In 2024

How did phrases like “One nation under God” become part of the Pledge of Allegiance, and “In God We Trust” become America’s national motto? As Christian Nationalism becomes more and more mainstream, experts like Brian Kaylor are examining the origins of these religious elements in American public life. Contrary to popular belief, much of this conflation of religion and national identity was not established by evangelicals, but were, instead, the work of mainline Protestant clergy and politicians.

In this week’s episode of The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Paul Raushenbush is joined by Rev. Dr. Brian Kaylor to explore the findings in Brian’s new book, Baptizing America: How Mainline Protestants Helped Build Christian Nationalism, co-authored with Rev. Beau Underwood.

“Jesus doesn’t love America more than any other nation. We’re not specially blessed. Our soldiers are not God’s soldiers, right? We are called to be in communion with the believers, whether they’re on this side of the border or on the other side of the border. And that’s supposed to be our first allegiance. I mean, Jesus said very clearly, ‘You cannot serve two masters.’ And Christian nationalism challenges that assumption at best, and at worst puts the American kingdom as the true master – because we know that they will come into conflict. We know you will pick one kingdom over the other. So we’re very concerned about the heresy of Christian nationalism.”

– Dr. Brian Kaylor, award-winning author and journalist. He serves as the president and editor-in-chief of Word&Way and hosts the Baptist Without an Adjective podcast. Other books include Sacramental Politics: Religious Worship as Political Action, and For God’s Sake, Shut Up!

We wrap up this episode with some highlights from two years of Paul asking guests: “What gives you hope right now?” Hear inspiring thoughts from Rainn Wilson, Dr. AnneMarie Mingo, Rev. Susan Sparks and Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr.

To expand our reach, The State of Belief  is now being distributed via the Religion News Service family of podcasts. Be sure to subscribe to The State of Belief today at

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