Christian Nationalism Distorts American and Christian Values: Group

  • Some Republican lawmakers embrace Christian nationalism and dismiss critics as the “godless left.”
  • Christians Against Christian Nationalism represents 27,000 Christians who have rejected the concept.
  • The campaign organizer told Insider that Christian nationalism violates core Christian values.

Proponents of Christian nationalism suggest that those who express concern about the ideology are just that “godless left”, but tens of thousands of Christians argue that the concept directly contradicts the teachings of their faith.

Christian groups launched a campaign in 2019 aimed at denouncing Christian nationalism – the belief that the US and Christianity are inextricably linked and therefore religion should have a privileged position in American society and government.

Christians Against Christian Nationalism has since led more than 27,000 Christians of various denominations and political philosophies to sign their statement of principles rejecting the concept. The principles include statements such as “religious affiliation or lack thereof should not be relevant to the position of the civil society” and “government should not favor one religion over another or religion over non-religion”.

“Many of our signatories believe that pushing back against Christian nationalism is essential not only to our democracy but to preserving our faith,” Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty and lead organizer of the campaign, said Insider.

She said the effort was the result of growing concern that Christian nationalism was becoming more violent, citing the 2018 synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and the 2019 mosque shooting in New Zealand. In both cases, the suspects professed Christian nationalist ideas.

Despite the disparaging claims made by the ideology’s proponents, opponents of Christian nationalism argue that it violates core American and Christian values.

Violating two basic Christian beliefs

There are numerous ways in which Christian nationalism opposes Christianity, according to Tyler, but the most obvious involves two of Jesus’ most basic teachings: first, to love God above all else, and second, to love your neighbor as yourself.

“Christian nationalism creates this false idol of authority and causes us to confuse political authority with religious authority,” Tyler said. “And in doing so, it makes us put our patriotism, our allegiance to America above our allegiance to God.

Christian nationalists believe that the US has a special relationship with God. This overlap of patriotism, politics, and Christianity was on full display at the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Supporters of former President Donald Trump carried banners with messages such as “Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president” and “Make America Godly Again. “

Tyler said that Christian nationalism “leads people to the idolatry of country before the worship of God.”

“One can be a patriot like me. We can love God and we can love country at the same time, but if our patriotism causes us to sacrifice our theological convictions, then it ceases to be patriotism. It becomes nationalism,” she said.

Christian nationalists also believe that the government should declare the US a Christian nation, uphold Christian values, and restore prayer to public schools.

But those ideals “create this second-class status for our non-Christian neighbors,” Tyler said — and send the message that to be truly American, you have to be Christian.

“It causes harm to our non-Christian neighbors and also causes us to violate our call to love our neighbor,” she said.

She added that Christianity is also a global religion, so the Christian nationalist belief that God has a special plan for the U.S. rejects members of the faith around the world.

An “anxious” acceptance of Christian nationalism

As far as American values ​​go, the separation of church and state has long been considered a defining characteristic of religious freedom in the US. But recently, some on the right, such as Congressman Lauren Bobert of Colorado, have suggested that the separation has gone too far. Bobert went so far as to say that “the church should control the government.”

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green openly identifies as a Christian nationalist and said that The Republican Party should be the party of Christian nationalism.

While the concept isn’t new, Tyler said she’s concerned about how it’s been increasingly perceived in recent months, noting she saw multiple instances of Christian nationalism at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month.

“That’s always been there, but the fact that they’re openly embracing the label is different and troubling,” she said, adding: “Unfortunately, I see it almost a one-and-done game in some circles, who might be the bigger Christian nationalist.” “

Tyler said the overt support for the ideology makes it especially important for Christians to speak out against it to show that believers also see it as dangerous.

“We are at risk of normalizing Christian nationalism,” she said. “It’s even more incumbent on us to explain why this is un-American and also a departure from Christian values.”

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