by Brian Kaylor
Brian Kaylor is a Baptist minister with a Ph.D. in political communication. He is also president and editor-in-chief of Word and Way. This article is reposted with permission from A Public Witness, Word and Way’s e-newletter. For the complete article, see here.
In the classic holiday film A Christmas Story, actor Darren McGavin delights audiences as Mr. Parker (or “The Old Man”). In between fighting the furnace and complaining about the neighbors’ smelly hound dogs, The Old Man wins “a major award” in a contest.
But what arrives in a box labeled with what he reads as “fra-ge-lay” (“it must be Italian”) is a tacky lamp that features a stand designed to look like a woman’s leg. It’s ugly and hardly a prize to covet. Yet, The Old Man is too proud of his win to see the obvious ridiculousness of lighting up the leg for everyone on the block to see. It remains a battle in the family until his wife “accidentally” destroys it while cleaning, leading him to bury it in the backyard.
Even though The Old Man didn’t see it, the “major award” was so tacky it should have illuminated the fraud of the contest. Similarly, there are many products today that should help us see the absurdity of our own religious-political moment. Gifts intended to excite those espousing Christian Nationalism are often so silly and even sacrilegious that they should undermine the very ideology that created them. Alas, people sell them because others are willing to part with their money. ‘Tis the season for crass commercialization.
In this issue of A Public Witness, I introduce you to 10 gifts the proud “Christian Nationalist” on your list will love. But please don’t buy these unless you want to end up on the naughty list (and make the baby Jesus cry). Instead, these gift suggestions show us what it can look like to merge Christian and American identities in problematic ways. And then I offer some better suggestions that can help us put Christ back in Christianity this Christmas.
10 Christian Nationalist Gifts
1. Best Word of God. Every adherent of a faith needs a copy of their sacred texts. And what better way to do that than with a Bible that includes the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag? The description for the “We the People Bible” doesn’t note if those texts are in red letters. But the leather cover “features a vertical reversed American flag design that represents a country in distress.”
Not convinced? This Bible even comes with an endorsement from Donald Trump Jr.: “Faith is being targeted and our country’s founding beliefs are being targeted. The ‘We The People Bible’ is restoring what there is an attempt to remove. Preservation of Faith, preservation of America.” This is big stuff because Trump the younger is a well-known biblical scholar.
You can get this “Bible” for just $69.99, or save by buying in bulk. Other options include gift packs — “Patriot Bundle,” “Liberty Bundle,” and “Save America Bundle” – that include extras like a bookmark, flag lapel pin, and a fake patriotic coin.
2. Most Unique Celebrity Memorabilia. It’s likely the person you have in mind already has their own MyPillow. After all, the election-denying pillow hugger has been everywhere hawking his products while spreading false claims about the 2020 presidential election and now the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial outcome.
But if you really want to give a surprise that will own any liberal guest, try a life-sized cardboard cutout of the man himself — complete with a pillow being hugged. At just $39.99, it measures 6-feet tall and 2.5-feet wide (and, just like his election claims, less than an inch deep).
3. Best Children’s Book. Looking for a gift the whole family will enjoy? Well, the propaganda artists of Christian Nationalism aren’t just banning children’s books, they’re also publishing them. Kash Patel, a former Trump administration figure, has a message for kids across the country in his book The Plot Against the King. “King Donald” was a great ruler who overcame horrible enemies like “Hillary Queenton” and “Keeper Komey.” The second book in the series tells about the “Choosing Day” scandal when some people stole an election to replace “King Donald” with “Sleepy Joe.” What the books lack in subtlety they make up for with disinformation.
You can pick up both books signed by Patel for $109.99. And you can add shirts and other items, including mugs that unironically declare “Make the Kingdom Great Again” (which at Christmas time is pretty close to cheering for the reign of Herod the Great).
4. For the Coffee Lover. If someone believes the best part of waking up is mixing sacred Christian symbols with Americana, look no further for a perfect gift than a gaudy mug. Nothing stimulates the yearning for a mythic “Christian nation” better than a cross embedded into an American flag. This mug is just $19.95 — or add $3 to jump from 11 oz. to 15 oz. (and thus a larger cross and flag, so definitely holier).
As an added bonus, this mug includes a motto popularized by COVID-denying preachers: “faith over fear.” This message probably is even more appropriate to remind users not to fear what’s in the mug if you also give them a bag of MyCoffee from the pillow guy (which is probably a softer blend than I prefer).
5. Best Christmas Ornament. It’s time to decorate the tree, so why not try a red hat ornament that says “Trump Save America”? Now that the favorite president of Christian Nationalists is running again, they can show their love for the one who thinks he’s the reason for every season. After all, he even thinks people say “Merry Christmas” now because of him (bah humbug).
At just $25, this red hat Christmas ornament not only predicts Trump will save America with his second coming, but it literally helps fund his campaign. That means it can ruin more than just a Christmas tree!
6. Most Unique Office Gift. Here’s another gift that gives your loved one something tacky while also enriching a problematic political figure. For the low price of $15, Roger Stone will sign a rock that can be used as a paperweight. And the proceeds will help his legal defense fund, which has been more active than Santa’s workshop. But this isn’t just any stone signed by the most crooked Stone.
“This stone is an exact historical replica of the very stone little David used to take down Goliath,” the site promises. “Own a piece of history. Order yours today.”
I don’t recall any biblical archeologists actually finding the stone inside a large skull cut off from a giant body, so the “exact replica” part seems a bit fishy. More puzzling is why each of the rocks look different in the picture if they’re supposed to be exact replicas. But don’t worry, it’s probably still true. I mean, would Roger Stone lie to you?
7. For the Puzzle Master. After the pile of wrapping paper has been picked up and the dishes from dinner washed, it’s great to huddle with the family around a table to defeat a big puzzle. And what could be more inspiring than piecing together a turducken of Christian Nationalism like a cross on top of a Bible on top of an American flag?
Available for $19.86, take on the challenge of constructing your cross daily. Forget the puzzling sections of the Book of Revelation and instead show your patriotism by buying this product made in China.
8. Coolest Collectible Coin. Golden stars and ornaments are nice, but how about something that mixes a biblical story with the golden president? Corporate marketer-turned-prophet Lance Wallanu is willing to help you (and his bank account). For $45, he’ll send you a gold-looking coin featuring the 45th president and the words from Isaiah 45:1. Wallnau used that verse about King Cyrus to popularize the idea that Trump would be a similarly God-ordained leader.
The “prophet” seeking golden profits hasn’t yet made his Isaiah 46 coin honoring President Biden, likely because Wallnau refuses to accept the election results since he prophesied Trump would win (which might be why he hasn’t minted a Deuteronomy 18:20 coin yet). Wallnau encourages people to hold the coin and pray for Trump. Just don’t accidentally drop this coin into the red kettle because then the prayers apparently won’t work.
9. Most Stylish Shirt. There’s perhaps no pageant that better represents Christian Nationalism than the traveling variety show of conspiracy theories known as the ReAwaken America Tour (or RAT for short). So help your loved one signal their beliefs with an official RAT shirt. You could even get matching shirts for the whole family to wear for a Christmas photo!
The shirt costs a whopping $40 because the whole tour is quite a grift. After all, many of the people with products on this list have spoken at RAT events, including Donald Trump Jr., Mike Lindell, Roger Stone, Kash Patel, and Lance Wallnau. It’s like the opposite of the wise men!
10. Best Gift Basket. If the person on your list would love any of the previous items I’ve noted, then this product will be a sure hit since they probably suspect a coming apocalypse. So it’s best to be prepared. And televangelist-turned-prisoner-turned-televangelist Jim Bakker is here to help. In addition to selling prophecy books and a drug he falsely claimed cured COVID, he’s got a big bucket of food ready to assist people in surviving a disaster.
For $225, he’ll send you a five-gallon container with 60 meals crammed in it (but this product also needs water to revive the “food” before consumption). Some of the items sound good, but the advertised shelf life of 30 years makes me doubt taste was the focus of the “chef.” Of course, a new civil war or persecution from the Antichrist might last longer than 20 days, so people either need more buckets or plan to eat fewer meals per day. Also, the site says it’ll take 6-10 weeks for delivery, so you’ll have to pray everything remains calm at least through the year’s end.