American Atheists, an organization promoting religious equality and a member of Humanist International, warned about the likely strategy of white Christian nationalists in 2023 after the midterm elections.
Their warning is based on the organization’s 2022 State of the Secular States report, which comprehensively and thoroughly analyzes secularism and religious equality in all of America’s states and territories, including Puerto Rico and Washington, DC.
How does your state measure up in protecting church-state separation? Join us this evening at 8 pm ET to find out! Not only that, you'll learn what to expect from Christian nationalists in 2023. Register now: https://t.co/MGO5YY9kAC pic.twitter.com/i48RqORpCy
— American Atheists (@AmericanAtheist) January 18, 2023
Alison Gill, the Vice President for Legal and Policy at American Atheists, explained that White Christian Nationalism is unpopular for most Americans, as shown by the defeat of Republican candidates Doug Mastriano and Kari Lake in Pennsylvania and Arizona, respectively. At the same time, Lauren Boebert almost lost in a normally Republican-leaning district in Colorado.
She added that Christian nationalist policies, which include adding a broad religious exemption language to the Arkansas state constitution, failed to pass even in the highly conservative and religious state as proof of how unpopular Christian nationalism is among Americans.
— ELCA Lutherans (@ELCA) November 2, 2022
However, Gill warned that Christian nationalists are slowly taking over the Republican Party, especially in conservative areas across the United States. She also said that while Christian nationalists could not pass extremist bills at a federal level due to Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, they would still attempt to push these bills through Republican-dominated legislatures in various states.
“I’m a proud Christian Nationalist."
-- U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
Christian nationalism, an extreme ideology that's interwoven with white supremacy, used to be way out there on the fringe. Now, 61% of Republicans embrace its core premise.https://t.co/vVWmkfJi5G
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) September 23, 2022
The 2022 State of the Secular States report also provided detailed research and analysis of abortion rights and access across the United States, which have been challenged after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, ending the constitutional right to abortion at a federal level.
These decisions would reportedly affect how state legislatures across the country tackle abortion rights. For instance, Florida is considering a complete abortion ban that would challenge its constitution’s provision protecting abortion rights. Other states could pass personhood bills, giving fetuses constitutional rights from conception.
— NARAL (@NARAL) January 24, 2017
These personhood bills would not only mean limited access to in-vitro (IVF) fertilization and contraception. They would also come with harsh punishments for abortions or even miscarriages. To divert criticism of criminalizing abortion after Dobbs, states seeking to ban abortion would also push to create and fund crisis pregnancy centers, which are fake clinics that force religious propaganda against abortion.
“State abortion bans harm religious freedom. They force a Christian conservative view of abortion upon all the residents of a state,” Brittany Williams, State Policy Counsel for American Atheists, explained. “Patients should have the freedom to make reproductive health choices without being forced to follow someone else’s religious doctrine.”
American Atheists also foresee more Christian nationalist attacks on healthcare and even schools. These attacks include bills allowing hospitals and insurance companies to deny healthcare services based on religious belief, potentially harming patients seeking reproductive care and LGBTQ+ individuals seeking treatment.
We need to put God back into our schools. I strongly support efforts to put prayer back into our K-12 schools. We should be teaching the next generation to love God and our great country. https://t.co/zlFMkYwDrR
— Jim Pillen (@jim_pillen) June 27, 2022
They also include the Supreme Court’s decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which removed some safeguards prohibiting teachers and staff from proselytizing students in public schools. This decision would result in legislation allowing teachers, administrators, and school districts to push religion into schools and impose their religious beliefs on students.