The ideology of Christian nationalism has no connection to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul was extremely upset that the Galatians perverted the gospel of Christ into something contrary to what he taught them. I believe Christian nationalism promotes a perversion of the Gospel that Paul spoke of in Galatians 1:6-8:
6 “I am astonished and extremely irritated that you are so quickly shifting your allegiance and deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different [even contrary] gospel; 7 which is really not another [gospel]; but there are [obviously] [b]some [people masquerading as teachers] who are disturbing and confusing you [with misleading, counterfeit teaching] and want to distort the gospel of Christ [twisting it into something which it is not]. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we [originally] preached to you, let him be condemned to destruction!” (AMP)
Yes, I agree with Paul that Christian nationalism should be condemned! The belief system of Christian nationalism at no time includes Jesus’ message of love and the Truth that sets us free from the bondage of sin. Instead, it seems that Christian nationalists have an inordinate fascination and attraction to lies. It is as though they have been hypnotized into joining a cult and blindly embracing its beliefs. I believe Jesus would say to Christian nationalists the same thing He said to the religious leaders in His day in John 8:44:
“You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” (AMP)
Living in America under Donald Trump’s presidency was like living through a modern-day version of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. It is the tale of a king who sets off in a procession before the whole city to show off his custom-designed “new clothes” and the townsfolk uncomfortably go along with the pretense, not wanting to appear inept or stupid, until a child blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing at all. The people then realize that everyone has been fooled. Although startled, the emperor continues the procession, walking more proudly than ever. While one segment of Americans is mesmerized by Trump’s boastful lies just like the townsfolk who appear inept and stupid, another segment is dumbfounded like the little child who blurts out that the emperor is wearing no clothes. Is it possible that Christian leaders who support Trump’s lies are the false prophets Jesus warned of in Matthew 24:11 “Many false prophets will appear and mislead many”?
Followers of Jesus do not seek privilege and exclusivity but willingly serve others with the lovingkindness, grace, and mercy of Jesus. I am unable to reconcile Christian nationalism with the teachings of Jesus. Instead, Christian nationalism repels people from Jesus rather than draws them to Jesus. The salvation that Jesus offers can never be obtained or enforced through legislation.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow shared a video of Gerald L.K. Smith, a preacher, politician, and Nazi sympathizer who ran against Franklin Delano Roosevelt for president in 1944 on the America First ticket and founded what he coined as “Christian Nationalism.” Smith gave a speech in which he spewed his ideological venom:
“We believe that the spiritual symbol of our statesmanship is the Cross, which indeed is the symbol of Christianity.”
“Fight mongrelization and all attempts being made to force the intermixture of the black and white races.”
”Preserve America as a Christian Nation, being conscious of the fact that there is a highly organized campaign to substitute Jewish tradition for Christian tradition.”
Jim Crow and white supremacy were in full effect in America during the 40s yet Smith failed to attract many followers to Christian nationalism. In the 1944 Presidential election, Smith only garnered 1,781 votes. Smith only had a few hundred followers in the forties but here we are in 2022 and Trump has millions of followers! Katherine Stewart, journalist, and author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism in an interview on CNN explained how former President Trump helped with the rise of Christian nationalism in US politics. She also stated that the goal of Christian nationalist leaders is conquest and division. They are obviously succeeding because there has not been such divisiveness in America since the Civil War!
I thought much progress was made through the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and other progressive legislation to correct so many of America’s social ills. Perhaps there never has been true progress but rather an illusion of progress. Sadly, hatred will never be irradicated by legislation.
Thinking that a Christian nation can be established in this fallen world is futile. Jesus never killed people or promoted violence to acquire political freedom for himself or others. Instead, He sacrificed His life on the cross not to condemn us but to free us from the bondage of sin and to gift us with eternal life. When I hear Americans declare that America is the greatest and most powerful nation in the world I hear arrogance, pridefulness, elitism, selfishness, white supremacy, and hate. What mystifies me is that many who claim to be pro-life are so exclusively focused on the unborn that they fail to share the same compassion for the children that are slaughtered by gun violence all across America on a daily basis!
God’s love for humankind has no national boundaries. Every believer in Jesus Christ is born again into the Kingdom of God and citizens of God’s Kingdom are not distinguished or segregated according to social status, skin color, ethnicity, gender, culture, wealth, or church membership.
Consider Jesus’ response to the man in Mark 10:21 when he asked Jesus what must he do to have eternal life. Jesus asked him if he obeyed the commandments and the man answered that he faithfully obeyed them since he was a young man.
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love (high regard, compassion) for him, and He said to him, “You lack one thing: go and sell all your property and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” (AMP)
However, Mark 10:22 records that the man was saddened at Jesus’ words, and he left grieving because he owned much property and had many possessions which he treasured more than his relationship with God. Is it plausible that Christian nationalists treasure their “rights and privileges” of American citizenship, which are temporary, more than the eternal riches of citizenship in the Kingdom of God?
What is the rationale for Christian nationalism? There is none other than it is another tactic of the antichrist spirit to distort, marginalize, minimize, demean, cloud, disrupt, dishonor, demote, bring down, or misrepresent the image of Christ, His Church, or His message of love to the world. Amen.
Reprinted with permission. Carolyn S. Byars’ book, Is American Christianity Antichrist? The Root of Hate in America. is available to purchase on Amazon.