WASHINGTON – Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley addressed the idea of Christian nationalism and said he was an advocate of the ideology during a speech Monday at the National Conservative Convention.

Hawley spoke for nearly half an hour at the convention, but his remarks on Christian nationalism raised attention on social media. In a brief video clip shared by the National Conservatism X account, Hawley says the following:

“Some will say now that I am calling America a Christian nation. So I am. And some will say that I am advocating Christian nationalism. And so I do.”

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Hawley later argued in the speech that “Christian nationalism is not a threat to American democracy” and “Christian nationalism founded American democracy.” The senator also spoke against other forms of European tribalism and Pride flags in his speech.

What is Christian nationalism? The concept was tackled in an Oxford University Press book published in 2020, titled “Taking America Back for God.” The book draws upon multiple sources of national survey data and in-depth interviews for academic research.

The book describes Christian nationalism as the political belief that the United States is and should be a Christian nation. It is further explained as a movement focused on shaping the country’s policies to align with views of Christianity and preserve social order through conservative beliefs on immigration, policing, and gender roles, among other topics.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which specializes in social justice education and research, examined threats around Christian nationalism in 2022. The organization found that Christian nationalism may perpetuate views such as anti-democracy extremism, racism, and hatred toward LGBTQ+ communities, while also influencing behaviors that target local elections, school boards, and minority communities.

Hawley stood by his comments after Monday’s speech, reposting several photos and clips on his personal X account and sharing a graphic of one quote from the speech on his Press Office X account.

Hawley is running for reelection of his Missouri U.S. Senate seat in 2024 with a forthcoming challenge from one of four Democratic candidates: Lucas Kunce, Karla May, Mita Biswas, or December Harmon.