Onward, Christianist soldiers?
"Isms" were not in good odor for much of the last century. American political writers of a centrist-to-conservative cast used to rail against an evil triumvirate of "socialism, communism, and fascism" and contrast them with the only "ism" they liked: "Americanism."
Goodness, this kind of rhetoric sounds quaint: a relic of the days when journalists were called newsmen, and they clapped their fedoras onto their heads when they bolted out of the office in search of a scoop.
When these worthies said "Americanism," they meant the American constitutional system, as it translated into a political culture and a free, open society. In that sense, the term seems harmless.
But see it as American + ism, the ideology of being "American," and it seems less innocent. Does the term have counterparts in other nations, and if so, how would we feel about them? How would we feel about "Indonesianism," say, or "Dutchism"? "Peruvianism"?
I've recently run across another "ism" that might end up making trouble in our own time: Christianism.
Google has rounded up 631 hits for me for "Christianist," along with the query, "Did you mean to search for 'Christiano'?" Hmm, no, thank you.
I figure 631 hits is the Internet equivalent of seeing the first sliver of the sun coming up over the mountain in the morning.
"Christianist" is evidently formed on the analogy of "Islamist." Islamist is in the dictionaries meaning either an Islamic studies specialist or simply an adherent of Islam - a Muslim.
Here's what Wikipedia says about "Islamism": "a political ideology derived from the conservative religious views of Muslim fundamentalism. It holds Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic, and social imperatives of the state."