Brad Onishi

Preparing for War

The events of January 6, 2021, shocked the nation and the world. But to those who lived through White Christian nationalism, consumed its media, and practiced its teachings, the Insurrection was the logical outcome of a seventy-five-year war on American democracy.

Despite a growing body of literature that analyzes White Christian nationalism in the United States, there are no works that bring together firsthand accounts of the decades-long culture wars that set the stage for the violent White Christian nationalism plaguing the country with historical analyses of the events, leaders, and communities that prepared the troops and led the charge. PREPARING FOR WAR uses Onishi’s lived experience as an Evangelical insider as a prism for understanding the violence and extremism of the White Christian nationalists at the center of our current political moment. It asks: How did the rise of the Religious Right, from 1964-2015, eventually give birth to violent White Christian nationalism during the Trump presidency and beyond? What are the foundational components of the “alternative” worldview that propelled some of the most conservative religious communities in the country to ignite a cold civil war? How can the history of the Religious Right provide a basis for anticipating how White Christian nationalism will bear on our public square in the years to come?

In this compelling and scholarly mix of memoir and cultural and political history, Onishi brings to bear his experience as a former Christian nationalist movement insider to expose the radicalism behind the January 6th insurrection. Gripping and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the threat that This movement poses to American democracy.” Katherine Stewart, Author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous World of Religious Nationalism

In Preparing for War, Bradley Onishi traces the history of White Christian Nationalism from the John Birch Society to the Big Lie and the January 6 terrorist assault on the U.S. Capitol, a narrative enlivened by the author’s own occasional intersections with the movement. This is an excellent and important book, both chilling and prophetic.” Randall Balmer Professor of Religion, Dartmouth College and Author of Bad Faith: Race and the Rise of the Religious Right

Onishi takes us on a sweeping yet personal journey through modern American religious and political history to understand the violent, extremist strains of white Christian America that led to the January 6th insurrection. With insight from hundreds of interviews, deep scholarship, and his own escape from white Christian Nationalism, Onishi’s Preparing for War is a clear account of what happened and clarion warning about what is coming. Compelling and timely.” – Andrew Seidel, Constitutional Lawyer at Americans United and author of American Crusade: How the Supreme Court Is Weaponizing Religious Freedom (forthcoming 2022)

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