What do evangelicals and Nazis have in common?

What do evangelicals and Nazis have in common? October 22, 2020

You know what I almost missed? This tweet:

I mean … yikes. 

This image, of course, hearkens back to patriarchal blogger Lori Alexander’s post claiming men prefer “debt-free virgins without tattoos.” But this image wasn’t created by Lori Alexander. It was created by white supremacists.

How is the “traditional wife” described? Here’s one: “Her husband works to support her staying at home and raising the kids.” That’s no surprise. Nor is this: “Wears modest and feminine clothing.” These are standard fare in evangelical circles.

But check out these:

“Homeschools her kids so they aren’t taught progress bs in school”

“Knowledgeable about her European roots”

“Loves her family, race, and country in that order”

In her tweet, Kathryn wrote that: “This tradwife meme gives away the game about how the right sees homeschooling.” She has a point. Note that in this meme, homeschooling is used explicitly to prevent children from coming in contact with people and ideas different from theirs—i.e. “progress bs”—and to teach children to love their European race. 

If this seems dangerous to anyone, that’s because it is. Also, it rather seems like this is a violation of children’s rights. I realize the U.S. hasn’t signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but it does state that children have the right to be prepared “for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin.”

I’m reminded of the “farmer’s market Nazis” in the news in 2019. That family homeschooled, and did so explicitly so that they could indoctrinate their three sons into white supremacism:

Across hundreds of posts in chat rooms for Identity Evropa and other far-right groups, Dye discussed her dislike for living in areas that were not majority-white, and her search for “non-PC history books” to read to her homeschooled children, including a “history of the White race” by a former leader of a neo-Nazi group.

That’s … not great.

So yes—the image at the top of the page says the quiet part out loud. But perhaps the most disconcerting part of the meme at the top of the page is how quickly the conservative evangelical ideal of biblical femininity and womanhood can morph into something that looks like it came out of the 1930s. No really. Have a look.

The image at the top of the page is something that you might expect to see on the social media of any one of half a dozen different conservative evangelical bloggers, minus the words “European roots” and “race,” and the reference to “black men” and a “black baby” on the “worldly” woman’s side. Even the image need not change. This should give evangelicals pause. At the very least, we should see evangelical leaders and speakers vocally condemning this sort of nonsense.

And yet … I have yet to notice any such loud condemnations.

To be clear, I don’t think most evangelicals actually hold these beliefs. Also, the absence of any mention of God in this meme does present a contrast to evangelical messaging on women’s role. I do think, however, that there are overlaps going on here, and that the continuity in imagery and in so many beliefs and teachings between conservative evangelicals and white supremacists is going to of necessity render at least some evangelical women vulnerable to this messaging.

If your imagery and messaging can be turned into Nazi imagery and messaging by tweaking only a few words, you may want to think again about your imagery and messaging. Because that’s not just not great, it’s also dangerous.

It’s not just that the overlaps are going to make it easier for white supremacists to recruit evangelical women to their cause that should give evangelicals pause, though. The similarity in messaging ought to lead to a number of questions. For example: why do both conservative evangelicalism and white supremacy hold that woman’s role is in the home? Why do both ideologies hold that women should be submissive homemakers dedicated to raising children?

It’s possible that the similarity in messaging is a coincidence, or that both views are simply the product of the same earlier ideology, much like an evolutionary tree. But it’s also possible that there’s more going on here. One continuity that I can think of is the focus on raising children who fit into a specific ideology and worldview, for instance: even as Nazi mothers were to raise strong children to serve the fatherland, even so evangelical mothers are to raise virtuous children to serve God.

That may also be why both groups frequently homeschool: homeschooling offers parents who choose to do so the ability to indoctrinate their children in a way that they can’t when their children are exposed to other people and viewpoints at school.

Like I said … none of this is great.

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