'ROLLING STONE' INTERVIEW ON ALT-RIGHT CHRISTIANITY
Back in November, 2016 I was interviewed by 'Rolling Stone' reporter Sarah Posner about the rise of an alt-right Christianity. Below are her questions and my answers.
Hi Christian, thanks for your reply. I've written out some questions below:
1. Can you pinpoint how this movement of Alt Right Christianity developed, and when? Was it a movement, or a theology, or an ideology before Richard Spencer coined the term Alternative Right, and if so, what did it call itself before the term Alt Right came into use?
Alt Right Christianity is taking new form. Currently, it's a loose group of people, ideas, and theological trends moving in the same general direction. There is at least one strain of Alt Right Christianity that emerged before Richard Spencer coined the term “Alternative Right,” but there are also strains that emerged simultaneously with Spencer’s terminology or since.
2. What would you say is the prevailing theology within this movement? Is it influenced by Christian Reconstructionism, and if so, how? And if so, do you see it as a successor in a way to Christian Reconstructionism? Meaning that not many people call themselves Reconstructionists these days, outside of Chalcedon circles (or at least that's been my observation); does Alt Right Christianity build on Reconstructionism in any way?
At this point, I would identify three major strains of Alt Right Christianity.
The first and oldest is the Reconstructionist/Kinist strain that emerged before the Alternative Right. It traces its heritage to the writings of Rushdooney and those associated with him. This strain is very much attached to Calvinism, agrarianism, localism, and the American South. It is represented by the website Faith & Heritage.
The second is associated with Neo-Reaction (NRx) and general reaction (Rx). This is the least organized strain, but it might be the largest. It seems to have emerged more or less simultaneously with Richard Spencer’s Alt Right terminology. The thinkers associated with Social Matter are a representation of it. In my experience, it's the least systematic of the three strains and not organized as a consistent theology. It can best be described as an outgrowth of a sentiment that hopes to return to pre-liberal social order and monarchy. People who ascribe to this strain are often Catholic or Orthodox.
The last strain is what I describe as identitiarian Christianity. It is the newest and probably the smallest. I belong to this strain. It’s probably the strain most associated with Richard Spencer’s ideology, however, because it draws more on identitarian ideas, but it's unique because it’s founded on a Biblical conceptions of identity and is not necessarily reactionary. It hopes to embrace the modern world and possibly even globalism. It’s represented by Christianityandrace.org.
3. How much of an intellectual/ideological debt does Alt Right Christianity owe to Dabney, and if there is one, can you describe it?
Well, I had to Google Dabney to figure out who he was… if that answers your question. He might be very important to the Kinist Faith & Heritage strand because they're more rooted in the American South and its ideology, but the strain of Alt Right Christianity to which I belong is very removed from the Confederacy and its ascetic. I seriously doubt the reactionary strain of the Alt Right has been influenced by Dabney.
4. Is it a Kinist movement?
As I wrote above, there's a strain of it that is, but there's a large part of Alt Right Christianity which has no association with Kinism. Having said that, many Kinist ideas might emerge accidentally among the different strains because we all have our roots in the Bible and Christian theology.
5. Does it concern you that much of the Alt Right is not religious; for example, Richard has said he doesn't believe in God. What are the shared beliefs/values of an Alt Right coalition that includes Christians and atheists?
It does concern me, and this concern was among the reasons I started doing theological work to demonstrate the compatibility of Christianity with Alt Right ideas. What disturbs me more, however, is that Christians have not embraced the truth contained within many Alt Right messages. Christians should be at the vanguard of telling the truth; and yet, Christians (especially Christian thought leaders) are often among the most out-spoken deniers of truths like race differences in intelligence and temperament. There are many social problems that emerge when society is constructed on large deceptions like racial equality. I feel a strong bond with atheists like Spencer because we both seek to love our people and embrace our identity; even if we disagree about many important issues.
6. How do you see the actual political organizing of the Alt Right playing out over the coming months and years? Do you see Richard as a key leader in that realm? Any others?
Different branches of the Alt Right have different ideas about how we should get involved in politics. At this point, the Alt Right is a metapolitical creature primarily concerned with building an ideology and culture that furthers the interests of our people. Richard Spencer is probably the current de facto leader of the Alt Right, and I’m sure he will continue to play a large part as long as he continues to embrace a “big tent.” I imagine Spencer will seek political office if an appropriate opportunity appears, but that seems fairly far in the future. There are many other potential leaders, but it's too soon to speculate accurately. I imagine the people at Social Matter will continue to lead the reactionary branch of the Alt Right.
7. What is your view of the religious right--meaning the political infrastructure made up of groups like the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, influential megachurches and para-church organizations that focus on Christian involvement in politics, particularly on issues relating to abortion, LGBT issues, religious freedom, and Israel?
Most of these organizations are the objects of ridicule among Alt Right Christians because they're among the most vehement supporters of interracial adoption, immigration, social justice, and “racial reconciliation” initiatives. Many on the Alt Right describe them as “Christian Cucks.” As far as I can tell, much of the religious right has been co-opted by liberal money and have become increasingly associated with the establishment. One example is Russell Moore’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission which is funded by George Soros. Alt Right Christians would love to see this infrastructure converted to a healthier mindset, but we have little hope for that outcome. Typically, Alt Right Christians have a very low opinion of Israel and Zionists Christian ideas.
8. Does Alt Right Christianity find a home in a particular denomination, or would one find Alt Right Christians in a variety of denominations? I know, for example, that James Edwards is a Southern Baptist. But would one find Alt Right Christians in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Reformed, or non-denominational evangelical churches?
You definitely find Alt Right Christians in all denominations, but they tend to cluster (as I outlined above) in the Orthodox, Catholic, and Calvinist traditions. Personally, I'm not a member of any of those traditions. There’s a spread.
9. Are there particular local churches around the country that might be considered Alt Right churches, or whose pastors are Alt Right? If so, can you identify any?
We are a young and growing movement, and we're generally frowned upon by church hierarchies. However, we're working carefully and consistently to plant our ideas within local churches and Christian institutions.
10. Are Alt Right Christians involved in groups like League of the South or Council of Concerned Citizens? Would you consider those groups part of the Alt Right?
The Alt Right doesn’t have clearly defined boundaries. Organizations like the League of the South and Council of Concerned Citizens may or may not be part of the Alt Right, but the Alt Right is primarily a movement among Millennials and I don’t personally know members of those organizations. It's likely the Kinist strand is most associated with them, but they're also the oldest and least Millenial part of Alt Right Christianity.
11. Did you support Trump during the campaign? If so, why/if not, why not? And in any case are you happy he won the election?
I did support Trump, and I was happy he won. America is fracturing along ethnic and religious lines. The time for “principled conservatism” is over. It failed to conserve anything. The Alt Right, including Alt Right Christianity, is beyond the point of being seriously concerned with a candidate’s manner of speech or personal decisions. We vote according to tribe because we know the consequences of allowing our opponents to gain power over us. We have to love our people first and fight the soft genocide facing our identity group.
12. Do you think a Trump presidency would advance the interests of Alt Right Christians? If so, how?
Christians who supported Trump, and felt guilty for it, will start looking inside themselves to explain why they made the political decision they did. They will look to Alt Right Christianity as a way to reconcile their religious faith with the hard realities they face as multiculturalism and diversity continue spreading chaos and social decay around them. Trump will probably have the effect of making white Christians realize they've already subconsciously embraced white identity by voting for the candidate they did. The rise of racial identity among white Christians is among Alt Right Christianity’s key objectives.
13. What do you make of how Trump has surrounded himself by prosperity gospel televangelists -- people like Paula White, Mark Burns, others. Does it seem like his own understanding/practice of Christianity is more in line with this sort of theology than yours? If so, does that concern you?
I don’t get the impression Trump has a clear concept of Christianity or religion. He's accepting the Christian leaders who accept him. I don’t expect Trump to become a theologian or openly embrace the Alt Right. He's a practical calculating man.
14. Finally, I'm very curious: why do you live in China?
I enjoy China. The Chinese people are generally peaceful and intelligent. I have many Chinese friends. In some ways, China is a healthier society than the West. The government does not allow the spread of moral depravity (like homosexuality, pornography, drugs, etc.), and the country is a not very diverse. I have other reasons for being here, but I prefer to keep them private.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer these. I'm looking forward to reading your reply.
You’re very welcome. Good luck with your writing and research.