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Journal of Religion and Violence

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2019

Violence and the Christian Right

Sophie Bjork-James
Pages 278-302

Christian Nationalism and LGBTQ Structural Violence in the United States

This paper uses anti-LGBTQ bias within evangelical Christianity as a case study to explore how nationalist movements justify prejudicial positions through framing privileged groups as victims. Since Anita Bryant’s late 1970s crusade against what was dubbed the “homosexual agenda,” white evangelicals have led a national movement opposing LGBTQ rights in the United States. Through a commitment to ensuring sexual minorities are excluded from civil rights protections, white evangelicals have contributed to a cultural and legal landscape conducive to anti-LGBTQ structural violence. This opposition is most often understood as rooted in love, and not in bias or hate, as demonstrated during long-term ethnographic research among white evangelical churches in Colorado Springs. Engaging with theories of morality and nationalism, this article argues that most biased political movements understand their motivation as defending a moral order and not perpetuating bias. In this way they can justify structural violence against subordinated groups.

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