What is Christian Supremacy?:
In America, the notion of Christian Supremacy encompasses both a moral attitude and a political program. In the moral realm, Christian Supremacy is the idea that Christianity is superior to all other religions, and by extension, that Christians are superior to all non-Christians. Politically, Christian Supremacy is an agenda to get America’s political institutions to reflect this superiority by favoring Christians over non-Christians and Christianity over all other beliefs.
What is Dhimmitude?:
Dhimmi is a Muslim classification for members of any tolerated religion, like Jews and Christians, living in a Muslim nation and under Muslim law. Dhimmis are allowed to exist and to practice their religion, but they are not allowed to proselytize or otherwise make trouble — thus they have fewer legal rights than Muslims. Christian Supremacists would reduce non-Christians in America to an inferior status analogous to dhimmis in Muslim lands.
Christian Supremacy vs. Christian Privilege:
The difference between assertions of Christian Supremacy and Christian Privilege
are more a matter of degree than kind. Both insist that Christianity is superior and should be privileged in law as well as culture. Demands for mere privilege, however, are often motivated by nostalgia for the past and a sense of loss; demands for supremacy are motivated by self-righteousness and a belief in the illegitimacy of other religions. Christian Supremacy is a form of fanaticism and extremism.
Christian Supremacy, Christian Dominionism, Christian Reconstructionism:
The ideology of Christian Supremacism is commonly expressed in movements labeled Christian Dominionism
and Christian Reconstructionism
. Dominionists believe that God has given Christians the obligation to exercise “dominion” over the Earth, especially America. This means Christians must be in charge and enforce Chrisitian law. Reconstructionists seek to “reconstruct” America along Old Testament lines, enforcing Old Testament laws in the civil sphere.
Christian Supremacy, Christianism, and the Christian Right:
Christian Supremacism plays an influential role in America’s Christian Right, though it’s uncommon for supremacist ideology to be expressed or defended too openly. There are close links between the “mainstream” Christian Right and leaders of Dominionism and Reconstruction. When you see the Christian Right pushing the idea that America is a Christian Nation defined by Christian beliefs, and therefore Christianity and Christians should be privileged, you’re seeing Christian Supremacism expressed.
Christianism, Christian Supremacy and Theocracy in America:
The only logical outcome of Christian Supremacism is the creation of a Christian theocracy. Some supremacists advocate this openly; others avoid the question whenever it’s brought up. Because Christian Supremacy is based upon the principle that Christians and Christianity are superior, a position which law and culture must reflect, it is incompatible with a liberal democracy in which everyone is equal before the law. Christian Supremacy requires that religious law rule us all.
Christian Supremacy, Religious Intolerance, and Anti-Semitism:
Tolerance, under its original meaning, is the idea that one has the ability and right to punish or oppress others, but consciously chooses not to. Christian Supremacy insists that non-Christians should be “tolerated” and be very grateful for this — especially Jews. In the past, Christian Supremacy has been accompanied by overt and even vicious anti-Semitism. Today this is no longer socially accepted, but it hasn't disappeared entirely. The attitudes can be expressed in subtle ways.
Christianism, Christian Supremacy, and White Supremacy:
In America, at least, Christian Supremacy has often been accompanied by White Supremacy as well. White Supremacists almost always base their racism on Christian beliefs about differences between the races and the identity of the True Israel. Such beliefs were once common among American Christians; today, they have been relegated to the fringes. Unfortunately, more overt Christian Supremacists today retain strong connections to White Supremacists and Christian Patriots.
Christian Supremacy and Uncle Toms:
An “Uncle Tom” is a black person who is especially subservient to white authority figures, explicitly accepting their imposed inferiority and thereby justifying the system which makes them unequal. The label is also used in other analogous relationships, including non-Christians who assist the cause of Christian Supremacy by promoting the idea that America is a Christian Nation where Christians should be privileged and non-Christians should accept second-class status.
Christianism, Christian Supremacy and the Future of America:
Because the ideology of Christian Supremacy is incompatible with liberal democracy, any victories — even symbolic — for Christian Supremacists represent a serious loss for the American political system and have the potential to undermine American political, religious, and social liberties. The real question which faces Americans, though, is whether the victories of Christian Supremacists are ever likely to extend far enough to completely undermine America’s liberal democracy and lead to the installation of a theocratic system.
This is certainly the biggest fear of those who watch and critique the Christian Right, and without due vigilance, people would have good reason to fear the worst. Because there are organized efforts to combat Christian Supremacy and because many of those who identify with the Christian Right wouldn’t accept a full-blown supremacist system, it’s unlikely that America would have to succumb to a theocratic government. Not impossible, just unlikely.
This does not mean, however, that Christian Supremacy cannot do significant harm. The very intrusion of concepts and language from Christian Supremacy into general political discourse leads to confusion and misunderstandings. One example of this is the way Christian Supremacists have gotten people to believe that, because America is a Christian Nation, then the failure of the government to privilege Christians over others represents a form of persecution and discrimination. Another would be the even more common idea that freedom of religion is compatible with state endorsements and promotions of Christianity.
Christian Supremacy would do as much harm to Christianity as it would to government and culture, yet the allure of power coupled with the hatred of modernity is too much for some Christians to resist. They are convinced that only they and their religion can save the world; even worse, they are not afraid to wield power in harmful and destructive ways to get what they want.