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December 2022

Gearing up for the January 6th Anniversary

You have no doubt noticed that ICJS has devoted considerable focus in our courses and online events to the growing influence of and concern about Christian nationalism. Now on the second anniversary of Jan. 6th, ICJS will host a noontime event featuring Brad Onishi on the publication day of his book, Preparing for War: the Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism—And What Comes Next.

ICJS Protestant scholar Matthew D. Taylor has been researching and teaching about Christian nationalism. This month, he is being featured in a 4-part series on the Straight White American Jesus podcast talking about the history and theology of Christian nationalism. 

Matt contends that most who hold Christian nationalist views are not militant in their beliefs and could be open to dialogue. He focuses instead on what he calls Christian supremacy, a more hardened version that believes in privileging Christian citizens and anti-democratically imposing a Christian vision on societies. 

You can read more about this distinction on our new web page, Christian Nationalism and Christian Supremacy, where we have compiled an increasing number of ICJS resources on this vitally important topic.

Our friend and colleague ICJS Muslim scholar Zeyneb Sayilgan was involved in a serious automobile accident earlier this month and is now on medical leave. During her absence, Halla Attallah, who is completing her doctorate in theological and religious studies at Georgetown University, will be joining us as visiting Muslim scholar. 

Highlights in this Issue:


White Christian Nationalism and the Capitol Riot
How did we get here and what comes next?

Watching the shocking footage of the January 6 insurrection, Brad Onishi wondered: "If I hadn't left evangelicalism would I have been there?" Onishi, a religion scholar and former evangelical insider, believes the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was not a blip or an aberration. It was the logical outcome of years of a white evangelical subculture's preparation for war.

In this online forum, taking place on the second anniversary of the Capitol Riot, Onishi will talk about his new book, Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism—and What Comes Next, in which he maps the origins of white Christian nationalism, with its steady blending of white grievance politics with evangelicalism, and traces its offshoots. Mathew D. Taylor, ICJS scholar, will lead the conversation. 

Friday, January 6
Online: Noon–1:00 PM EST


The Crusades: Are we Prisoners of our Interreligious History?

The imagery and vocabulary of the Crusades inhabit our interreligious imaginations and structure our conceptions of violence, including in video games like Assassin’s Creed, in pop literature like The Da Vinci Code, and in President Bush’s invocation of a crusade against terrorism in the wake on 9/11. In this course, ICJS scholars Benjamin Sax and Matthew D. Taylor and visiting Muslim scholar Halla Attallah will excavate the origins of these narratives from the perspectives of their respective faith traditions, and also call into question whether they are applicable to our interreligious encounters in the present.

Tuesdays for four weeks
Jan. 17, 24, 31, and Feb. 7
Online: 7:00–8:30 PM EST


Recognizing and Responding to Everyday Antisemitism and Islamophobia

What do Antisemitism and Islamophobia look like in everyday life? Can we recognize them? How do we respond when we see them? Join scholars Benjamin Sax and Matthew Taylor—and visiting scholar Halla Attallah—for this 90-minute online event as we examine instances of religious bias and bigotry in our everyday lives that are sometimes subtle and go unnoticed or unconfronted. This session will include case studies with small group discussion and role-play that will help participants recognize and respond to these microaggressions.

Thursday, Feb. 16
Online: 7–8:30 PM EST


Confronting Christian Nationalism 
By John Rivera

What is Christian nationalism and why is it a cause for concern? Is there anything wrong with being a Christian and a patriot? This ICJS article provides an introductory primer on what this ideology is and the theology behind it. 

Read More


Freddie Gray and Me: Finding My Voice through His Story
By Constance Sims Rosser, ICJS Congregational Leaders Fellow

Constance chose a difficult topic for the Congregational Leaders Fellowship storytelling workshop: the 2015 death of Freddie Gray. In the wake of an unthinkable tragedy, Constance found a call to action to use her voice and faith to effect change.

Read More


Recruiting now for 2023 Congregational Leaders Fellowships

The ICJS Congregational Leaders Fellowship is a 6-month cohort experience for leaders from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish congregations to build understanding and relationships across those divides. We are still seeking applications from religious congregations for the 2023 cohort, which will run from January to June.

We invite you to apply with another congregation of a different faith (e.g., Protestant church partnering with a mosque or synagogue). This partnership may be new or well-established. If you don’t have a partner, we will find one for you. 


Spotlight | Matt Taylor talks Christian Nationalism on Straight White American Jesus Podcast 

Who were the religious leaders who inspired many of the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters? ICJS Protestant scholar Matthew D. Taylor has focused his research on the role of the independent charismatic Christian churches and leaders in the riot and in the larger Christian nationalist movement. Over the next month, Matt unpacks the history and influence of the New Religious Right on the Straight White American Jesus podcast, which will run from the first Monday in December until the January 6th anniversary.

Recap | 2022 Annual Report: Dismantle and Build

The 2022 ICJS Annual Report looks back on a very busy and constructive year of building an interreligious society. Read about the people who share in our work and the numbers that show what we accomplished. 


Staff Pick | African American Hebrew Scholar reflects on teaching Jewish history at Ole Miss

At a time when Ye is grabbing the national headlines on Black-Jewish relations, Ben Sax points us to another option: his friend the late Willa Johnson, an extraordinary woman and Hebrew scholar who was a Black tenured sociology professor at the University of Mississippi for 23 years. She writes eloquently about her experience teaching on the Holocaust and Judaism in the Deep South to students whose “Christian ethnocentrism and racism against African Americans intervene to create a powerful, painful—and sometimes awkward—distraction.” Professor Johnson died on November 23rd.


About Us 

The Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS) works to dismantle religious bias and bigotry to foster an interreligious society in which dialogue replaces division, friendship overcomes fear, and education eradicates ignorance. Through courses, fellowships, online events, and scholarship initiatives, ICJS builds learning communities where religious difference becomes a powerful force for good. ICJS is an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization.


Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies
956 Dulaney Valley Rd  | Baltimore, Maryland 21204
410.494.7161 | info@icjs.org | icjs.org

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