Hats off to ‘Christians Against Christian Nationalism’

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BY RICK SNEDEKER

Photo illustration of a Bible with gun, bullets and unused coronavirus mask. (Tsado, Adobe Stock)

Christians Against Christian Nationalism (CACN).

It sounds like a contradiction in terms but is absolutely legit.

Founded in 2019 by the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty (BJC), CACN’s statement of principles states:

“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.”

It’s an eloquent and dire warning as relevant today as it was when released in 2019. FBI director Christopher Wray, testifying early this March before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol incited by former President Donald Trump, told senators:

“I would certainly say, as I think I’ve said consistently in the past, that racially motivated violent extremism specifically of the sort that advocates for the superiority of the white race is a persistent evolving threat. It’s the biggest chunk of our racially motivated violent extremism cases for sure and racially motivated violent extremism is the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio.”

To be clear, without overtly mentioning religion, Wray was in fact referring to white Christian nationalist extremism, comprising a coalition of evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics. White Christianity and its supposed divine right of dominion and over non-whites and non-Christians has a long history in this country and throughout the Western world, along with its loathing of homosexuality, abortion, secularism and science. It’s perhaps even more pronounced in America, which also carries the stain of the toxic idea of Manifest Destiny.

“Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in 1845, is the idea that the United States is destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent,” the website history.com explains. “The philosophy drove 19th-century U.S. territorial expansion and was used to justify the forced removal of Native Americans and other groups from their homes. The rapid expansion of the United States intensified the issue of slavery as new states were added to the Union, leading to the outbreak of the Civil War.”

Tens of millions of Americans, many if not most whom voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, still believe the U.S. was founded and remains a “Christian Nation,” where white Christians should hold power and that government should be a theocracy.

[Read on]