Not long ago, a person asked me in what form I thought that Christian persecution would come to us here in America. I responded that I did not believe it would be explicit, but a subversive attack on conservatives or “Trump supporters” (often used as a cudgel with which to bash “Evangelical” Christians of which about 85% voted for the Donald).
It is this confluence and convergence of politics and religion that has been a Leftist bugaboo for decades. The war over “separation of church and state” has been waged since the Constitution was being drawn up — and the phrase is NOT used in our Constitution, despite many on the Left arguing as if it is.
CHURCH AND STATE
The origin of this oft referred to position is a letter penned by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. The intent of the phrase is to put a limit on a federal State sanctioned religion from which the Founders and their families fled in Anglican England. The federal government should not officially declare one specific religious system above all others.
It DOES NOT mean that religious people should not be in politics or implement policies based on religious beliefs — so long as those are not explicitly religious. For instance, it is a Christian belief that thou shalt not kill. We have laws against murder. That does not mean that these laws were written BECAUSE they are Christian, but because laws against murder of innocents are widely accepted across a number of cultures throughout the world and throughout history. They just happen to be Christian as well.
Shortly after the aforementioned conversation about Christian persecution, the concept of “Christian Nationalism” was brought to my attention by a friend. I will admit I had not heard of it until recently, but it has been gaining quiet attention throughout academia and the outskirts of media since mid-2020.
CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM DEFINED
An academic paper titled “Culture Wars and COVID‐19 Conduct: Christian Nationalism, Religiosity, and Americans’ Behavior During the Coronavirus Pandemic” was published last year in the midst of the pandemic.
In the abstract for the paper, the authors stated,
We propose the far right response was driven less by partisanship or religiosity per se, but rather by an ideology that connects disregard for scientific expertise; a conception of Americans as God’s chosen and protected people; distrust for news media; and allegiance to Trump―Christian nationalism.
They are making the argument that these “Christian nationalists” have breached the separation of church and state and seek to merge the two together in one dangerous ideology. But notice the vague ways in which these nationalists are described.
“A disregard for scientific expertise” in the context of COVID-19 means that Christian nationalists do not bow to the likes of Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and WHO. They likely do not wear, or do not want to wear masks in grocery stores and other public areas.
“A conception of Americans as God’s chosen and protected people” is a reference to anyone who truly believes the words “God bless America.” Do you believe that America was founded on Christian beliefs? Do you believe that, at least at some point, America was a “Christian nation”? Do you believe that the Founders were Christians or deists that respected and implemented Christian values — which, of course, is clearly the case when you read their writings?
“Distrust for news media” again is extremely vague. Which news media? I would say that those who vehemently oppose Christian nationalism do not trust Fox News or conservative radio media. “News media” in this case, of course, refers to CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, and other “mainstream” outlets that have an obvious Leftist bias.
And finally is the big one — “an allegiance to Trump.” I suppose this could mean a Trump voter, a Trump supporter, a belief that Trump is better than Biden, or a myriad of things that do not include an actual pledge of allegiance to Donald Trump like they would the American flag — but the conflation is implied.
It is interesting how these researchers constantly try to defend their position that Christian nationalism is not the same as being a patriotic Christian, but we will see the way that their measures might infer otherwise.
HOW CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM IS MEASURED
These researchers asked respondents to rank their beliefs in six statements based on a 5-point Likert scale — strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), neither agree nor disagree (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5). The higher your score, the more likely you are a Christian nationalist. We will take each statement one at a time. Notice that none of these terms are defined and are purposefully left vague.
“The federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation.” What does this mean? Is this an official declaration from the White House? A Constitutional Amendment? Someone in the federal government uttering the words? Is it an appeal to the religious beliefs of the Founders? A statement of statistical reality that the majority of Americans still claim to be Christians? The researchers want you to read your interpretation into the question.
“The federal government should advocate Christian values.” Again, are you pro-life and want the government to ban abortion? Should there be censorship laws? Laws in support of traditional marriage? Or are we again talking about a State religion?
“The federal government should enforce strict separation of church and state (reverse coded).” Reverse coding means that for this one question, strongly disagree is (5) and strongly agree is (1).
“The federal government should allow prayer in public schools.” This does not even have to refer to Christian prayer, and it does not say who is performing the prayer or when. Of course, the researchers assume that Christians will read “Christian prayer” into their responses. Does this mean a student quietly praying at lunch time? Is it a Muslim prayer during morning announcements? A Hindu prayer before sporting events? A random mix of many religious at any given time?
“The federal government should allow religious symbols in public spaces.” Did you oppose the removal of the 10 Commandments from court houses or schools? You’re probably a Christian nationalist.
“The success of the United States is part of God’s plan.” As a Christian, I believe all things are a part of God’s plan, both good and bad. Some people might believe the USA is uniquely blessed or that there has been a “manifest destiny.” Again, it’s how you read your worldview into the question that determines your response.
I actively encourage you to write down your responses to these questions to see how you fare. If you score over 18 out of 30, you’re at least sympathetic to Christian nationalism. If you score 24, you are most certainly a Christian nationalist. Good luck!
CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM DEFINED — BY CHRISTIAN NATIONALISTS
Now that we have a strong indication of how Christian nationalists are defined by academics — which is the definition being reported in the Huffington Post and other outlets. How does this group define itself? From the Christian Nationalism official website, they affirm:
- Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of man.
- All life, from conception until death, is sacred and the right to life is paramount.
- These United States of America were founded by Christian men upon Christian tenets. Freedom of Religion is not an excuse to divorce the American culture from its origins. We will defend our rights as Christians in all aspects of American life.
- Marriage is an institution sanctioned by God between one man and one woman.
- There are two genders and all attempts to claim otherwise are an attempt to further pervert the glory of the Creation.
- The family is the cornerstone of Western Civilization and should be protected from government intrusion and manipulation.
- Every American has the right to practical self-defense and the right to bear arms is as important as any of our other liberties.
- Capitalism is the best system for social development and Christian Charity the world has ever known. It must be preserved and promoted as the solution to the social and economic problems caused by Communism.
- Strong borders are a necessity for a safe and prosperous society.
- Islam is a heretical perversion of the Judeo-Christian doctrine and must be recognized and treated as a threat to America and Western Civilization as a whole.
You will notice that many of these beliefs are extremely common among traditional American Christians. They were the predominant beliefs of our legislators and Founders until somewhere around or after the 1960s. In fact, many of these tenets could have been lifted from Barack Obama’s speeches during his first election in 2008 when he supported traditional marriage, the Constitution, capitalism, and strong borders.
I would argue the most controversial position here would be number 10. While I might hold that Islam and Christianity are opposite on many issues, I do not agree that Islam should be “treated as a threat” — because, like Christianity, not all Muslims believe the same things. There are many Muslims in the United States who follow the laws and just want to make a good living and be left alone when worshiping in their mosques.
THE COMING PERSECUTION
As I said above, it is through political means that Christian persecution is coming. In some ways, it has already begun. The “cancel culture” is explicitly aimed at targeting anyone who holds traditional views over new, radical ones. If you hold the view of gender, marriage, and sexuality that has been common for centuries, you will be ostracized from the public sphere.
The “woke” mob has even tried to cancel J.K. Rowling, who confirmed that one of her most prominent Harry Potter characters, Professor Dumbledore, was gay, because she does not adhere to transgender ideology.
Former MMA fighter and actress Gina Carano has had the torches and pitchforks aimed in her direction for a year because she dared to post “beep/boop/bop” as her gender pronouns and was recently fired from her role on The Mandalorian, from her upcoming spin-off series, and was dropped from her management.
Many Christians who championed Donald Trump’s defunding of abortion and defense of Israel feel the noose tightening as President Biden’s executive orders are erasing the last four years from history.
There are VERY few segments of our culture in which you can be a Bible believing Christian and not be reprimanded. Hollywood? No. News media? Nope. Sports? You’d better go full BLM. Disney? Ask Gina Carano. Politics? Not if you are a Democrat. Social media? Not on Twitter. Academia? No way!
As a former academic, I can say that one of my greatest challenges came from espousing Christian views on marriage, gender, and sexuality. I was ultimately removed from my institution for questioning the Black Lives Matter narrative about police shootings.
While I have debated within myself whether I was ousted for my religious views or because I was viewed as “racist” for my issues with BLM, one of the researchers from the Christian nationalist paper above helped answer my question in an interview with the “Ask an Atheist” podcast when he said “For white Americans, the very word “Christian” is racially coded.”
This researcher spent a significant time conflating Christian nationalism with white nationalism (aka, racists). In response to a question of why black Christians rated higher on the Christian nationalist scale, he argued that when a black person hears “Christian,” they think of social justice and Martin Luther King Jr. When a white person hears it, they think of white Christians, because, you know, Christian nationalists are racist.
In order to persecute traditional, Bible believing Christians, we will be redefined as Christian nationalists and conflated with racist “white nationalists” and white supremacists. We will be banned on social media for spreading “misinformation” about COVID-19 data and for doubting “the science” — falsely so-called. We will lose our jobs for being “intolerant” toward LGBT “rights.” We will no longer be allowed to participate in society because to be a white Christian is to be racist and to be a black Christian is to be ignorant about what Christianity means to whites.
One can no longer hold these values. The government has not made laws against Christians, but the culture has created new norms that no longer allow for participation in public forums. “Big tech” and other large companies are complicit, and it does feel like the noose is tightening around Christianity as each day brings us closer to 1984 style censorship and reeducation camps.
I know there are skeptics who feel Christians are just being paranoid and cynics who believe that we are just getting what “we” have done to others for centuries (because Catholics murdered many people during the Crusades and some rednecks formed the KKK in some misguided abomination of taking Scripture out of context).
Neither view can dispute the reality that the imprisonment of Christians through the lens of political persecution is coming — and it might be sooner rather than later now that all “Trump supporters” are being blamed for the heinous breaching of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021. A few outliers committed acts that have been denounced by 99% of the public, but it put every Christian in the cross hairs of the wicked world system running our government, banks, and corporations.
I will not give one of those classic “we can stop it if we do this” tags. Instead, I just want us to be prepared for the inevitable.
We Christians are the enemies of “woke” ideologies that have seized power over this country. We will be labeled Christian nationalists, even if we are not, and they will come for us all.