The Zombie Apocalypse And Christian Nationalism

The Zombie Apocalypse And Christian Nationalism May 2, 2024

A prominent theme of U.S. American pop culture over the past decade has been fascination with a “zombie apocalypse.” A movie by that title came out in 2011, and the concept has become a staple of social media memes. Let’s define terms. Zombie apocalypse is a subgenre of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction in which society collapses due to overwhelming swarms of zombies.” The plot of that movie was essentially this: months after a zombie plague has wiped out 90% of the American population, a small group of survivors fight their way cross-country to a rumored refuge on Catalina Island. Certain other phenomena have run parallel and concurrent with the fictious zombie apocalypse: The increased popularity of first-person shooter video games, a marked rise in firearms sales, the increased acceptance of violence as a valid response to political frustration (nearly ¼ of the US populace!); and a growing rejection of Jesus’s teachings by U.S. American evangelicals.

That said, I would suggest that the elephant in the room is increased fear about a rise of immigrants into the U.S. – specifically of brown-skinned Mexican and Latin American persons seeking to either temporarily work in the U.S., immigrate to the U.S., and/or seek political asylum. In fact, I argue that the unspoken, and not so subconscious, reason for the rise of each of those phenomena is for far too many people a fear-based response to the perceived imminent threat of the U.S. being “overrun by a tsunami tidal wave of brown zombies.” This fear is the core of white Christian Nationalism. Nearly half of the country voted for Donald Trump, and their top two issues were overturning Roe v. Wade and staving off the “horde of brown zombies.” They met one of their goals via Trump appointing conservatives to the U.S. Supreme Court, which passed a ruling that overturned the Roe v. Wade precedent that had been the law of the land, ensuring women’s reproductive rights since 1973. Despite Trump’s many serious legal woes, those same people (at least those who survived Covid, which Trump caused many of them to deny or minimize) have doubled down in their zeal to re-elect Trump in November of this year.

Why? As they see it, they view him as the only person who will protect them from a future where whites will be the minority race in the U.S. sooner than later. Tragically, a high percentage of Trump supporters and Republicans in general (eight out of 10) have no problem with Trump’s recent Naziesque rhetoric that the “immigrant crisis” of “illegals” (as they refer to fellow Children of God) is “poisoning the blood” of our nation.

What’s of particular interest is the notably overlapping portions of a Venn Diagram, which indicates that a high percentage of those persons who are part of each of those aforementioned phenomena are white Christians. It’s more than interesting, it’s flat out alarming.

Simply put, the Church in America has failed.

While there are pockets of liberal mainline Protestants, liberal Catholics, and a certain amount of persons part of the historic peace churches (Quakers, Mennonites, Brethren, etc.) – not to mention a growing number of those who identify as progressive Christians – for the most part, American Christians have been rejecting the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, preferring instead the zealous ways of Jesus Barabbas. As the late Walter Wink would put it, we’ve tragically maintained allegiance to the Babylonian myth of Redemptive Violence and have rejected Jesus’ way of redemptive non-violence. We’ve also been engaging in actual sodomy – being inhospitable to foreigners in our midst.

What’s needed is a revival of authentic Christianity. What’s needed is a re-centering of the way, teachings, and example of Jesus of Nazareth. We need more following of Jesus and less worshipping doctrines about him. We need liberal and progressive churches and Christians to step up and bravely proclaim that what’s been taking place has been heresy and anathema to the way of Jesus. We need more American Christians to actually read their Bibles – especially the Prophets and the Sermon on the Mount. What’s needed is for people to learn and care about why so many people are seeking help for their families to uproot their lives and seek something better in the U.S. Learning about the role of human-aggravated global warming (the U.S. being the biggest contributor from 1888-2000), and learning about the impact of U.S. political and military interventions in Central and South America can be helpful. But even more helpful is for U.S. Americans to actually meet and get to know recent immigrants, to learn their particular stories of fleeing from gang violence, etc. We need more U.S. Americans to imagine being parents in such situations and ponder what they would do. And we need more U.S. Americans to realize that the U.S. has far more acres per person available in this nation compared to most countries and that we are nowhere near being “too filled.” And we need more U.S. Americans to realize that the birthrate in the U.S. isn’t adequate to maintain our society and we truly need a massive influx of new workers ASAP in order to maintain our nation.

We need to learn that the people we fear are the people we need! Many progressive Christians have been engaged in deconstructing the Christian faith, and many of them have been avoiding church altogether as part of it. I get and appreciate that, and yet, we need all hands on deck to help provide a needed course correction to American Christianity. The import of this essay isn’t limited to readers in the U.S. – as many of the same exact trends and phenomena described here are taking place across the globe. We need to go back to church and get involved in transforming the Church from within – “those churches need you as much as you may need them. All churches need infusions of “new blood,” new ideas, and new personalities to help them grow toward being the best that they can be.”

May God bless us as we each find it within ourselves to say, “Here I am Lord/God/Divine/Universe/Love, send me.”

XX ~ Roger

Rev. Roger Wolsey is a certified Spiritual Director (Benet Hill Monastery), ordained United Methodist pastor, and serves on the Board of Directors of ProgressiveChristianity.Org. He is a contributing writer for the Progressing Spirit newsletter, and author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity  His new book, Discovering Fire: Spiritual Practices That Transform Lives, is available on Amazon.

About Roger Wolsey
Rev. Roger Wolsey is a certified Spiritual Director (Benet Hill Monastery); ordained United Methodist pastor; and serves on the Board of Directors of ProgressiveChristianity.Org. He is a contributing writer for the Progressing Spirit newsletter, and is author of "Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity." B.A. Political Science & Philosophy, Macalester College; M.Div., Iliff School of Theology. Roger's latest book, "Discovering Fire: Spiritual Practices That Transform Lives" is available on Amazon. You can read more about the author here.
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