| by Beth Daviess

In early 2021, the Society for American Civic Renewal (“SACR,” pronounced “sacker”) quietly launched a website, announcing the inception of a new, men’s only Christian organization with lofty political goals. SACR’s website claimed that the organization sought “a civilizational renaissance,” and articulated some vague societal-level goals, including “reclaim[ing] a humane vision of society” and “rebuilding the frontier-conquering spirit of America.” SACR was notable in making no attempt to elide its gender exclusivity, describing itself as “a brotherhood of faith and solidarity.” Its exclusionary membership places SACR in the company of groups like the Proud Boys, Patriot Front, Atomwaffen, and the Base, who also only admit men in their pursuit of violence and white supremacy.  

a torn logo in red on a grey background

But SACR remained largely unknown until 2023 when the Guardian identified the group’s principal officer as Charles Haywood, a businessman and far-right blogger with ties to the conservative think tank, the Claremont Institute. In early 2024, Talking Points Memo (TPM) obtained private correspondence between members of SACR, including internal documents describing membership criteria and outlining both an internal and external mission statement, both of which generally express alarm at the state of American society. The correspondence also identifies several SACR leaders. Likely in anticipation of TPM’s publication and shortly before the article dropped, several prominent right-wing individuals identified themselves as associated with SACR, including Ryan Williams, CEO of the Claremont Institute.  

 This research note explores two elements of SACR’s ideology, as articulated by SACR’s website, documents obtained by TPM, and by writing of known founding members of SACR, including Haywood. The first section analyzes SACR’s relationship with gender, marriage, and sexual ethics. The second examines undercurrents of neo-fascist accelerationism present in SACR’s Christian philosophy and articulated by SACR leaders. These elements, though by no means the only important pieces of SACR’s philosophy, have not yet been thoroughly explored.1  

Gender and Family 

A prominent element of the civic renewal that SACR seeks is the recommitment to and deepening of traditional gender roles, which SACR views as central to Christianity and their national vision. SACR membership criteria provide significant insight into the organization’s values surrounding gender and what kind of members it seeks. These include “adherence to traditional Christian sexual ethics;” “taking ownership as head of household in terms of leading regular prayer and spiritual reading and reflection;” “a traditional understanding of patriarchal leadership in the household, and an acceptance of traditional Natural Law in ethics more broadly.” SACR places a strong focus on members who demonstrate their patriarchal values within their own family. It is unsurprising, then, that marital status is also considered in prospective applicants.  

Women and Marriage  

According to the documents obtained by TPM, the Boise SACR chapter attempted to draft a “Statement on Marriage,” which would be provided to local churches, who could then adopt it. The statement was meant to encourage churches to proclaim an “intentional effort to celebrate the benefits of family life” because American “culture is hostile to Christian marriage.” 

The Boise chapter is led by Scott Yenor, a political science professor at Boise State. Yenor takes a particular interest in marriage, viewing it as under threat particularly from feminism and women’s increasing presence in the workforce, rather than in the home: “[o]ur independent women seek their purpose in life in mid-level bureaucratic jobs like human resource management, environmental protection, and marketing… . They are more medicated, meddlesome and quarrelsome than women need to be.” According to Yenor, the “evil of feminism” is that it teaches boys and girls that they want the same things. Yenor believes this trend poses a threat not just to the traditional family structure but to the possibility of a “national conservatism.” Speaking in 2022, at the National Conservative Conference hosted by the Claremont Institute, Yenor states:   

No national conservatism can be built from the assumptions and aspirations of today’s modern, single, independent, urban woman… . There is no way to go from ‘Sex and the City’ to national conservatism. There is no way to go from an ethic of vanity in the service of fleeting beauty and middling feminine careerism to an ethic of self-sacrifice in the service of higher things. The feminist ethic of careerism and easy sex is a recipe for national disaster. 

 For Yenor, conservatism on a national scale requires conservatism on an individual level. Women in particular have strayed, or been allowed to stray (by increasingly inclusive social policies that have been pushed by degenerate modern culture), from this vision. Yenor’s focus on “Sex and the City,” which premiered in 1998, indicates that he views this decline in women’s virtue as ongoing for at least the last 25 years. He is not focused on the contemporary list of the ills of feminism that many conservatives today decry, such as being harmful to boys or promoting homosexuality, though he does object to feminism on those grounds as well. Instead, Yenor targets women’s participation in the labor force and their resulting independence from men as the root of many, if not most, societal ills.  

To this, Yenor proposes a few solutions. First, he says that young men “must be respectful and responsible to inspire young women to be secure with feminine goals of homemaking and having children.” Second, “[e]very effort must be made not to recruit women into engineering, but rather to recruit and demand more of men who become engineers. Ditto for med school, and the law, and every trade” [emphasis added]. Yenor’s focus on foreclosing career opportunities to women shows that he understands women’s moral degradation to flow from their participation in the world outside the home. Ameliorating this degradation can also be accomplished by “deemphasizing colleges and universities,” particularly for women, who often delay marriage in order to attend, Yenor explains. By limiting this participation in the workforce or in education and once again constraining women to the domestic sphere, Yenor implies they will naturally slough off their modern values and adopt conservative ones. The end goal, he suggests, is the elimination of women’s participation in the public sphere: “If every Nobel prize winner is a man, that is not a failure, it’s kind of a cause for celebration.” 

Family, and in particular, a traditionally gendered notion of family, plays an exceedingly important role in Yenor’s political philosophy: “there can be no great countries without great families.” He then links women’s public participation in the world to the decay of strong families: “[w]ithout connections to eternity delivered through their family, such medicated, quarrelsome, and meddlesome women gain their meaning through their seeming participation in the global project.” Women’s broader public participation by women, Yenor suggests, is a social ill, and must be corrected or risk “national disaster.” How, precisely, women are connected to eternity through obedient service to the family unit is left to the listeners to decide. 

“Christian Sexual Ethics” 

The SACR admission criteria highlight the importance of “Christian sexual ethics,” and “Natural Law,” but provide no specifics. Yenor’s writing nonetheless provides some insights: in a blog post titled “A High Road for Protestant Sexual Ethics,” Yenor condemns the availability of birth control and divorce as having the potential to weaken the commitment of a married couple. Unsurprisingly, Yenor does not acknowledge how both divorce and birth control give women, especially those in abusive or otherwise problematic relationships, substantial control and flexibility over their own lives. He also condemns both homosexual relationships and marriages as weakening the bonds of heterosexual marriages. Finally, Yenor identifies “Soft Patriarchy” as critical to a virtuous marriage: “the husband is the head of the wife. He is not her boss but her benefactor,” and she is “happy to be subordinate to him.” Rather than the husband viewing the wife as a “best friend,” he “serves and leads” her because “they do not contribute the same thing to the marriage.” Yenor claims this version of “communal marriages” is distinctively Christian and implores churches to “double down” on instructing parishioners to adhere to this form of marriage.  

What distinguishes “soft patriarchy” from its implied companion, “hard patriarchy,” Yenor does not say. He does, however, paint a vision of a couple who happily, and willingly adhere to this relationship structure. Perhaps we are meant to infer from their willingness that the method of enforcing such a patriarchal structure would be soft, with teaching and instillation of values the primary method, rather than by force.  

 In a way, Yenor perversely embodies the feminist credo that the personal is political because for Yenor, one’s personal sexual ethics play a direct role in shaping the country. But from his perspective this means that true Christians “must be concerned with the broader marital ecosystem if they are to have healthy marriages,” calling for “civil righteousness.” Put differently, anyone’s marriage with whom you disagree is your business, because it poses a threat to your own marriage. In other work, Yenor calls for a “sexual counter revolution,” involving, in addition to the reprioritization of the Christian values of chastity and marriage, ending no-fault divorce, prohibiting abortion, “renewing cultural stigmas concerning contraception,” and enforcement of “sexual taboos” based on “Old Wisdom,” meaning stigmatizing LGBTQIA+ people.   

The final element of SACR’s literature related to gender is a focus on reinforcing and strengthening hegemonic masculinity. SACR’s mission statement expresses concern that “those who rule … have alienated men from family, community, and God.” SACR seeks to “counter and conquer this poison, rebuilding a society where a man can find genuine fulfillment, true to his nature and calling, rejoicing in virtue and vitality.” Though these statements are somewhat vague, in his work, Yenor echoes earlier masculinity-focused movements and ties men’s supposed alienation and demasculinization directly to “our feminist culture” and the “androgenization” of familial and societal roles. Only through the re-gendering of jobs, roles, and identities can men find fulfillment, and coordinately, can conservatism live up to its promises of providing a “great nation.”  

Christian Nationalism and Neo-fascist Accelerationism  

SACR literature is vague about its approach for successfully achieving the “renewal” of American society. Its internal mission statement says that it seeks to “reverse our society’s decline,” and seeks “those who understand the nature of authority and its legitimate forceful exercise in the temporal realm.” SACR leadership who write and speak publicly provide some insight into what exactly SACR diagnoses as the problem with American society and its proposed solution. The answer includes a clear evocation of Christian nationalism, even as members themselves disagree as to whether SACR should be considered a Christian nationalist organization. Further, some SACR leaders’ statements include currents of neo-fascist accelerationism, which come out both in the members’ critiques of American society and their desires for the future.  

Christian nationalism frequently features narratives about the decline of American society. Some Christian nationalists are also particularly interested in an authoritarian state that enforces White Christian ethnonationalism. But, as examined below, statements of SACR leaders take these tendencies to an extreme by invoking strains of accelerationism that few organizations publicly endorse.  

Combating Societal Decline 

SACR’s public-facing mission statement claims that “America is in a state of crisis,” echoing many current right-wing refrains. But SACR’s perspective is slightly different than many on the mainstream right. Founding board member and Claremont Institute CEO Ryan Williams told The Atlantic that he is preparing for, though not hoping for, another Civil War. TPM states, “SACR and its members harp on the idea that America is in a fatal stage of rot, and that they are an oppressed people waiting to rise up on behalf of a silent majority.”  

SACR founder, sponsor, and principal officer Charles Haywood reiterates this view in his blog2 as he claims to seek “the renewal of society, or the rebuilding anew of a crumbled society.” Haywood’s blog also discusses Italian neo-fascist icon Julius Evola, whose philosophy informs much of modern neo-fascist accelerationism. Though Haywood, a conservative Christian, does not endorse Evola’s pagan Traditionalism, he agrees with Evola’s call for “attacks on the modern world.” Haywood is fundamentally sympathetic to Evola’s core critique of liberal democracy as a broken system with its destruction a desirable goal.  

In a blog post titled “On the Future Ascent of a Caesar,” Haywood argues that, if the modern world is to be escaped, “the fastest, cleanest, least destructive, and most effective path to real necessary change in the lands currently known as the United States is Caesar.” From Haywood’s perspective, only through “the rise of a Caesar” can we create “wholly-new structures of power, along with the substantial transformation of surviving structures of power.” As The Guardian notes, this rhetoric is typical of “‘palingenetic ultranationalism’, a feature of fascism that proposes a revolution as a means of national rebirth.’” It also echoes SACR’s self-description: “a new thing for a new day, informed by the wisdom of the past but facing the future.” 

Authority and the Exercise of Power 

SACR claims that its symbol stands in part for “authority and the exercise of power,” but provides little explication of this. Slightly more specific, when SACR’s mission statement claims that they “seek those who understand the nature of authority and its legitimate forceful exercise in the temporal realm,” it is unclear exactly what exercise of power SACR is interested in and whose authority they lionize.  

 However, Haywood writes extensively about the exercise of power and authority, again providing a window into SACR’s vision that organizational writing does not. Throughout his blog, Haywood articulates a political philosophy he calls “foundationalism,” which proposes a non-democratic government of “unlimited means,” to enforce, among other things, “virtue,” “sex-role realism,” “the subordination of economics to politics,” “hierarchy and order,” “Christian religion,” and “techno-optimism.” In other writing, Haywood explicitly endorses the idea of Caesarism, that a strongman is needed to serve as a “radical reconstructor of our polity.”  

 At the bottom of every page of Haywood’s blog, there are several quotes that he claims encapsulate his “politico-tactical sensibilities.” One reads, “Naglfar, the ship of the apocalypse, shifts into a calculable position,” attributed to Ernst Jünger. Jünger is a German author who fought for the Weimar Republic in WWI and wrote extensively, both nonfiction and fiction, in critique of liberalism and democracy and in favor of the glorification of war and militarism: “You could classify him as a cosmopolitan fascist, one who saw war as essential to the development of any national culture.” Though Jünger is now remembered for his post-war conservatism, prior to and during the Second World War, Jünger was better described as “impeccably fascistic” and once ridiculed the Nazi Party for their participation in the democratic process. As one critic explains, Jünger’s fiction work “could be interpreted as a model for a new, hierarchically ordered society beyond democracy, beyond the security of bourgeois society and ennui.”  

 Jünger’s work appears to perfectly sum up Haywood’s philosophy of violence as necessary to the establishment of an authoritarian state. As for Naglfar, mentioned on every page of Haywood’s blog, Haywood explains that it is “the ship, in Norse mythology, that will ferry dead men to fight the gods in the final battle, Ragnarök. That is, Jünger wants a renewal, but he sees no way that [the fictional nation in Jünger’s novel] can be renewed in the usual course of life.” Haywood lauds Jünger for identifying the “specific tyranny and flaws of liberal democracy,” echoing an accelerationist assessment of the weak points of democratic societies.  

 Endorsement of Violence  

SACR’s public statements focus on cultural and ideological attacks, rather than physical ones. Haywood’s personal writing is quite different, suggesting that  when Haywood describes his blog as “battle preparation,” we should not necessarily assume that the battle he speaks of is merely metaphorical. This is clear in the blog’s biography, which reads: 

 [Haywood] desires comity but realizes, despite being a practicing and believing Christian, that ultimately no final question can be solved without conflict, usually involving violence. Thus, his style tends to be megalomaniacal and apocalyptic. He likes to fight. 

 In October of 2021, the year that SACR launched its public-facing website, Haywood wrote about his belief that “renewal could never happen except through extreme violence.” It is notable, then, to consider the implications of Haywood choosing the name “the Society for American Civic Renewal.” In the blog, Haywood also echoes militant accelerationism’s assertion that “there are no political solutions” and that violence will be required to achieve SACR’s political goals. This adds nuance to SACR’s mission to “secure permanently … the political and social dominance” of their particular articulation of Christianity. Haywood’s personal writings make clear that the means of securing his ideal state are likely to include violence, and that violence might be part of the point rather than an unavoidable byproduct of their aims.  

 Importantly, unlike Evola and many militant accelerationists, Haywood and SACR are explicitly Christian. They make clear that the national rebirth they seek prioritizes “secur[ing] a future for Christian families.” Though SACR differs from some militant accelerationists in the centrality of religion in their imagined future, we can see how closely Christian nationalist organizations like SACR can align with the accelerationist critique of modern society and prescription of solutions.  


 All known SACR members present themselves with a veneer of professionalism, and work in respected professional sectors. SACR membership includes Harvard law grads, a think tank CEO, a public university professor, and a wealthy entrepreneur. Each of them writes with a polish that elides their message of dominance and brutality. Haywood sold his business, and his public work currently takes the form of his blog, where he writes lengthy book reviews, primarily of conservative non-fiction. Though Haywood’s format appears banal, and probably loses him a lot of readers, within each post is a deeply violent fascistic vision that he is currently working on actualizing through SACR. In one post, Haywood writes, “I have long admired Hernán Cortes, conqueror of the Aztecs. He may not have gotten to Heaven, though who can say, but he exemplified the spirit of the West.”  

 So far, SACR has not called for any type of violence, and for all SACR’s investment in cultivating a symbolism-laden brand, one of their founding members explained in an X post that their organizational symbol has “no literal meaning.” Although Haywood regularly writes about violence and its necessity, he is primarily a blogger, book reviewer, and podcaster with a little over 400 subscribers—a far from impressive number. There can be risks in taking an organization like this too seriously at the expense of ignoring organizations and actors who may be more engaged in direct, violent action. There is also the risk that giving groups like this undue attention lends them a sense of legitimacy they would otherwise lack, and SACR leaders claim that they received increased membership inquiries following publication of The Guardian article.  

 However, responsible analyses of the themes and claims to power that groups like SACR help normalize in the public sphere are necessary for understanding the ongoing threats that emerge from the nexus of organized misogyny, Christian nationalism, and accelerationism. As mainstream politicians increasingly reflect Christian nationalist values and the SACR-linked Claremont Institute partners in the development of Project 2025, SACR’s leadership and others sympathetic to them appear increasingly close to power in the US. As the 2024 election provides strategic opportunities for organizations like SACR, it is worth a close examination of the narratives and individuals that motivate and shape this quest for “renewal.”  

1 Future examinations of SACR could include SACR’s relationship to race and whether its articulation of Christian nationalism is racially exclusionary.  

2 CTEC reviewed significant portions of Haywood’s writing. Links to the referenced content will not be provided to avoid driving additional traffic to them.