Some members of the Republican party, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and those within the Donald Trump cult, are now wrapping themselves in T-shirts proclaiming to be “proud Christian Nationalists.” This is an insult to those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In case you have forgotten, true Christians put faith and trust, not in how big and mean and strong they are, but in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, his torture and death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. Christian behavior reflects Jesus Christ by being gracious and merciful to others, forgiving, loving and praying for enemies, welcoming and serving the marginalized among us, caring for the sick, needy, underprivileged, widowed, orphaned, poor, abused and vulnerable, and by striving for justice. This is what is meant by being a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ.
II Corinthians 5:17 cuts to the chase. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" This means that selfish and worldly pursuits are exchanged for desire to honor God.
Christian people see the world through the lens of "others first." Christians are called to love the orphan and widow and care for those less fortunate. James 1:27 makes it clear. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
John 13:34-35 quotes Jesus, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
How soon we forget. How easy it is for those who wave power and self-interest in front of us to override our deepest-held beliefs.
Take Greene, for example. She says that the Republican Party needs “to be the party of nationalism and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists.” In fact, she hawks T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Proud Christian Nationalist.” That would not be so bad if people were not buying them.
The idea is that Christian nationalists must stand against those who are out to destroy America and to cut ties with God. You know, those ugly Americans who are lefties, non-white, non-Christian, and godless immigrants. While Christian nationalists are on team Jesus, everyone else is on team Satan.
Christian nationalists hide their hatred for others who are unlike themselves behind their false beliefs about the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The fact is that religious liberty is enshrined in the Constitution. Believing America is a Christian country founded by and for Christians is a deeply misguided, wrong and dangerous view.
The Declaration of Independence says, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The First Amendment to the Constitution goes further and establishes the right of religious freedom, ensuring that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof … .”
Greene, Boebert, Trump and those aligned with them choose to ignore the very documents that are the basis of our great country. They drive toward Christian nationalism. Yet Christian nationalism is an oxymoron. It is neither Christian nor patriotic.
Jesus Christ had something to say about this. In Matthew 22:21, Jesus is recorded as saying, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” This points out a clear division between the religious establishment and the government.
Yet Green claims that democracy does not matter, because America is a place where only conservative Christian nationalists count as true Americans.
Cutting to the bottom line, wrapping hateful words on a T-shirt is not unlike a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Appearing righteous, carrying a cross and wrapping up in a flag, is a clear sign of hypocrisy. Spewing hate-filled ideology, dividing families and undermining democracy is not Christianity.
Jesus Christ warned us in Matthew 7:15-20: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Listening to Green, Boebert, Trump and their ilk, it sounds like Democrats and liberal leaning voters hate God and America. Honestly, liberal people neither hate God nor their country. There is no “Team Satan.” And there is no “Godless left.” Liberals are just like anyone else. They have their own views on the government and how best we govern ourselves.
White Christian nationalists make up only a small percent of the total population, but are noisy and make up a goodly number of the ultra-right base. They are likely to believe that the election was stolen from Trump, the lies told among QAnon followers, and a coming violence to rescue our country.
I believe it’s time for people of good will to speak up and support the values of love, caring, equity, equality, responsible freedom, and justice. All of us need to speak out against Greene, Boebert, and those within the Trump cult, who are working overtime to hijack Christianity and to ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ for their own self-serving purposes.
Bill Gindlesperger is a central Pennsylvanian, Dickinson College graduate, Pennsylvania System Of Higher Education (PASSHE) Governor, Shippensburg University Trustee, and Chairman of eLynxx Solutions. eLynxx software coordinates and drives communication, specifying, approval, procurement or production, reporting and activities necessary to obtaining direct mail, marketing materials, promo and all other printing. He is a board member, campaign advisor, successful entrepreneur, published author and commentator. He can be reached at Bill.Gindlesperger@eLynxx.com
This article originally appeared on Chambersburg Public Opinion: Greene, Boebert and Trump's cult are wolves in sheep's clothing