There Is Nothing ‘Christian’ About Christian Nationalism

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Christian nationalism has become one of the progressive left’s newest bugaboos. Democratic politicians and members of the activist media have been using the term to smear those with whom they disagree, as is their typical modus operandi. Indeed, it seems anyone who is to the right of Bernie Sanders is probably a Christian nationalist according to those on the left.

But while progressives are using the term as a political weapon, there is a Christian nationalist ideology that appears to have emerged on the right. To be clear, this ideology is not dominant among conservatives nor do its adherents make up a large percentage of those with right-leaning beliefs. But, along with other right-wing authoritarian movements, it seems to be gaining a modicum of steam, meaning those who prefer liberty should take notice.

I recently participated in a conversation on Twitter Spaces to discuss the rise of Christian nationalism and why it is not a desirable path to travel.

Christianity Today defines Christian Nationalism as “the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way.”

There are myriad differing views in this movement. It is important to note that while some of its adherents advocate for the government to legislate Christian morality, not all favor this approach.

However, those who do favor this type of system believe the state should outlaw certain behaviors like consuming pornography, engaging in adultery, and participating in non-straight sexual activity. In essence, these people want an American theocracy of sorts. From Christianity Today:

Christian nationalists want to define America as a Christian nation and they want the government to promote a specific cultural template as the official culture of the country. Some have advocated for an amendment to the Constitution to recognize America’s Christian heritage, others to reinstitute prayer in public schools. Some work to enshrine a Christian nationalist interpretation of American history in school curricula, including that America has a special relationship with God or has been “chosen” by him to carry out a special mission on earth. Others advocate for immigration restrictions specifically to prevent a change to American religious and ethnic demographics or a change to American culture. Some want to empower the government to take stronger action to circumscribe immoral behavior.

Despite progressive efforts to use the term “Christian Nationalism” as a political cudgel, most people aren’t even aware of the existence of the movement. A Pew Research poll conducted last year notes that about 45 percent have “heard at least a little about Christian Nationalism.”

Furthermore, non-Christians are far more likely to have heard the term than practicing Christians (55 percent to 40 percent). In fact, 78 percent of atheists and 63 percent of agnostics reported being familiar with the label.

Still, Christian Nationalism remains a fringe movement with ideas antithetical to those of liberty. As an authoritarian theocratic belief system, it would essentially be no better than the Marxist authoritarianism being promoted by the hard left. By legislating morality that has nothing to do with protecting people’s rights, they could be every bit as abusive as those they claim to oppose.

Even further, the Bible does not command us to establish a state that enforces our morality on others. At no point in the New Testament did Jesus teach his disciples to rely on the government to force people to live a holy life. In fact, when given the opportunity to stone an adulteress to death for sinning, He decided to show grace, instead of adhering to the law, which would have required her execution. After the apostles took up the mantle after Jesus ascended to heaven, they also did not advocate for the government to compel people to follow God’s laws.

If Christians believe that societal ills like pornography, prostitution, drug addiction, and others should not exist, it is up to us to effect positive change in our communities. The church should be active in providing the guidance, assistance, and spiritual leadership necessary to address the problems its communities face. The government’s role is to protect our rights – nothing more, nothing less. If we want these issues to disappear, then we as a community need to step up instead of relying on a government deity to act.


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