Christian nationalism, a long-running and arguably increasingly influential political force, appears to consist mainly of an open set of affectively charged but cognitively underdetermined concepts and images that are capable of being constituted in a number of widely divergent forms. Despite this potential variety, the various instantiations of Christian nationalisms documented by the anthropology of Christianity tend to have similar features, even as they are actualized in quite different milieux and understood as being responses to quite different threats. Drawing on ethnographic work in the United States, this article argues that this recurrent crystallization of Christian nationalism into the specific form under certain conditions—the adoption of a temporally ambivalent eschatology, an ethics oriented around mimesis, and, most of all, an outward-facing ressentiment—works to self-catalyze the production of a racialized Christian nationalism that envisions itself at once as an entitled majority and as an embattled minority.
JON BIALECKI is a Fellow in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. His academic interests include the anthropology of religion, anthropology of the subject, ontology and temporality, religious language ideology, and religious transhumanist movements. In addition to his monograph A Diagram for Fire: Miracles and Variation in an American Charismatic Movement (2017), his work has appeared in several collections and in journals such as the South Atlantic Quarterly, American Ethnologist, Anthropological Theory, and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. He is currently working on his next manuscript, “A Machine for Making Gods: Mormonism, Transhumanism, and Speculative Thought.” E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org