American Christian Nationalism

The level of insanity and chaos is so widespread out there, and getting worse I felt I needed to address a pressing issue.

The issue is: the notion that the U.S of A. is a Christian nation, or was a Christian nation, or should be, a Christian nation, is pure propaganda; not to mention unconstitutional. As Christians, we should stop trying to pretend otherwise. Unfortunately, White Christian Nationalism is rearing its ugly head, mostly due to white Christian evangelicals. Some background history.

Christianity has been the dominant religion in the Western world since Roman Emperor Constantine made it the official religion of the Empire in the mid-300’s C.E. Western European history, has been intertwined w/Christianity since then. It spread throughout the Western world, and later global colonies, not because of its singularly idyllic message, but because of power politics.

It reached its zenith during the Middle Ages, when for all practical purposes, the Church was the State. That’s why there was a Protestant Reformation; but even that Reformation didn’t change Christianity’s centrality in Western culture. It just varied the forms. Those varied Christian Protestants fled here, to America, partly seeking religious freedom. In that sense, the U.S. inherited a historically Protestant Christian veneer.

The colonists were only marginally more tolerant of other Christian varieties here than in Europe, but they behaved somewhat better. Eventually, the Constitution established a separation of Church and State. Remember that only a few of the founders were actually Christian. Many were deists, believing in God but not the rest of the Christian story. The founders did not advocate notions like: ‘in God we trust’, or ‘one nation, under God, ’or ‘God bless America,’ Those are all later lobbying efforts.

In a country that talks a good talk about being free and equal,.. remember that even in the Constitution, women and blacks were not considered whole people enough to vote.
Then, if you simply look at our history of expansion, the notion of our behaving like a
Christian nation, following actual Christian principles …. like loving neighbor and enemy as self, is laughable.

We talked ourselves into believing that we, white Protestant Europeans, were being given a new promised land, and had a manifest destiny, to spread. Using such fake religious propaganda, we proceeded to wipe out the Native Americans, and import African- Americans for slaves. When any wave of new immigrants, like Irish Catholics, emigrated here, white Protestant Christian bigotry rose to the occasion. Of course, anti-Semitism was built in right from the beginning, in the gospels themselves. Post-Civil War, white Christian Protestants became the KKK, and produced the Jim Crow culture wars.

Today, despite being the most geo-religious country in the world, or probably because of it, we are in the midst of a growing white Xn nationalism, especially among and from white Christian evangelicals.

It began a few decades ago, with people like Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell & the Moral Majority (now has Liberty Univ.)… James Dobson & his Focus on the Family, a variety of other televangelists, some of whom are trying to convince less discerning Christians to pay for their private jets. Some of these so-called Christians are Dominionists, a term which refers to their belief that they – the true believers – have a biblical mandate to take dominion over the gov’t, schools & other cultural institutions. and bring them back to God and their version of Jesus. They believe they have a right and a duty to turn the U.S. into a Christian nation, a Christian kingdom.

You’ve heard their rhetoric for at least 20 yrs., and while it used to be somewhat more in the background, it has come overtly to the forefront of our federal, state, and local govt’s. It’s characterized by biblical literalism / fundamentalism, which includes anti-science stances called creationism, denying evolution, denying climate change; family values, which usually means anti-LGBTQ, so-called ‘pro-life’, at the same time they’re pro-NRA, and have a narrow 2nd amdmt interpretation to carry guns. (Falwell built a $32 mil gun range at his ‘Xn’ Liberty Univ)

As they lose the overall national culture wars, their strategy has changed to invoking personal religious liberties they claim they should be able to express in the public arena. So the anti-LGBT baker, who is open to the public, claims his Christian beliefs prevent him from serving a gay couple; or a town clerk, who administers marriage licenses, claims she cannot give a gay couple a license because of her personal religious beliefs. Never mind that Jesus never said a word, not a word, about gay relationships, and/or if you’re serving in a gov’t capacity, it’s not about your personal beliefs.

Our current presidential administration is rife w/ dominionists and/ or white Christian evangelicals. The highest elected one is VP Mike Pence, who has the pedigree. It’s not Pres. Trump, who has no principles, as his most recent verbal abuse of John McCain reminds us, yet again. If you don’t believe me, read our baptismal vows again, and tell me he doesn’t break at least one weekly. He doesn’t care about Xn principles, but he serves the purpose of white Christian nationalists.

These so-called Christians have hijacked Christianity in this country, esp as mainline denominations slide downhill and don’t offer much voice in contrast. The media hyped
how surprised a bunch of stuffy white people were at Bp. Curry’s sermon, which was a
perfect contrasting voice, but couldn’t even get who he was or where he was from down accurately.

Politically and religiously, the ego is behind this entire Christian nationalist endeavor. The ego wants to control, to have power, and will twist anything to further that goal. We should understand it… it’s an extreme version of ‘we’ve always done it this way. The ego is afraid of losing power, of losing its self-made image. All the repetitive religious survey stats show that mainline religious attendance continues to slide, and that white Christian evangelicals are losing their grip. The U.S. is changing; it is becoming more diverse and pluralistic – religiously, ethnically, culturally, etc. The truth is that there are already fewer whites, and fewer white Christians.

I actually heard a news story this week, showing a white Christian male complaining about feeling ‘marginalized’ as a white Xn male! Get in line… see how the rest of the world feels.

To be clear, any notion of the U. S. having been, being, or seeking to be, a Christian nation, not only violates constitutional separation of Church and State….it does not come from God.

God did not anoint Trump to save the USA and bring it back to Jesus.

God is not on our side any more than on any country’s side.

Jesus doesn’t love us best; we are not his favorites just because we’re American.

If God is on the side of any people, the biblical record is that God is on the side of the poor, the oppressed, widows, orphans, the homeless, the stranger (immigrant). Jesus did care about our being forgiving, merciful, compassionate to and with each other. Jesus couldn’t care less about whether you stand for the anthem or your 2nd and rights. (might be important to you for political, nationalistic reasons… just don’t pretend it’s inherently Christian.)

Jesus submitted his ego; gave it up; let go of it; rather than aggrandizing himself. His kingdom was not of this world. He lived in it, but was not of it. Neither are we. If you think otherwise, you are confused, politically and religiously.

(The Rev. Hank Galganowicz,
Episcopal, Retired)

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