Texas' Christian Nationalists Respond to COVID-19: March Through July 2020   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Introduction: "This report examines how prominent Christian nationalists in Texas responded to this crisis in the critical first five months of the pandemic, March through July 2020, in which the state moved from lockdowns to reopening and then back to partial lockdowns after a spike in cases. [...] At the center of the story is Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the highest-ranking Christian nationalist in state government, who has, since March 31, led the state's response to the pandemic. During the pandemic, Abbott has been both a champion of the Christian nationalist agenda and the target of attacks by his fellow Christian nationalists. On the one hand, Abbott used the pandemic as an opportunity to ban most abortions in the state, a longtime Christian nationalist goal, and to carve out religious exemptions that seem to have mainly benefited conservative Christian congregations. On the other hand, the governor's attempts to control the spread of the virus ignited a revolt within the Christian nationalist movement in Texas, a revolt marked by the distrust of science that Perry, Whitehead, and Grubbs find among Christian nationalists nationally. After a brief summary of the governmental actions to curb COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] in Texas, this study examines three key aspects of the Christian nationalist response to the crisis: Abbott's abortion ban; conflicts over precautionary measures; and the Christian nationalist response to the mainstream science underpinning those measures."

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