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Watching the footage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, Bradley Onishi thought to himself, “If I hadn’t left evangelicalism, would I have been there?” In his book entitled, “Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism and What Comes Next,” Onishi offers a sobering historical account of the origins and development of White Christian nationalism in the United States and its offshoots. From the unique perspective of a former insider, Onishi explains how the decades-long campaign of White Christian nationalism in the United States culminated in the Jan. 6 attack.
Lawfare Associate Editor Katherine Pompilio sat down with Onishi—a scholar of religion and co-host of the Straight White American Jesus Podcast—to discuss his personal experience as a former White Christian nationalist and how it informed his writing of the book. They also discussed culture wars and the myth of the Christian nation, the elections of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, Jan. 6 rioters and religious symbols at the riot, how Donald Trump fits into all of this, and more.