When Russell Moore saw footage of a “Jesus saves” sign during the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States Capitol, he wasn’t just angered by the assault on democracy. He was horrified by what he saw as a blasphemous misrepresentation of the gospel. How could American culture have gotten to such a place? And what can be done about it?

Those are the types of questions that today’s guest, Tobias Cremer, explores in his new book The Godless Crusade, Religion, Populism, and Right Wing Identity Politics in the West. Cremer, a junior research fellow at Pembroke College and an associate member of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, studies the relationship between religion, secularization, and the rise of right-wing identity politics. And when he looks at right-wing populism, he sees far more secularism than true religion.

On this episode, Moore and Cremer discuss the rise of national populist movements in America and other Western countries. They discuss how faith and socioeconomic status influence political leanings, why religious symbols are used in political movements, and what people really mean when they say they are Christian in a political context. Moore and Cremer talk about the growing number of de-churched Protestants in the Bible Belt and how the populist right confuses religion for identity. And they consider the changes that people and institutions can make to address polarization, resentment, and radicalization.

Tune in for an episode that provides a nuanced view of political and religious history in the West and sheds light on our culture today.

Resources mentioned in this episode include:

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“The Russell Moore Show” is a production of Christianity Today
Executive Producers: Erik Petrik, Russell Moore, and Mike Cosper
Host: Russell Moore
Producer: Ashley Hales
Associate Producers: Abby Perry and McKenzie Hill
Director of Operations for CT Media: Matt Stevens
Audio engineering by Dan Phelps
Video producer: Abby Egan
Theme Song: “Dusty Delta Day” by Lennon Hutton