Does Christianity conflict with modern white nationalism? James Kirchick said yes in a recent Salon Talks interview.
Kirchick, author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age,” argues that Christianity is being unfairly blamed for white nationalism. If you actually pay attention to white nationalists, you'll quickly realize that they don’t support Christianity's universal messages, he said.
"Evangelicals who don't regularly attend church are less hostile to gay people than those who do," according to research highlighted by the Atlantic's Peter Beinart. "But they're more hostile to African-Americans, Latinos and Muslims."
During our Salon Talks interview, Kirchick maintained that secular white nationalists are "obviously not universal."
"They’re particularists," he added. "They’re ethic particularists."
Kirchick cited Richard Spencer, founder of a controversial think tank, as an example of secular white nationalism that contradicts the pro-life version of Christianity many Donald Trump supporters embrace.
“[Spencer is] this alt-right guy," Kirchick said. "He’s pro-choice because he supports eugenics and he wants more abortions because he thinks that it’ll decrease the population of people of color.”
We also discussed the growing secularization of Europe, which Kirchick said has manifested in the rise of more secular populists like France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen. Le Pen is a conservative whose nationalism has not included opposition to gay marriage.
Throughout his time in Europe and during his travels within the continent, Kirchick got the sense that many Europeans lack a cohesive set of principles to replace Christianity.
“There’s not this anchor anymore that people have,” Kirchick said. “The new anchor is becoming oppositional. ‘We don’t have something to believe in. We don’t have Christianity anymore. We know what we’re not and we’re not that.’”