A Christian Nationalist follows a political platform advocating Christian principles in government and law. Christian nationalism is a means by which we, as Christians, reaffirm our right to live in a society that accurately reflects the will of God. As a lawful society model, we stand for representative democracy, constitutional government, States Rights, Christian welfare, and the Holy Bible.
Simply put, Christian nationalism — an idea that promotes fusion of Christianity * with American civic belonging and participation — is nascent or proto-fascism. Not full-blown fascism (yet), but a network of supposedly-religious philosophies, cultures, and values that could theoretically lead toward fascism provided the right mix of resources, political opportunities, and a population acclimated to its underlying beliefs.
Do not miss out on the asterisk. It denotes that the “Christian” material of Christian nationalism stands for something much beyond mere orthodoxy (and we think completely different from it). In this sense, “Christian” reflects more of an ethnocultural and political ideology that signifies a particular set of religious affiliation, cultural beliefs, ethnicity, and nationality (American-born).
It also allows one to differentiate Christian nationalism from religion itself.
Our research clearly shows that Christian nationalism has nothing (in reality) to do with religiousness per se. Indeed, when we compare how Christian nationalist ideology and conventional religious participation interventions (e.g., worship attendance, prayer, scriptural reading) affect American people’s political attitudes and actions, we find that they operate in the exact opposite direction.
Consider the opinions of Christian nationalism and Americans as to Middle East refugees. The further proclaimed Christian nationalism, the more likely it is to believe that such refugees pose a potential threat to the United States.
Why is Christian nationalism so different from conventional involvement with religion? Because it is a white republican American religion that worships authority. It is called the “Christian,” but only as a code of sorts. Much like words like “terrorists,” “welfare queens,” “illegals,” and “criminals” become racially-coded buzzword phrases in our political discourse, so in the minds of many religious Americans, the word “Christian” stands for “fair and decent (white, native-born) people” it also stands for “us” who have to protect “our” country from “them.
According to Jason Stanley states, When “us” and “we” become the sole guardians of national heritage and proper social order, the only ones protecting our prosperous future and battling against moral degradation, “we” can become more desperate and willing to sacrifice any remaining moral scruples over means to achieve the required ends.
Stanley concludes that its normalization is a crucial step towards full-scale fascism; its threatening maturation depends on remaining unrecognized. That’s why contemporary Christian nationalism poses such a pernicious threat; it’s normalized in our public discourse.
Our tests of Christian nationalist sentiment seem so harmless in all our studies: whether Americans feel the government should uphold Christian ideals, whether they think religious symbols should be shown in public spaces, whether they think the prosperity of our country is part of God’s plan, among others. Most Americans do not feel any inherent danger from isolating such views.
But in addition, these views undergird the features of the terrifying totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century — populist demagoguery, xenophobia, minority persecution, anti-intellectualism, jingoist militarism, authoritarianism.
Whether Christian nationalism evolves further will rely on whether Americans accept it for what it really is. It may speak religion, but it walks fascism.
It’s trendy now to reject “Christian nationalism.” Recently, it was denounced by a group of mostly liberal Protestant clergy, quite superficially, as what they criticize, almost nobody condemns, and what they support, almost nobody opposes. Below are some of their bromides:
People of all religions and none have the right to participate constructively in the public square.
Patriotism does not require compromising our religious values.
One’s religious identity, or lack thereof, should be insignificant to one’s public society status.
The state does not assign religion to religion over non-religion.
Religious teaching is best left to worship centers, other religious institutions, and communities.
Do you agree? Unnamed “Christian Nationalists.” What is Christian nationalism? “These liberal clerics say:
Christian nationalism aims to combine Christian and American ideologies, distorting Christian Faith, and constitutional democracy in the United States. Christian nationalism demands that the State privilege Christianity and suggests that one must be Christian to be a decent American. It also overlaps with white supremacy and racial subjugation. We condemn this negative political plan and encourage our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this challenge to our Faith and country.
They often warn:
We must stand up and speak out against Christian nationalism, particularly when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation — including arson, bombing, explosive, hate crimes, and assaults on worship homes — against religious communities at home and abroad.
Who are these Christian nationalists? They don’t say it seems like a significant omission.
Today, there is a more nuanced denunciation of conservative nationalism supported by influential Christian liberal scholars, including Cornel West and Stanley Hauerwas. It equates nationalism to xenophobia, chauvinism. Significantly, while some Christians regret having embraced nationalism, it does not mention “Christian nationalism,” possibly because its signers understand that such a supposed phenomenon is hard to classify and describe.
In America, arguing “privilege” is controversial. The Faith strives to restore and represent its members, not “privilege.” Part of the Church’s mission is to reform culture in order to recognize all people as God’s picture bearers. Nearly all “Christian nationalism” advocates, like almost all Americans, want laws and social policies that promote equality for all races and ethnicities, for men and women, while protecting the poor, young, elderly, sick and disabled and granting freedom of expression and conscience, including religious freedom, to everyone. These ideals, which would have fascinated ancient pagans, are deeply rooted in Christian theology, which affirms that each person is made equally before God, has eternal personhood bearing His likeness, and stands before His judgment.
Are these rules and social norms inspired by Christian examples of Christian “privilege? “No, but they show how America was influenced by Gospel ideals and aspirations, although unevenly because it was demographically Christian. Our laws and human dignity values are not imposed from above so much as they are the result of longstanding universal beliefs influenced by Christianity. And even though all Americans believed that they would become atheists in the future, those convictions, the fruits, and habits of centuries would not vanish soon. There is no simple erasing of longstanding national character.
Is “Christian nationalism,” an example of maintaining a Christian ethos of human dignity? “Critics obviously would say no. They envision and fear a religious and political movement of mostly unknown leaders and followers that would practically favor Christianity in law and tradition such that non-Christians and heterodox Christians are less than equal.
If such a Christian nationalism does indeed exist as a powerful influence, it should be rejected and resisted. But where are they? Who are its founders and followers? Where is the literature about it? Where do they meet? If this campaign really needs denunciation and resistance, these questions require thorough answers.
The stance of the Christian Nationalist Alliance is not just no, but that this can not be achieved. The spectrum of what most people seek in separating religion from politics is limited to the Christian ideologies. They have no problem with the Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, or even Muslims speaking as a social catalyst. These organizations are encouraged to work under an ideology of secularism to drive America further away from our Christian roots. In the meantime, Christians are all but pushed out of the political arena because of accusations of combining our religion with our political views.
We presume a Christian can separate his religious convictions from his political position no more than an Atheist can. We also consider it a blasphemous act to set God’s will aside for political correctness. To have a Christian engage in this secular masquerade is to compromise our beliefs with a godless opposition trying to undermine our Faith. For a Christian, this cannot be done. In all respects, a Christian must be a Christian, whether a baker, surgeon, laborer, or politician. We have to adhere to the command given to us by our Savior, Jesus Christ, and face the challenge in aspects of our lives. The only other solution would be to leave all together politics to sell our country to evil forces.
The Christian Nationalist Alliance further upholds the idea that politics can save lives just as well as other forms of Evangelical outreach. By following godly laws and questioning our world through our beliefs’ prism, we make sure society is better for both believers and non-believers alike. Our Savior has tasked us with defending our neighbors. How can we do that by undermining our nation’s very systems?
The nationalism of Christianity is a must. It’s a must for both people and society as a whole.