Some Christian denominations are aggressively getting involved in the political and electoral arena, even promoting so-called Christian nationalism. Photo by Eduardo Stanley

Christian Nationalism Is a Perversion of Faith

Lately, we have been hearing politicians and preachers telling us that we need to embrace “Christian nationalism.”

Superficially, the language and purported motives of Christian nationalism might sound “Christian” and “patriotic,” however, at the core they are an utter repudiation of the teachings of Jesus and a grave threat to our democratic republic.

Christian nationalism goes against the teachings of Jesus when it

  • pushes the narrative that, out of all the peoples on the planet, God chose White America to be His Special People to Bring About His Will Upon the Earth.
  • teaches that the proof of God’s favor on America is that God gave America victory in military battles—implying that America’s wars are God’s wars and that America fights its wars with holy violence.
  • asks us to believe that America is “exceptional” and “blessed” with wealth because America is morally superior to other nations.
  • spurs us to give our loyalty to con artists who scorn principle—instead of supporting people with integrity.
  • flouts a constant river of flagrant lies—and “cancels” truth and any semblance of honesty.
  • assumes that Republicans are the righteous party of God-and-Country—and the Democrats are “demons” that want only to “destroy America.”
  • imposes legalistic religious laws on the general public who by and large are not members of a particular brand of that religion.

Christian nationalism menaces our democratic republic when it

  • treats America nearly as reverently as the kingdom of God.
  • elevates one leader as a near-messiah who alone can save the country.
  • assigns to that one leader the “divine right” not to lose elections.
  • says “yes” to authoritarianism—and “no” to the peaceful transfer of power after elections.
  • makes excuses for deliberate acts of heartless cruelty—such as Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation immigration policy.
  • stokes civil distrust, divisiveness, hatred and racism—by encouraging the Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates.
  • gins up fear and suspicion of darker-skinned “others” who will bring crime and degradation, “mongrelize” our society and “replace” good White Christians.
  • claims that our society is “colorblind” and that “liberty and justice for all” has been by and large achieved—while ignoring abundant evidence to the contrary.
  • bans books in schools that cover our country’s legacy of White supremacy, slavery, Jim Crow and the 500-year genocide against the people who were here first, the indigenous Americans.
  • attacks the LGBTQ+ community and refuses to endorse universal human rights.
  • suppresses the voting rights of minority voters through gerrymandering, unjustified purging of voter rolls, reducing the number of polling places that serve minority communities, revoking the voting rights of people who have been incarcerated but have “served their time” and other tactics.

Christian nationalism is full of falsehood when it

  • misuses “pro-life” rhetoric—as if you can be “pro-life” and at the same time deny poor people healthcare, or you vote against environmental protections for air, land and water, or you support the selling of AR-15s to anyone and everyone, without any restrictions or background checks.
  • claims to be “America First” but is against working people by opposing a living wage, working to bust unions and chomping at the bit for more wars. 
  • claims to be for working people, but in reality gives huge tax breaks to Big Business (“corporate welfare”) and the super-rich—increasing the economic pressure on and desperation of the working-class and low-income people.
  • complains about persecution and discrimination against White people while averting its gaze from the long-standing and obvious persecution and discrimination by White Christians against non-White non-Christians.

Christian nationalism is all about fascistic White nationalism when it

  • hearkens back to a golden era when America used to be “great” because of its “Western European” heritage.
  • yearns to “make America great again” by installing in positions of power and influence the people who rightfully “should be” in charge—White Christians, naturally!
  • presents America as formed of White Christians, by White Christians and for White Christians; others might be permitted to live here, but they are not “true” Americans and must recognize their inferior status.

Christian nationalism is a perversion of faith. It is a direct assault on our democracy, it is based on lies and disinformation and it serves an authoritarian, fascist agenda.

It must be emphatically renounced especially by Christians.

  • Bayard Taylor is a resident of the 93675 zip code, a nature lover, the author of two books, a former English teacher and a master of divinity graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

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