Far from being about faith, Christian nationalism is about politics and hero worship

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Lately we have been hearing politicians and preachers telling us that we need to embrace “Christian nationalism.”

Superficially, the language of Christian nationalism may sound “Christian” and “patriotic.” However, at its core, it is an utter repudiation of the teachings of Jesus, and is a grave threat to our democratic republic.

Christian nationalism goes against the teachings of Jesus when it:

  • pushes the narrative that, out of all the peoples on the planet, God chose white America to be His special people to bring about His will upon the Earth.

  • teaches that the proof of God’s favor on America is that God gave America victory in military battles — implying that America’s wars are God’s wars, and that America fights its wars with holy violence.

  • asks us to believe that America is “exceptional” and “blessed” with wealth because America is morally superior to other nations.

  • spurs us to give our loyalty to con artists who scorn principle — instead of supporting people with integrity.

  • flouts flagrant lies — and “cancels” truth and honesty.

  • assumes that Republicans are the party of God-and-country — and the Democrats are “demons” that want only to “destroy America.”

  • imposes religious laws on the general public who by and large do not want to be ruled by theocratic laws.

Christian nationalism menaces our democratic republic when it:

  • treats America nearly as reverently as the kingdom of God.

  • elevates one leader as a near-messiah who alone can save the country.

  • assigns to that one leader the “divine right” not to lose elections.

  • rejects the peaceful transfer of power after elections and attempts to reverse the will of the people.

  • makes excuses for deliberate acts of heartless cruelty — such as Trump’s family separation immigration policy.

  • stokes civil distrust, divisiveness, hatred and racism by encouraging the Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, neo-Nazis, and neo-Confederates.

  • gins up fear and suspicion of darker-skinned “others” who bring crime and degradation and who are a threat to “replace” good white Christians.

  • claims that our society has largely achieved “colorblindness” — while ignoring abundant evidence to the contrary.

  • bans books in schools that are critical of our country’s legacy of white supremacy, slavery, Jim Crow, and the 500-year genocide against indigenous Americans.

  • attacks the LGBTQ community and refuses to endorse universal human rights.

  • suppresses the voting rights of minority voters through monkeying with election laws.

Christian nationalism is full of falsehood when it:

  • misuses “pro-life” rhetoric — as if you can be “pro-life” and deny poor people health care, accept environmental racism, and support the selling of AR-15s to anyone and everyone, without any restrictions or background checks.

  • claims to be “America First” but hurts working people by opposing a living wage and working to bust unions.

  • claims to be for working people, but gives huge tax breaks to big business and the super-rich — increasing the economic pressure on working class and low-income people.

  • complains about persecution and discrimination against white people while averting its gaze from discrimination by white Christians against non-white non-Christians.

Christian nationalism is all about fascistic white nationalism when it:

  • hearkens back to a “golden era” when America used to be “great” because of its “Western European” heritage.

  • yearns to “make America great again” by dominating cultural power centers by installing the people who rightfully “should be” in charge — white Christians, naturally!

  • presents America as formed of white Christians, by white Christians, and for white Christians; others may be permitted to live here, but they must accept their inferior status.

I grew up in a white evangelical environment. But dear reader: Christian nationalism is a perversion of faith, it is a direct assault on our democracy, it is based on lies and disinformation — and it serves an authoritarian, fascist agenda.

It must be emphatically renounced, especially by Christians.

Bayard Taylor lives in Squaw Valley, California.