Measuring Christian Nationalism, Part 2 Christian Values

Measuring Christian Nationalism, Part 2 Christian Values April 22, 2024

Measuring Christian Nationalism, Part 2: Christian Values?

Christian Values? Black Christian Nationalism. More on the book, click here.

Let’s get right to the 2nd trait: Christian values. (Whitehead & Perry, 2022, p. 9)

  1. “The federal government should advocate Christian values.” 

BCN. Black Christian Nationalists see themselves as counter cultural, as resisting the dominant white culture. There is a “necessity to create a counterculture. Culture is defined at the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group. It is a way of life. In order to change the beliefs and actions of members, groups were given specific purposes” (McIntosh, 2021, p. 93). Because of the experience of racial discrimination within a society where so-called Christian values have long been in effect, BCNers bet on no horse running in this race.

ANC. The mission of the Christian Liberty Party (CLP) is avowedly cultural. The CLP wants to bypass the Republican-Democratic rivalry and establish a party to support Christian values. “The CLP is at heart, a political and philosophical emancipation movement, working to liberate American families from the grip of socialism and its humanistic presuppositions. Today, as never before, American families are burdened with oppressive taxation, a coercive humanistic public education system, and an all-encompassing culture of death, divorce and materialism.” Yes, ACNers want support for the family and related Christian values to dominate.

ANC. It was the Protestant Reformation — not the godless Enlightenment, that beheaded 40,000 innocent people in the French Revolution — that provided the values for the American Revolution. The true Christian history of America will show that it was Christian values that set the stage for the American drama of true liberty. This, according to the American Redoubt Movement in the upper Great Plains and Pacific Northwest. The American Redoubt Movement is fleeing from urban centers out of fear that Washington is ignoring historical Christian values.

Christian Values? For this book click here.

ACN. Let’s ask Stephen Wolfe about Christian values. On the one hand, some civic values should not be distinctively Christian. Rather, they should be universally human. “Not every particular civil law of a Christian civil government is distinctively Christian. Indeed, most are simply human; they concern human things” (Wolfe, 2023, p. 260).

On the other hand, the government should support distinctively Christian values that include both this-worldly temporal goods as well as other-worldly eternal goods. Wolfe protects inward religious belief from government meddling. But Wolfe assigns to the government the responsibility of supporting outward or external religious practices and Christian culture. Although the government cannot punish us for false beliefs, government is still responsible for supporting true religious practices and restricting false religious practices.

“(1) Any outward action that has the potential to cause harm to others is rightfully subject to civil restraint or punishment (in principle).

(2) External false religion has the potential to cause harm to others.

Therefore, (3) external false religion is rightfully subject to civil restraint or punishment” (Wolfe, 2023, p. 361).

ACN. God sent President Donal Trump to protect Christian values from Democratic undermining, according to theologian Wayne Grudem. Trump is an “answer to our prayers that [God] would deliver us from the increasing opposition to Christian values brought on by the Democratic Party and the Obama administration” (Whitehead & Perry, 2022, pp. 60-61).

Christian values? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene along with Donald Trump are the top feathers on the MAGA-Moscow wing of the Republican Party.

ACN. “We [the Republican Party] need to be the party of nationalism and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) announced recently. Greene’s statement did not garner much support. A Business Insider headline reads: “Over 12,000 Christians condemned Marjorie Taylor Greene’s embrace of Christian Nationalism.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) likened Greene’s comments to the “American Taliban.” From this response to Greene, it does not appear that an ACN coup de etat is imminent.

CACN. In her popular book, Jesus and John Wayne, Kristin Kobes DuMez ascribes to evangelicalism everything others ascribe to ACN. “With Billy Graham at the vanguard, evangelicals believed that they had a special role to play in keeping America Christian, American families strong, and the nation secure. The assertion of masculine power would accomplish all these goals” (DuMez 2020, 11). It follows that to be an evangelical homilist one is likely to be a patriarchal misogynist. Well, it almost rhymes.

SACN. Gorski and Perry cannot resist the temptation to ridicule ACNers for their self-contradictions regarding Christian values. “Why would someone strongly favor institutionalizing Christianity as the national religion but also claim that one of their top priorities is religious freedom? Why would someone strongly affirm that the government should advocate Christian values and yet support the use of torture or oppose gun regulations?” (Gorski & Perry, 2022, pp. 6-7) Here is an observation worth observing.

“A minority of white evangelicals are actively resisting white Christian nationalism”(Gorski & Perry, 2022, p. 10).

SACN. New York Times opinion columnist Daivd French specifically connects Pentcostalism — not generaic evangelicalism — with ANC.

“The Pentecostal church, for example, is the primary home of one of the most toxic and dangerous Christian nationalist ideas in America — the Seven Mountain Mandate, which holds that God has ordained Christians to dominate the seven “mountains” of cultural influence: the family, the church, education, media, arts, the economy and government. This is an extreme form of Christian supremacy, one that would relegate all other Americans to second-class status.”

Christian values? Diane Butler Bass

CACN. In her Substack post, Understanding Christian Nationalism, Diana Butler Bass declares that there never has been a Christian nation. Nor are we about to get one. She ascribes the Pentecostal and ACN concerns over values to all evangelicals.

“The latest iteration of this mythic understanding of American destiny was reborn among evangelicals in the 1970s. Against a background of social diversity, the sexual revolution, and widening conceptions of human rights, came a wave of religious revival. But these new evangelicals weren’t content with just saving souls. They saw the changes as a threat to American piety, and they turned their attention to converting the political order. They believed that America had once been a Christian nation — and that that nation had become secular, corrupt, and sinful, and was turning its back on God. The dream of a Christian America became part-and-parcel of the theology and lived experience of millions of white evangelicals.”

CACN. Anthea Butler equates WACN with the KKK. “The KKK was explicitly formed as an organization that was the literal expression of white Christian nationalism. White robes, burning crosses, and rituals combined with nationalist thought and imagery to create scenes of terror throughout America.” Begriming all evangelicalism with KKK graffiti gives the impression that WACN represents an indominable threat to civility, democracy, and racial equality

CACN. Should we ascribe to evangelicals in general what CACNers abhor about ACNers? This is what Obery Hendrickson does. He published an anti-evangelical book that mimics Trump’s rhetoric. The book’s title is Christians Against Christianity. Note its subtitle: How Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Destroying our Nation and Our Faith. Right-wing evangelicals, writes Hendrickson…

“…shamelessly spew a putrid stew of religious ignorance and political venom that is poisoning our society…”

In short, to be an evangelical religionist is also to be a poisonous religiofascist. Does this rhyme? Not quite.

Preclusion

In sum, it appears to me that BCNers will not ask Uncle Sam to promote BCN values for everyone. Rather, BCN will carve out of the larger social web a place that rightfully regards persons of color as equal. White ACNers will expect Washington to uphold Christian values. Which values? At best ACNers are too brief or even vague on what those values are. CACNers fear a theocratic tyranny on the part of ANC—that is, a tyranny proffered by the entire evangelical establishment.

Now, let’s move on to the next part, PT 3233 Measuring Christian Nationalism, Parts 3,4: Church-State Separation?

PT 3232 Measuring Christian Nationalism, Part 2: Christian Values?

PT 3200 Christian Nationalism Resources

PT 3230 Measuring Christian Nationalism, Part 0

PT 3231 Measuring Christian Nationalism, Part 1: A Christian nation?

PT 3232 Measuring Christian Nationalism, Part 2: Christian values?

PT 3233 Measuring Christian Nationalism, Parts 3,4: Church-State Separation?

PT 3235 Measuring Christian Nationalism, Parts 5,6

PT 3237 Gender and Race in Christian Nationalism, Parts 7,8

PT 3238 Roger Olson on Christian Nationalism

Ted Peters

For Patheos, Ted Peters posts articles and notices in the field of Public Theology. He is a Lutheran pastor and emeritus professor at the Graduate Theological Union. He co-edits the journal, Theology and Science, with Robert John Russell on behalf of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, in Berkeley, California, USA. His single volume systematic theology, God—The World’s Future, is now in the 3rd edition. He has also authored God as Trinity plus Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society as well as Sin Boldly: Justifying Faith for Fragile and Broken Souls. See his website: TedsTimelyTake.com.

References

Alberta, T. (2023). The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism. New York: Harper.

Butler, A. (2021). White Evangelical Racism. Chapel Hill NC: The University of North Carolina Press.

Cleage, A. (1972). Black Christian Nationalism: New Directions for the Black Church. New York: William Morrow.

Cooper-White, P. (2021). The Psychology of Christian Nationalism: Why People Are Drawn In and How to Talk Across the Divide. Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press.

Denker, A. (2022). Red State Christians: Understanding the Voters Who Elected Donals Trump. Minneapolis MN: Fortress.

DuMez, K. K. (2020). Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. New York: Norton.

Gorski, P., & Perry, S. (2022). The Flag and the Cross: Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McIntosh, S. (2021). Memoirs of a Black Christian Nationalist: Seeds of Liberation. New York: Merill Publishing.

Peters, T. (2023). The Voice of Public Theology. Adelaide: ATF.

Whitehead, A., & Perry, S. (2022). Taking Back America for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wolfe, S. (2023). The Case for Christian Nationalism. Moscow ID: Canon Press.

 

 

 

 

About Ted Peters
For Patheos, Ted Peters posts articles and notices in the field of Public Theology. He is a Lutheran pastor and emeritus professor at the Graduate Theological Union. He co-edits the journal, Theology and Science, with Robert John Russell on behalf of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, in Berkeley, California, USA. His single volume systematic theology, God—The World’s Future, is now in the 3rd edition. He has also authored God as Trinity plus Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society as well as Sin Boldly: Justifying Faith for Fragile and Broken Souls. See his website: TedsTimelyTake.com. You can read more about the author here.

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