Countering Christian Nationalism
The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by human beings for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison people because they are different from others.
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Voting is often described as an individual and communal right that is sacred. It is fundamental to protecting the rights of minority populations and is essential to building the community bonds of the interreligious society that lies at the heart of ICJS’ mission.
With midterm elections upon us and the 2024 election cycle soon to kick into high gear, we are focusing two upcoming events on the intersection of religion and politics. On Monday, the eve of Election Day, we are collaborating with the Catholic University of America to bring together a panel of scholars known for their expertise in studying the reach and influence of Christian nationalism.
And on Jan. 6, the second anniversary of the Capitol insurrection that struck at the heart of our democratic process, we will host a discussion with podcaster and author Brad Onishi on his book that is being published that very day: Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism—and What Comes Next. Stay tuned for next month when ICJS’ Matt Taylor will appear on Onishi’s podcast, Straight White American Jesus, to discuss more about Christian nationalism.
God on the Ballot?
A Discussion of Christian Nationalism on the Eve of the Election
Join us for a noontime panel discussion on Christian nationalism, its impact on the midterm elections as well how it stands to influence the presidential elections in 2024. The panel includes sociologists Philip Gorski of Yale University and Samuel Perry of the University of Oklahoma, co-authors of “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy;” and religion scholars Amir Hussain of Loyola Marymount University and Matthew D. Taylor of ICJS.
Monday, November 7
Noon–1:00 PM EST
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 US 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. Matt Taylor, ICJS scholar, will lead the conversation.
Friday, January 6
Noon–1:00 PM EST
Online via Zoom
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. But how were the Crusades experienced and viewed at the time by Christians, Jews, and Muslims? In this course, three ICJS scholars will excavate the origins of these narratives and also call into question whether they are applicable to our interreligious encounters in the present.
Wednesdays for four weeks
Jan. 17, 24, 31, and Feb. 7
Online: 7:00–8:30 PM EST
Embracing Connection Between History and Religion
By Christopher Drexel, 2021-2022 Teacher Fellow
When Christopher first started teaching history, he thought he needed to omit religion from his curriculum. He didn’t want to inadvertently teach with a bias toward Christianity. Now, he realizes that including religion offers students important context that helps his students engage with the material.
Holy Moments in Others' Holy Spaces
By Pastor James Carter, 2022 Congregational Fellow
During his time in the Congregational Leaders Fellowship, Pastor Carter experienced prayer in a mosque; community building in a synagogue; and holy silence in a chapel. Each of these moments deepened his understanding and appreciation for others’ religious experiences.
When educators contemplate how to address issues of equity in their schools, religion is often overlooked. However, the first experience many young people have with religious difference occurs in the classroom. In this one-hour Zoom session, educators will be introduced to an interreligious framework to apply to their institutions. In addition, participants will walk away with a number of resources to begin asking questions about religious diversity and inclusion in their schools.
Tuesday, November 15
Choose between afternoon and evening sessions:
4:30–5:30 PM EST
7:30–8:30 PM EST
Online via Zoom
Recruiting Now for 2023 Congregational Leaders Fellowship
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 | Staff Changes
Two of our ICJS staff are taking on new roles. Alisha Tatem (left), previously program director for congregations, will move into a newly created position of program director for religious leaders. Alisha will be responsible for designing and implementing programming for spiritual caregivers—including chaplains—as well as for other ordained and/ or professional religious leaders who work in congregations or other settings. Christine Krieger (right), who has been the ICJS office administrator, will become the program director for congregations, leading the Congregational Leaders Fellowship. Christine previously had over a decade of experience planning training and complex events at Goucher College, and as an active lay leader at her church, she has a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of congregational life. Alisha and Christine will start their positions on January 1.
Recap | American Muslims at a Crossroads
The 2022 Manekin-Clark lecturer Dalia Mogahed of the Institute for Social Policy and Research sketched a portrait of an American Muslim community that is young, well-educated, entrepreneurial and religiously engaged to more than 100 gathered at the Islamic Society of Baltimore and several hundred online. She also reported troubling levels of Islamophobia, particularly among Catholics and white Evangelical Christians, but for Muslims as well. “So why should we care about Islamophobia if we don't happen to be a Muslim?” she said. “Because according to neuroscience, fear makes us more accepting of authoritarianism, conformity, and prejudice. Fear kills freedom.”
Watch a Video Highlight
Staff Pick | Overt Antisemitism: Something is Different
This month we recommend this Washington Post article on the recent outpouring of public antisemitism. Although antisemitism isn’t a new phenomenon, experts note a qualitative difference in “how blatant the comments about Jews are at a time when incidents of harassment, vandalism and violence against them have been at their highest levels since at least the 1970s."
Read the article
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org | icjs.org