The Cruel and Impotent God of Christian Nationalism
Having the Form of Godliness, Denying the Power Thereof
In her rush to declare to the world why her particular religion should rule the United States of America, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene conveniently identified the true name of the long-time religion of both white Supremacy and the Republican Party: Christian Nationalism.
Conservative politicians before Greene were politically-astute enough to never distill into a single phrase the essence of both their religious worldview and their political plan to dismantle democracy to install a theocracy.
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However, Greene, thinking of herself more highly than one should, mistakenly encapsulated into a single, succinct, and digestible descriptor the exact framing through which we can understand the cruel intentions of the religious right in this country: Christian Nationalism.
A Religion That Serves the Powerful
If Christian Nationalists intend on returning America to Christ, which theology of Christ should we expect?
Each week as a child, my father preached sermons of liberation to vibrant, yet hyper-exploited Black communities around the South throughout the Reagan presidency. I can’t say that I always enjoyed being drugged alongside my five siblings to every old-fashioned church service my parents had to preach, but it was through those experiences that I came to see, firsthand, that Black people were the survivors of Christian Nationalism.
Indeed, every group of Americans who has ever had to fight for justice in the United States has done so in a struggle against the white, Christian male power structure that former Fox News commentator, Bill O’Reilly, properly identified — an unwitting admission of an obvious truth that we have always known.
The Tyranny of a Religious Minority
With no regard for the unconstitutionality of their political crusade, this coalition of Christian Nationalists is executing, with precision, a fifty-year agenda to make America Christian again and to gain the power to punish “sins” with the force of law. The case of Nebraska teenager, Celeste Burgess, and her mother, Jessica, who are currently awaiting trial for violating the state’s ban on abortions is an ominous shadow of what is to come.
Each faction of today’s conservative movement has fallen in line with the theocratic agenda to dominate every aspect of American society on behalf of the god of Christian Nationalism from the judicial activism of religious zealots on the Supreme Court to the violence of the January 6th insurrection.
Conservatives, whether loyal to Donald Trump or to the Republican Party, have all made clear their intentions to rule America despite democracy. God is simply a justification for their political ambitions.
The irony is that, in their crusade to make America Christian again, Republicans have employed outright lies, propaganda, voter suppression, insurrection, and judicial coup-d'etat all in the name of god.
The God of Justice, or Lies and Propaganda?
American conservatives have demonstrated that if they are unable to execute the “will of god” through democratic means, they will lie, suppress, and even overthrow democracy.
Should Americans simply accept this Machievalien behavior to be ordained by the god of Chrisitan Nationalism? If so, how can we distinguish the will of god from the will of white supremacy?
Is the god of Christian Nationalism so impotent that it must use the machinations of men to accomplish its will?
In the recent “prayer in school decision” victory for evangelicals, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote into the official record of the United States a lie so easily proven false that Justice Sonia Sotomayor only needed to attach a photograph of the praying coach violating school policy to her scathing dissent.
Does the god of Christian Nationalism require lies to put prayer back in schools? Is this a victory we should ascribe to God?
Radical evangelicals are currently celebrating their “victory for life” over abortion. However, they cannot deny that this so-called “victory for god” was achieved only through the intentional deceptions of Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barret, and Bret Kavanaugh during their Senate confirmation hearings. While their testimonies may not have crossed the threshold of perjury, their intentions were clear: deceive the American people long enough to gain enough power to overturn Roe.
Can the god of the conservative majority on the bench not gain power through honest means?
If we are to tell a tree by the fruit it bears, then perhaps the only conclusion we can make of the god of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is that it can only rule through the tyranny of a powerful, religious minority and through deals made in the dark, smoke-filled back rooms of the Republican Party.
The God of Justice I learned about in the Black church prepares a table for us directly in our rivals’ faces.
The Theology of Western Chauvinism
Christian Nationalism has been for white men in America what religion was for European rulers throughout Western Civilization — a dependable tool of justification for the political ambition of powerful men. God is even depicted as a white man for their convenience.
It is in the name of Christ that hundreds of thousands were slaughtered throughout the Crusades and the Inquisitions.
Religion was used to justify the enslavement of Africans in America. When Black Christians prayed for deliverance from slave masters, they were praying to be delivered from the power of white, Christian men.
As succinctly stated in 1964, “The religious community in American society produced and sustained—sometimes on Biblical grounds—the anti-[Black] bias which has permeated the American mind from the beginning of the nation until the present day.”
The history of using religion as a tool of political abuse continued through the 1980s when politically ambitious preachers — including Jerry Falwell, Sr. of Liberty University — used god as their justification for delivering the Evangelical church into the hands of the Republican Party.
Falwell discovered in the Reagan era what politically ambitious preachers such as Greg Locke have discovered in the era of Donald Trump: a preacher can quickly rise from obscurity to fame by peddling his pulpit for political power.
Locke, who pastors a pro-Trump congregation in Tenessee, declared that he didn’t want any Democrats attending his church because he considered them to be “demons.” This approach has made Locke a celebrity in conservative circles.
But as recently as 2008, Republicans lambasted Barack Obama and his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, for his sermons condemning America’s wars, greed, and racism.
Wright’s liberation theology was anathema to the Christian Nationalists of the Republican Party. To use religion to call for peace was a “bridge too far” for conservatives. War, on the other hand, was an acceptable tool of god.
In 2003, the same evangelicals who would reject Jeremiah Wright heard and believed George W. Bush when he announced to the world that “god told him to end the tyranny” of Saddam Hussien in Iraq – leading to the deaths of one million Iraqis and the recovery of not a single weapon of mass destruction.
Using god to justify bigotry, greed and war is not unique to the United States and is as old as Constantine the Great’s using his vision of the Cross in his struggle to succeed his father as emperor of Rome.
Hungarian prime minister and self-described “far-right European racist and strongman” – Viktor Orbán – preached his version of Christian Nationalism to a standing ovation from American conservatives.
For Obán, god ordains the racism of Christian Nationalists. The Hungarian prime minister provides international allyship for the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and their groyper nationalists.
Even Vladimir Putin’s archbishop, Patriarch Kirill, used god to provide “spiritual cover” for Putin’s imperialist ambitions in Ukraine. Whether Putin’s patriarch honestly believes the Russian President is on a mission from god in Ukraine is immaterial.
The powerful have always been able to co-opt heaven to serve their earthly ambitions.
To be clear: Christ does not belong to Western Civilization. The theology of Black Liberation is tethered to the Biblical account of the Ethiopian Eunuch in the book of Acts who was baptized while on a caravan to Jerusalem.
Live as They Preach, Not as They Live
In present-day America, the pastors of the so-called moral majority continue to barter their religious callings in exchange for political power.
The difference today, however, is that the politicians leading religious crusades demonstrate lifestyles and characters that even the worst “sinner” can even condemn. Is anyone going to seriously suggest that the nationalist men in the Republican Party live as Jesus instructs?
Donald Trump’s admission that he had never asked for forgiveness did not deter political preachers from fawning over him. After being laughed at by Evangelicals at Liberty University for pronouncing 2 Corinthians a “two Corinthians,” conservative voters made it clear that their political leaders no longer needed to show even a basic knowledge of the Bible.
Liberty University, the crown jewel of the evangelical movement, was mired in its own controversy as Jerry Falwell, Jr. – son of the founder and then-president of the university, was too preoccupied during a party on a private yacht to fully zip his pants while posing for a photograph with his wife's personal assistant.
Falwell would soon resign in disgrace; too busy with his personal proclivities to be about his biological father’s business.
Thou Doth Protest Too Much
Federal agents are now investigating the Southern Baptist Church which recently revealed over 700 cases of sexual misconduct that had been either ignored or directly covered up by the institution.
And as one would predict, the politicians that subscribe to and receive blessings from this cabal of hypocritical preachers also have a list of sexual assault allegations and investigations that make clear that conservatives have no desire to live the very lifestyles they seek to force onto Americans.
Republicans Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz proudly boasted of their values a Gaetz’s recent town hall in Pensacola, Florida. Jim Jordan has been accused of knowingly ignoring the sexual assault of students at Ohio State University during his time at the school. Jordan proudly shared a stage with Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz who is facing a credible investigation into his sexual activities with underage girls.
Many of the same men who have been sexual abusers in their churches, homes, and communities are the same men attempting to outlaw birth control, contraceptives, and abortions even in the case of rape and incest.
Should America be led by religious leaders who cannot control their own prurient desires? If the religion of Christian Nationalism is incapable of correcting even the worst of impulses from its adherents, how is it qualified to be the official religion of the United States?
The sins of these lascivious men do not stop with how they abuse women. Christian Nationalists literally erected a golden image of Donald Trump for MAGA worshipers to pose with for photographs. This is blasphemous even by their own standards. Yet, Christian Nationalism allows it.
The bar for god’s blessings is pretty low when it can be conferred on the hate-filled ignorance of Margorie Taylor Greene by preachers just as the televangelist, Paula White, did for the proud, boastful, and lascivious lifestyle of Donald Trump.
The Future Theocratic Fascists Want
When one subscribes to a theology of cruelty and white supremacy, as is the case of Christian Nationalism, any act of violence, war, greed, or abuse can be justified.
The Christian Nationalism of Dylann Roof led the mass shooter to murder elderly churchgoers during the closing prayer of bible study at Mother Emmanuel A.M.E. in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Christian Nationalist theory of White Replacement – as taught by Tucker Carlson and Fox News – was the deeply-held belief of the mass shooter in Buffalo, New York who intentionally targeted Black shoppers, including elderly Black women who, in our faith tradition, we affectionately refer to as “mothers of the church.”
Is white supremacy so impotent that it considers the murder of women and children as heroic?
Reject Christian Nationalism
The theocratic fascist movement that has been executing its agenda for decades was partly able to accomplish its goals by hiding behind the generic label of Christianity to gain power in the name of religious liberty.
By correctly labeling the specific religious sect of the right, Marjorie Taylor Greene has provided Americans with the ability to precisely identify the agenda and bigoted belief system of the Republican Party.
Christian Nationalism is a belief system that has rejected democracy and embraced totalitarian control over the United States. It is a belief system that rejects self-reflection and embraces ignorance.
The powerful throughout history have been happy to co-opt heaven for their political agenda. Yet Christian Nationalism has reduced their god into a god of ignorance and hate.
Are rational humans to follow this religious sect down a race to the bottom simply because disgruntled, white Christian men feel entitled to control society even without a majority? Are we to be guided by men who cannot live up to their own moral standards but are so offended by addressing individuals by their preferred pronouns that they feel democracy must be overthrown?
What will Christian Nationalists do when they finally reach the scriptures that make it clear that God is a nonbinary spirit?
For whatever the correct pronoun to identify God — we can be assured that God does not identify as a white man nor as the political bludgeoning tool of Christian Nationalism or the Republican Party.
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As a minority who used to alling with the views shared in this article, I have to say I'm glad I stepped away from it. People like you bask in victimhood and make THAT your religion. Christianity continues to diminish in a country where evil dogma continues to raise.
Imagine if y'all are so twisted, that you continue to identify Republicans as just "white". Liberals continue to ironically promote racism by attempting to "supposedly" get rid of it.
This article is based on people who want to believe anyone who's a Christian but not a liberal is out to be a bigot. The issue, if anything, is anyone who identifies as a Christian yet supports ideas like abortion, non-binary propaganda, and moral superiority. There's no such thing as a leftist Christian.
I'm just a foreigner from Scotland, but I lived and worked in the US, in CT, DE and GA, for almost 20 years, so I understand where you are coming from with this. American allies were extremely concerned by Trump's recklessness and instability, and the lurch to Christofascism in a nuclear power is alarming to say the least. A fascistic pseudo-religious alliance between Trump and Putin would be a world disaster potentially far more disastrous than WWII, and it feels very much like the 1930s now. One minor quibble: Machiavellian is mis-spelled!