Starting seven years, the day Trump mocked the disabled reporter, my eyes have continuously opened to a number of injustices. I am semi-regularly accused of watching too much liberal media, so I will focus on the first-hand lived experiences of those who have been historically oppressed to the margins. If these current-day lived experiences of those on the margins match certain news sources, there is a good chance that these events and lived collective of experiences are true. One of my favorite progressive Catholic-Christian theologians named Dr. Clarence White says, “If you want to know what the truth is, live, walk, and speak with the vulnerable.” This is what I try to do in my daily practice as an Educational Therapist / Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist.
Serving families throughout the state of Texas and even some outside of Texas, I see, listen to, and walk with a huge range of disabled / Neurodiverse individuals and their families from different walks of life, different races, different beliefs, and different handicapping conditions. From 9:00am-7:30pm daily with a few short daily breaks, I am so fortunate to serve such a large spectrum of people who do not look like me, think like me, love like me, speak like me, or believe like me.
So what is Christian Nationalism? Here is a great definition from an ecumenical ministry called Faithful America, the largest Christian faith based anti-Christian Nationalist group. You can read more about the ministry of Faithful America here.
“What is Christian nationalism, and why is it a threat?
As defined by multiple sociologists and academic researchers, Christian nationalism is a political ideology and cultural framework that claims America was founded to be a “Christian nation” where Christians should receive special legal treatment not available to non-Christians. This merges the previously separate Christian and American identities, proclaiming that the only true Americans are the country’s Christians (and a specific subset of conservative Christians, at that). This means that Christian nationalism is antisemitic and Islamophobic, and poses a threat to the religious freedom of America’s Jews, Muslims, Indigenous peoples, mainline Protestant Christians, and more.
As the “Christians Against Christian Nationalism” coalition notes, “It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation,” which is why you will also often hear the related and important term “white Christian nationalism.” Christian nationalism also falsely teaches that there is no separation of church and state — and that conservative Christians should seize complete power by any means necessary.
Driven by that lust for power, Christian nationalism is the ideology that inspired and guided the deadly January 6 insurrection; organizes countless attacks on the equal rights and religious freedom of non-Christians, immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, and other Americans; and now threatens to incite a new wave of political violence with never-ending rhetoric about “holy war,” the “armor of God,” and “the angel of death” coming for the movement’s political opponents.”
After reading this description of Christian Nationalism from Faithful America, how does Christian Nationalism play into the daily lives of those who are not Anglo, heteronormative, healthy, and a certain political and cultural affiliation? After working in broader secular employment serving vulnerable populations for over four years all over the State of Texas and some beyond, I believe this Christian Nationalist ideology permeates many aspects of the day-to-day lives of these everyday Americans, even down to the ability to making a living wage, having access to basic medical care, placing food on the table, and caring for a family. As a Christian, I believe in our American constitution which says that all people are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Right now, especially in our current political climate, I believe that Christian Nationalism, which is antithetical to Christ’s message of the Gospel, is the exact opposite to everything that Jesus said and did. If one would like to deny that Christian Nationalism is a threat or is real, he/she can visit Amazon alone and choose from over 400 books written about the subject, many written by Christian authors themselves. My favorite author, who I have chatted with by email, is a Christian Ethicist named Dr. David Gushee. He is a world-renowned Evangelical who was once conservative and shifted progressively like I did. He even spoke at our local Catholic seminary, Oblate Theological Seminary.
If you still believe that Christian Nationalism doesn’t exist or is not a threat after reviewing just the 400+ books about the subject on Amazon, then I also invite you to review Christian ministries dedicated to exposing and dismantling Christian Nationalism like Faithful America, Christians Against Christian Nationalism, and many more………. I have an interview with one of them soon.
Yes, Christian Nationalism is a grave threat to our democracy, and liberty and justice for all Americans, not just a certain subset of Americans. I believe that white Christians like myself particularly bear a special responsibility to at least acknowledging the reality of Christian Nationalism, even if it’s to a small degree.