What Is Christian Nationalism?

Leftists love to make up categories of people to hate, whether those categories have any basis in reality or not. Lately, “Christian nationalism” has become an obsession of the left. But who are these people? I am a Christian and a nationalist, so am I a “Christian nationalist?” If not me, then who? I am personally acquainted with a great many conservatives, and a great many Christians, and I have never heard a single person identify himself or herself as a “Christian nationalist.”

John Nolte’s post on Rob Reiner’s new documentary, titled “God & Country: The Rise Of Christian Nationalism,” triggered this train of thought. Happily, Reiner’s documentary has been an appalling flop, with virtually no one going to see it. It is not hard to understand why. A normal person would rather slit his wrists.

But Reiner isn’t alone in deploring “Christian nationalism.” I became aware of the phrase mostly because the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America, to which I belonged for many years, was obsessed with it. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the ELCA to come out against sin–how old-fashioned!–or mass murder, or Hamas’s October 7 massacre. (The ELCA is firmly on Hamas’s side on that one.) But Christian nationalism is catnip to the lefties who run the ELCA.

If you google that phrase on the ELCA web site, you get several pages of results, starting with this one: “ELCA presiding bishop, Christian leaders issue statement against Christian nationalism,” dating back to 2019. But what is this evil that the bishops deplore? An ELCA Study Guide On Civic Life and Faith offers a definition:

Christian nationalism: A cultural framework that idealizes and advocates fusion of certain Christian views with American civic life.

What “certain” Christian views are those? Thou shalt not kill? Thou shalt not steal? For over 200 years, it has generally been thought that Christian influence on American civic life is a good thing. Does one of America’s largest Protestant denominations now think that “certain” Christian views have a baleful influence on American civic life? Which ones?

This political ideology, whether explicit or not…

That is their way of admitting that no one, or virtually no one, holds the views they are denouncing.

…includes the beliefs that the U.S. Constitution was divinely inspired and enjoys godly status…

Many Americans think the Constitution was divinely inspired. What is wrong with that? Whether you agree or not, aren’t they entitled to that view? But what about enjoying “godly status?” I have never heard anyone argue that the Constitution “enjoys godly status.” I don’t even know what that means. I think lefties just made it up. What they want is for the Constitution to enjoy no status.

…that Christianity should be a privileged religion in the U.S….

That would be illegal under the Constitution that, whatever virtues it may have, isn’t godly. Over the years a few people have argued that the Constitution should be amended to say that America is a Christian country, but I haven’t heard anyone make such an argument in several decades. Certainly not a conservative of any stature. The ELCA is denouncing a straw man, while in the meantime, the only religions that are actually under attack in the U.S., and arguably are not “privileged,” are Christianity and Judaism.

…that the nation holds a special status in God’s eyes…

Again, many millions of Americans have believed, for two centuries, that God keeps a special watch out for the USA. And there is considerable empirical evidence that they may be right. But, be that as it may, why should anyone–let alone a religious denomination!–make a major point of denouncing such a belief?

…and that good Americans must hold Christian beliefs.

Whoa! I have never heard a single person, ever, say that “good Americans must hold Christian beliefs.” I defy the ELCA, or whoever else is obsessed with “Christian nationalism,” to identify a single person whom anyone has heard of who has said any such thing.

Proponents range from those who believe the U.S. should be declared a Christian nation (approximately 21% of the U.S. population) to those involved in more virulent strains that are openly racist, anti-democratic, or gang like.

Once again, whoa! This is the end of the ELCA’s definition of its arch-enemy, and it segues suddenly into “openly racist, anti-democratic, or gang like” manifestations. How did we get here from believing that God takes an interest in the United States, or that Christian values have a positive impact on civic life? No explanation is forthcoming, nor is there any identification of these “virulent strains.”

One thing we can be sure of, however: when liberals like those who run the ELCA talk about racism, they don’t mean the vicious discrimination implemented by DEI. When they talk about anti-democratic elements, they don’t mean the Democrats trying to bankrupt Donald Trump and bar him from the ballot, or enabling voter fraud at every opportunity. And when they refer to gang like behavior, they don’t mean the George Floyd riots that killed dozens and did billions of dollars in property damage.

As far as I can see, the Left’s obsession with “Christian nationalism” is just one more instance of their fabricating non-existent villains because they can’t deal with the dystopian reality that their own policies have created.

STEVE adds: Since the left is losing its mind over the specter of “Christian nationalism,” I’m tempted to sign up for it, at the same time a take up cigarette smoking for a similar reason. I do like to remind people like Rob Reiner about John Adams’s famous remark, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” I look forward to Reiner and other liberals telling us how John Adams is a scary proto-. . . something.

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