Trinity Broadcasting Network’s nightly news program Centerpoint repeatedly promoted Christian nationalism. Anchors and guests argue that the U.S. is a fundamentally Christian nation and encourage viewers to support Donald Trump in order to fulfill God’s wishes.
TBN is an explicitly Christian broadcaster known globally for its televangelism and Christian lifestyle content. The network reaches around 95 million households via satellite, broadcasts 14 languages across 175 countries, and contains an extensive streaming portfolio. In 2022, TBN set its sights on a new type of programming ahead of the 2024 election: news.
On March 23, 2022, TBN launched Centerpoint, a 30-minute nightly news program produced by former Newsmax CEO Michael Clemente and initially anchored by ex-Fox correspondent Doug McKelway. According to Axios, the network claimed the “programming isn't meant to be politically biased, but will lean into Christian values.” The anchor lineup has shifted multiple times featuring various Christian voices such as Pastor Allen Jackson and former politician Rob Astorino, but recently TBN successfully poached yet another Newsmax expat, Lyndsay Keith.
Keith joined former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on the May 20 edition of his TBN program, Huckabee, where she said, “You know, a lot of times news comes to you through a lens, a liberal lens or a conservative lens, and we have opportunities to show through a biblical lens.”
This line between a “biblical lens” and outright Christian nationalism — the belief that America is a fundamentally Christian nation that should be governed by right-wing Christian beliefs — is often muddy on Centerpoint. The growing trend of Christian nationalism poses a real threat to a multicultural democracy. From the think tank, the Center for American Progress:
At its core, this idea threatens the principle of the separation of church and state and undermines the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It also leads to discrimination, and at times violence, against religious minorities and the nonreligious. Christian nationalism is also a contributing ideology in the religious right’s misuse of religious liberty as a rationale for circumventing laws and regulations aimed at protecting a pluralistic democracy, such as nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQI+ people, women, and religious minorities.
Different forms of Christian nationalist rhetoric are regularly spread on TBN's supposedly apolitical evening news show by both guests and network personalities.
Christian nationalism is apparent in TBN’s nightly news show
- Anchor Doug McKelway questioned if God would “allow for revolution” to get the United States “back in order.” McKelway asked his guest, “If we are unable to get our house back in order according to God's tenets, Jesus’ tenets, … is he willing to allow for revolution?” [TBN, Centerpoint, 4/10/23]
- TBN host and former actor Kirk Cameron pushed the Christian nationalist claim that America was built on “biblical principles” and advocated for Christians to assume postions of power. He further claimed that Christianity “is in our DNA as Americans. This is a nation that was built with the idea of biblical principles and a free constitutional republic as our framework.” Cameron concluded, “If we don’t assume positions of leadership in the country, it will be given to those with lesser values.” [TBN, Centerpoint, 3/30/23]
- Pastor Jentezen Franklin warned of a godless society and promoted the pro-Trump America First Policy Institutes' new Biblical Foundations project that aims to instill God “back into every aspect” of daily life, calling for the “merging of faith and politics.” “America was founded by our founders that had faith,” Franklin said. “What we believe is that Christianity will survive without America. But America will not survive without Christianity and without the foundations of the word of God.” Franklin went on to claim that foundations of Christianity are vital to American life, further tying the country to a single religion. [TBN, Centerpoint, 3/27/23]
- Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) said during an appearance on Centerpoint “God wants us to make America great again” and encouraged viewers to “vote for candidates that represent biblical values.” According to Allen, God is personally invested in the U.S and Trump’s success, saying, “God wants us to make America great again, for crying out loud. Who would be against that?” [TBN, Centerpoint, 3/22/23]
- Anchor Lyndsay Keith used the Uvalde shooting mourning to call for displaying the Christian Ten Commandments in public schools. Over footage of grieving families on the one-year anniversary of the school shooting, Keith said, “It was quite clear that they were honoring their loved ones in prayer. So we raise the question, why would anyone think that a dose of faith, religion, or a poster of the Ten Commandments be such a bad thing in our classrooms?” [TBN, Centerpoint, 5/24/23]
- Centerpoint guest and Former NFL player Jack Brewer advocated for the Ten Commandments to be taught in public schools, and blamed teen violence on the lack of prayer in these institutions. According to Brewer, “It goes back to morality and not having that fear of God, you know, being in the school system that doesn't teach God, that removes prayer, that doesn't even teach the basic Ten Commandments to set some type of morality in these children.” He concluded, “We’re not going to be able to play the secular route like we have in the past because there really is a line in the sand, and which side are you going to be on? ” [TBN, Centerpoint, 4/14/23]
- TBN host Shawn Bolz praised Trump and said he also advocated for Jesus and prayer to be taught in public schools. Despite constitutional issues, Bolz claimed Trump said, “We need religion like we never needed it before. We need Jesus back in schools and prayer back in schools, and he really stood with the faith community and said part of the reason why this is happening is because we have gone so far from religious core values in America and for morality.” [TBN, Centerpoint, 4/5/23]
- Centerpoint guest and Former Trump Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson argued for more federally sanctioned prayer and claimed that Christianity is a key component of America's identity because of the message “in God we trust” on U.S. currency. According to Carson, “When you think about the fact that our pledge of allegiance says we're one nation under God. All of our coins, all of our bills say, “In God we trust,” so it should be an essential part of our identity and who we are and how we act.” [TBN, Centerpoint, 1/30/23]
Christian nationalism on TBN goes beyond Centerpoint
TBN has a large range of shows that blend Christian lifestyle and talk show-style programming with politics, news, and religion. Takeaways with Kirk Cameron is one such show that sometimes crosses the threshold of Christian media into Christian nationalist propaganda.
In one episode, Cameron incorrectly claimed U.S. culture was rooted in the Bible: “We’ve got an incredible legacy and an incredible culture here, and it's rooted in the Bible. And if we turn back to thinking biblically, I think that we can again see the fruit of liberty and justice and the fruit of the spirit characterizing the country."
In another, Cameron gushed over the National Monument to the Forefathers, a relatively unknown monument in Plymouth, Massachusetts, celebrating the Mayflower Pilgrims. Cameron praised the monument for supposedly representing that “man's laws must always line up under God's laws or they're not good laws.” (Cameron appears to have fixated on this monument, creating a full movie about it and selling replicas from his online store.)
Cameron has a history of promoting Christian nationalism both on and off TBN. He is currently pushing a campaign against local libraries that involves reading conservative children’s books to “win back Story Hour and stand up for truth and Biblical values.” The books are intended to instill “pro-God, Pro-America” values, and Cameron has threatened to sue “woke libraries” if he is unable to read them.