Mainstream conservatives who lament that the evangelicals who form Trump’s most fervent supporters have “lost their way” suggest that they have betrayed their roots in the movements that fought for the abolition of slavery and the end of discrimination. But the truth is that today’s Christian nationalism did not emerge out of the movement that opposed such rigid hierarchies. It came from the one that endorsed them.
Back in 1941, the year of my birth, fascism stood on the brink of conquering the world. During the preceding decades, movements of the Radical Right―mobilized by demagogues into a cult of virulent nationalism, racial and religious hatred, and militarism―had made great strides in nations around the globe. By the end of 1941, fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan, having launched massive military invasions of other lands, where they were assisted by local rightwing collaborators, had conquered much of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.