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The Capitol Looms Large in the White Christian Nationalist Imagination


“Leave all snacks on the bus!” our guide shouted over the intercom as we readied ourselves to go through security at the U.S. Capitol a few years ago.

“What about my gun?” a man in the back called out, prompting laughter from us all. That he had brought his gun wasn’t surprising. I was with a busload of white conservative Christians who had come to D.C. from all over the country to learn a Christian nationalist interpretation of the history of the United States.

They loved the Second Amendment almost as much as the First. The man reluctantly disarmed and disembarked with the rest of us, and we began the trek up Capitol Hill.

What followed was a series of indignities that made most of the group long for the pre-9/11 days when visitors could simply walk into the Capitol and wander the halls of power at will.

This was, after all, their house.

From 2014 to 2015, I spent two years observing and participating in Christian heritage tours in Washington, D.C. I had grown up in a white evangelical family, and even though I was no longer evangelical myself, I remained fascinated by conservative […]

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