Christians Against Christian Nationalism

I’ve been very clear and forthright in this space about my alarm over the growing tendency for the Christian right in this country to identify our faith with the American state, and recently, with the Trump Administration. Increasingly, the identity “Christian” in this country is coming to be more and more associated with ideas of nationalism, xenophobia, bigotry, anger, and partisan politics. By continually invoking Christianity as a basis for their political engagement, and by attaching religious monikers and praise to Donald Trump, many on the Christian Right are blurring the line, for those outside the faith, between right wing politics and the Church. I wrote about this tendency in my thesis this year.christian nationalism

In this atmosphere, it is more important than ever that Christians who reject this kind of Christian nationalism stand up and make their voices heard. This is the idea behind the public statement “Christians Against Christian Nationalism.” As a Christian theologian, I am more than willing to sign my name to this statement. Here it is in full:

As Christians, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we value our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy — Christian nationalism.

Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology and invite our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation.

 As Christians, we are bound to Christ, not by citizenship, but by faith. We believe that:

  • People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square.

  • Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions.

  • One’s religious affiliation, or lack thereof, should be irrelevant to one’s standing in the civic community.

  • Government should not prefer one religion over another or religion over nonreligion.

  • Religious instruction is best left to our houses of worship, other religious institutions and families.

  • America’s historic commitment to religious pluralism enables faith communities to live in civic harmony with one another without sacrificing our theological convictions.

  • Conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to oppression of minority and other marginalized groups as well as the spiritual impoverishment of religion.

  • We must stand up to and speak out against Christian nationalism, especially when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation—including vandalism, bomb threats, arson, hate crimes, and attacks on houses of worship—against religious communities at home and abroad.

Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution. As Christians, we must speak in one voice condemning Christian nationalism as a distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy.

If you agree, please click here and add your name.

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