, in Politico.



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