You have probably seen headlines recently about the evils of Christian nationalism, mainly because of December’s Jericho March in Washington, DC, and because of a mob of Trump fans. Many sporting Christian signs, mottos, or symbols– rioted and stormed the United States Capitol building.
What is patriotism, and is it good?
Patriotism is the love of the nation. It varies from nationalism, which is an argument about defining our country. Since all of God’s production is great and patriotism helps us appreciate our particular place in it, Christians must acknowledge that patriotism is good. Our love and loyalty to a specific part of God’s creation help us do the excellent work of cultivating and improving the function we happen to live in. As Christians, we can and ought to enjoy the United States– which likewise implies improving our nation by holding it up for critique and working for justice when it errs.
What is nationalism?
There are numerous definitions of nationalism and an active argument about how best to define it. Many scholars concur that nationalism starts with believing that humanity is divisible into equally unique. Internally coherent cultural groups are defined by shared qualities like language, culture, ethnic culture, or faith. From there, scholars say, nationalists think that these groups ought to each have their federal governments. That government must safeguard a country and promote cultural identity. That sovereign nationwide groups offer meaning and function for human beings.
What is Christian nationalism?
Christian nationalism is the belief that Christianity specifies the American country. The government must take active actions to keep it that way. Widely, Christian nationalists assert that America is and must stay a “Christian nation.” Not merely as an observation about American history but as an authoritative program for what America needs to be. Scholars like Samuel Huntington have made a similar argument: its “Anglo-Protestant” past specifies America. We will lose our identity and liberty if we do not protect our cultural inheritance.
Christian nationalists do not decline the First Amendment. They do not promote theocracy, but they think that Christianity ought to enjoy a fortunate position in the public square. The term “Christian nationalism” is relatively brand-new, and its advocates generally do not utilize it themselves. Still, it accurately explains American nationalists who think American identity is inextricable from Christianity.
What is the issue with nationalism?
Cultural identities are complex and fluid to draw borders around, but political boundaries are harsh and semipermanent. Attempting to discover political authenticity on cultural likeness means political order will constantly be threatened as illegitimate by some group or other. Cultural pluralism is inescapable in every nation.
Is that truly a problem or just an abstract worry?
It is a significant issue. When nationalists tackle building their country, they need to define who is not part of the nation. There are constantly dissidents and minorities who do not or can not adhere to the nationalists’ preferred artistic design template. In the lack of moral authority, nationalists can only develop themselves by force. Scholars are almost unanimous that nationalist governments tend to be authoritarian and overbearing in practice. In past generations, to the level that the United States had quasi-established official religious beliefs of Protestantism, it did not regard true religious liberty. Worse, the United States and numerous specific states used Christianity to support slavery and segregation.
What is Christian nationalism, and how is it different from Christianity? How should Christians think about nations, particularly about the United States? Christians should acknowledge that patriotism is excellent because all of God’s production is good, and patriotism helps us value our particular location in it. Christian nationalism believes that Christianity specifies the American country and that the federal government needs to take active actions to keep it that method. Widely, Christian nationalists assert that America is and must remain a “Christian country.” Not merely as an observation about American history but a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future.
One reply on “Christian nationalism? How is it different from Being Christian?”
I couldn’t disagree with you more.
The Old Testament was writing in a time of tribes and tribal loyalties; the translation into “nation” connotes ideas that were never part of the text. As the New Testament goes, Rome is the closest thing to a modern nation-state, and it’s not very close to what we have now. The same criticism of the translation applies.
Christian nationalism has its basis in bigotry. directly contradicting the teachings of Jesus with regard to the treatment of “strangers.” Christian academies popped up in the 1960s following passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts expressly for the purpose of removing kids from newly integrated public schools. That’s also when and why Southern Democrats defected to the GOP.
Ben Franklin — a key player in the creation of the US Constitution — was the first to invite a representative of Islam to address an audience in Philadelphia. Several leaders including Franklin, Jefferson and Washington professed Deism, which is different from what we now call Christianity. Part of the American Revolution was fueled by rebellion against the Church of England and against the notion that any religion have a “preferred place” in this republic.
Note that in the oath of allegiance, the phrase “Under God” was added in the 1950s as an anti-Communist act. It had nothing to do with the founding of this country.
Much like the Christian Right helped bring Hitler to power, it can destroy this country as well.
There’s the famous quote from Gandhi: “I like your Christ. I don’t like your Christians. They are so unlike Christ.”
It’s way past time for a rebirth in Christian churches to realign them with what Christ actually taught.
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