A conservative and member of the GOP has issued a strong warning about the influence of Christian nationalism on the party in a new opinion essay.
Susan Stubson is a Wyoming resident and member of the state’s Republican Party. She also had years of close experience with the state’s political machine as her husband, Tim Stubson, served as a member of the state’s House of Representatives from 2008 to 2017. On Sunday, The New York Times published a guest essay she penned about the growing influence of Christian nationalism on the GOP, both broadly and within Wyoming in particular.
Christian nationalism is a religious and political ideology built around the “anti-democratic notion that America is a nation by and for Christians alone,” according to the Center for American Progress (CAP). The general tenets of the ideology include the opposition to the separation of church and state, the pursuit of laws focused on Christian identity, and using Christian identity as a basis to circumvent existing laws. CAP also notes that it can also lead to discrimination and violence against other demographics that its adherents see themselves in opposition to.
In her essay, Stubson charts what she saw as the spread of Christian nationalism in her communities, which she described as “white, rural, and conservative.” The influence, she wrote, has led to an increase in “ugliness,” division, and bigotry within the GOP.
“It’s been a drastic and destructive departure from the boring, substantive lawmaking to which I was accustomed,” Stubson wrote. “Christian nationalists have hijacked both my Republican Party and my faith community by blurring the lines between church and government and in the process rebranding our state’s identity.”
Stubson claimed that her state has seen an increase in laws “intent on stripping us of our autonomy and our ability to make decisions for ourselves” on the basis of “morality,” which she says is unclear. She further argued that Christian nationalism “has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with control,” citing a litany of talking points featured in Wyoming election ads for the 2022 midterms meant to incite fear, including “government overreach, religious persecution, mask mandates, threats from immigrants, and election fraud.”
“None of those concerns were real,” Stubson continued to write in her essay. “Our schools largely remained open during the pandemic. Businesses remained open. The border is an almost 1,000-mile drive from my home in Casper, and the foreign-born population in the state is only 3 percent. Wyoming’s violent crime rate is the lowest of any state in the West. Wyoming’s electoral process is incredibly safe. So what are we afraid of?”
Christian nationalism has seen open embraces from current members of the national Republican Party. In August, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene stood by past claims of being a Christian nationalist at a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event, claiming that the identity was “nothing to be ashamed of.” The lawmaker further claimed that “most Americans” were Christian nationalists, though did not elaborate on how she defined the term.
Newsweek reached out to the Wyoming Republican Party via email for comment.