The Christian nationalists are flying their flag from the seats of government

Dec 18, 2023; Washington DC: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito attend a private ceremony for retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before public repose in the Great Hall at the Supreme Court
Dec 18, 2023; Washington DC: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito attend a private ceremony for retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before public repose in the Great Hall at the Supreme Court Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via USA TODAY NETWORK

Sailors used to communicate between ships by using flags. Christian nationalists do the same thing. Rather than being upfront about their desire to remake the U.S. into a right-wing Christian utopia, they like to use flags to do their talking for them.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) are shouting at us right now.

Alito’s love of flags is only coming to light now, but it dates back to the time of the January 6 insurrection. Shortly after that traitorous event, the justice and his wife flew the U.S. flag outside their house upside down. The upside-down flag was adopted by the right-wing, including many who stormed the Capitol, as a sign of their dissatisfaction with losing the election.

The Christian nationalist flag, originally designed by Dutch Sheets
Amazon The Christian nationalist flag

At the time the flag was flying, the Supreme Court was considering whether to hear a case involving the outcome of the election. Alito opted to hear the case, putting him in the minority.

In explaining that event, Alito blamed it on his wife and some neighbors with whom she was in a dispute. Apparently, the neighbors put up a sign with a curse word in it that Alito said his wife found “personally insulting.” Alito’s wife, Martha-Ann, explained the upside flag away as an “international signal of distress.”

Alito and his wife, like his fellow Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni, apparently have no problem letting the world see themselves as sympathetic to a cause that undercuts one of the basic tenets of a constitutional republic. But just to make sure you know how radical they are, they whipped out another flag for their beach house.

That flag, an “Appeal to Heaven” flag, is directly tied to Christian nationalism. While it dates back to the American Revolution, it has been popularized in recent years by Dutch Sheets, a self-proclaimed prophet who is influential in a movement to remake the U.S. into a “Christian nation,” even at the price of “spiritual warfare.”

“They are praying for total changeover in American culture to restore America to its original covenantal purposes and covenantal arrangement with God,” Matthew Taylor, author of the forthcoming book The Violent Take It by Force: The Christian Movement That Is Threatening Our Democracytold MSNBC. “Abortion and same-sex marriage are seen as impediments to this.” 

Taylor says that the Sheets has a particular focus on the Supreme Court and its ability to reshape the nation in the image that Christian nationalists seek.

While pundits wring their hands about the ethical violations that the flag represents, the bigger issue is that Alito knows he can act with impunity. He remains a key suspect in the leak of the early draft of the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade. He taunted his critics, including foreign leaders by name, who disagreed with his ruling in Dobbs. Like Thomas, who likes to pocket money from his wealthy friends, Alito feels he’s above criticism – and possibly the law he is pledged to protect.

It’s not as though Alito’s actions are surprising. This is the justice who believes the rights of Christians are under attack. In a recent case, he argued that a homophobic juror was the victim of religious discrimination for being dismissed as a prospective juror in a case involving a lesbian suing her employer. Indeed, Alito wants to roll back LGBTQ+ rights as far as he can, starting with marriage equality, which he believes was wrongly decided by the Court.

But Alito is emboldened enough to discard the pretense that he is an objective justice. He is proclaiming his affinity for an ideology that would not just reshape American society but would mortally wound American democracy. By characterizing political differences as a spiritual battle between good and evil, it sets the stakes so high that no compromise is possible. Indeed, violence seems almost justifiable.

The victory of this philosophy is the great threat of a Trump second term. But the fact is that, as Alito shows, it’s already embedded in the highest levels of government. And Alito is far from alone. House Speaker Johnson, another veteran of the battle against LGBTQ+ rights, flies the same Appeal to Heaven flag outside his office.

When two of the most powerful men in American government today subscribe to the belief that the laws and society should explicitly reflect a Christian – and a very specific kind of Christian – code of conduct, we’re well past the time to believe that Christian nationalism is dependent upon Donald Trump’s electoral success. The time to worry is now, because the future has already arrived.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Richard Dreyfuss mocks trans youth in bizarre rant at “Jaws” film screening

Previous article

Kristi Noem forces university employees to drop pronouns & tribal affiliations from email signatures

Next article