Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Bennett, Jeffrey A

First Committee Member

Hingstman, David

Second Committee Member

West, Isaac

Third Committee Member

Schwalm, Leslie

Fourth Committee Member

Hayes, Joy E


This dissertation explores the manner in which theological elements from a biblical literalist perspective undergird and authorize the historical memory texts produced by Christian nationalist advocates in support of conservative Protestant religious establishment. Christian nationalist discourses exploit notions of divine warrant, public remembrance, and "historical evidence" as means to read the nation and contemporary far right ideological commitments as biblically founded, and hence, as binding upon the nation. Focusing on the rhetoric of David Barton, Christian nationalist par excellence and Republican Party operative, I argue that discourses of Christian nationhood mobilize the theologies of providence, inerrancy, inspiration, and literalism as rhetorical strategies to situate God's law as the definitive legal standard through which American law and cultural values are (de)authorized. Drawing upon the presumptions of biblical literalism to present the textual "proof' of a Christian nation, the politics of this memory work (and the many ways these discourses presume to furnish textual proofs of a biblical nation) aims to influence and to shape public memory, opinion, political behavior, and policy formation in favor of far right Protestant hegemonic interests.


David Barton, nationalism, political rhetoric, public memory, Religion and theology, religious rhetoric


vi, 251 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 239-251).


Copyright 2014 Tahlia GMB Fischer

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Communication Commons