When a Monster Truck Came Down a Rope Line, Our Country Was Going Down the Tubes: The Story of God Bless America
Casper, Wyo. Tim was running for congress in Wyoming and I saw it while working the rope line at the monster truck rally. A man wearing aGod Bless America T-shirt and a cross around his neck said something when Tim and I and our boys made our way down the line. What followed was an uncomfortable master class in racism and xenophobia as the man decanted the reasons our country is going down the tubes. God Bless America.
The current of Christian nationalism is part of the reason for the ugliness I heard. It had been there all the time. The rope line rant was a mission statement for the disaffected, the overlooked, the frightened. Donald Trump, a candidate who gives a name to a perceived enemy, was an expression of solidarity with people like us who do not look like us. Immigrants are taking our guns. They are bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They are rapists. You are not safe in your home. Religious freedom is on a death row. Vote for me.
The messages worked. In large part, it is my faith community that got them there. I am a white conservative woman in rural America. Raised Catholic, I found that my faith deepened after I married and joined an evangelical church. Tim was in the Wyoming Legislature for eight years, serving in the House from 2008 to 2017). I’ve straddled both worlds, faith and politics, my entire adult life. There was not a lot of daylight between the two.
The belief that America is a Christian nation has changed as a result of the rise of Christian nationalism. Nowadays, a lawmaker does not need to circumspect about using their faith to get votes. It has been a big departure from what I have come to expect from lawmaking. Christian nationalists have changed the look of both the Republican Party and the faith community by compromising the lines between church and government.