“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?”
[lyrics from a Sesame Street song – One of These Things (Is Not Like the Others)]
There are certain things that just don’t go well together. They are not compatible. They don’t blend. Take oil and water for example. Put them together in the same container, and the oil will, without fail, rise to the top. Shake the living daylights out of them, and they still will not dissolve together. There is no uniting them. They are profoundly unalike. As the line from the old Sesame Streets song so aptly states, “One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn’t belong.”
As previous blog posts attest, high on my list of incompatible ‘un-blendables’ that just don’t belong together are the diametrically opposed entities of Democracy and Christian Nationalism. While America awaits the final outcomes of the 2022 mid-term elections that sported a slew of “Stop the Steal” candidates carrying the Christian Nationalist banner, now is an opportune time to once again address the fallacy/heresy of Christian Nationalism and Democracy coexisting.
In this 2022 mid-term, unlike any other election we’ve seen, not only were candidates on the ballot, but the fate of Democracy itself was all across the ballot. That sobering reality was understood by enough of the voting population to help turn the tide of the anticipated “Red Wave” into a “purple ripple.” Instead of hitting that home run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and winning “bigly” as predicted, the team not occupying the White House in this historic mid-term managed only a single.
But this election cycle is not yet in the books, and the next Presidential election is but two years away. And in the mean time the zealous adherents of white Christian Nationalism will continue to falsely equate their pernicious brand of Christianity with a warped understanding of Democracy and its relationship with the Christian religion. That’s why it is imperative for a blog dedicated to advocating justice for all God’s creation to keep sounding the alarm and speak out against the injustice that white Christian Nationalism perpetrates upon both authentic Christianity and true Democracy both here at home and around the world.
Informing and educating the public about the incompatibility of Democracy and white Christian Nationalism is one of the more critical tasks that faces the authentic 21st century Church. If the Founders’ hope and dream of a legitimate and enduring democratic republic is to survive and thrive, it will to a large extent be because well informed modern adherents to the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth reject the heresy implicit in white Christian Nationalism.
To this end I wish to turn the reader’s attention to a CNN presentation from just a couple of months back. In it the host of the program Reality Check, John Avalon, addresses the topic of this blog post.
He begins by saying, “We’ve got to talk about Christian Nationalism, because its gone from a fringe belief system advocated by a few folks on the far Right to an increasingly prominent article of political faith inside the Republican Party. He then cuts to a couple of video clips, one showing Lauren Boebert (U.S. representative for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district) delivering a speech in which she states, “The Church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the Church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it. And I’m tired of this separation of Church and State junk.”
After a clip of insurrectionists praying to their white Christian God in the Capitol building on January 6, Mr. Avalon then states what the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJCRL) lists as five core narrative beliefs of Christian Nationalists:
+ America is a divinely appointed nation by God that is Christian
+ America’s founders, rather than wanting to disestablish religion as a unifier for the nation, were in fact establishing a nation based on Christian principles, with white men as the leaders
+ Others (Native Americans, enslaved Africans and immigrants) would accept and cede to this narrative of America as a Christian nation, and accept their leadership
+ America has a special place not only in world history, but in biblical scripture, especially concerning the return of Christ
+ There is no separation between Church and State.
He next shows a clip of an Evangelical gathering in Atlanta where the ‘Watchman Decree’ is recited as a prayer declaration:
we, the Church are God’s governing Body on the earth
we have been given legal power from heaven and now exercise our authority
we are God’s ambassadors and spokespeople over the earth
through the power of God, we are the world’s influencers
because of our covenant with God, we are equipped and delegated by him to destroy every attempted advance of the enemy,
The host then shares a pithy quote by former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”
After sharing a brief history of religion (Christianity) in America, the host interviews Amanda Tyler, Executive Director of the BJCRL and the lead organizer for Christians Against Christian Nationalism. Ms. Tyler begins by stating unequivocally that “Christian Nationalism is not Christianity.” She goes on to explain what it is and why it is such a threat to both Christianity and Democracy.
And here is where I stop writing and invite/urge the reader to view the video in its entirety, or join Amanda at the 5:00 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZukWuT9lcA
Right now it is critically important for Christians to hear and understand that one of these things (authentic Christianity and Democracy) is not like the others (white Christian Nationalism). Next it is imperative that Americans and Christians do as Amanda urges, “stand up to this poisonous ideology of Christian Nationalism.”
And for an informative and inspiring panel discussion held recently at Georgetown University on ‘How White Christian Nationalism Threatens Our Democracy,’ visit this link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6L5QXTgErI