We find ourselves in an increasingly divergent clash, not of nationhood but of ultimate worldviews. Certainly the accusation of “Christian nationalism” fails to do justice to the Christian vison. The goal of the Christian faith is not social control but recognition of the cosmic lordship of God the Creator and Redeemer over all things, including all nature and all nations.
The latest critics of the Christian faith accuse Christians of being selfish, out-of-date, non-constitutional “Christian nationalists” who would impose all the Christian rules on everyone around them. Think Ku Klux Klanners parading through Washington, DC in the 1920s to defend “Protestant America.” Or the The Handmaid’s Tale or a Christian version of 1984. Christians will, they believe, impose an Old Testament-like Christian theocracy on all citizens of the modern state, in which only Christian truth is allowed and the death penalty is employed for various sinful acts. Christian nationalism is decried by many who cry “fascist,” or “domestic terrorist.” Some Christian liberals see their understanding of Christian Nationalism to be “a threat to national security and domestic cohesion,” and even “the greatest threat to the witness of the church.”
- Freelance writer David Bates tweets: “[Christians] will go after every office and seat, from the White House to school boards, city councils, even library boards…This is what fascism looks like in America in the 21st century.”
- Cari Marshall, a board member of the Texas Democracy Foundation, believes “Christian Nationalism” amounts to “domestic terrorism.”
- MSNBC host Joy Reid said via Twitter she was “glad to see the mainstream media beginning to make it plain [that] Christian nationalism poses a very real threat to American national security and social cohesion.”
- Adrienne Quinn Martin, the Democratic Party chairman of Hood County, Texas, was among many who used the term “White Christian Nationalism.” According to Martin, “You can’t compromise with people who view opposition as evil and believe they are on a mission from God. White Christian Nationalism has to be defeated, there is no middle ground.”
- Jemar Tisby, an antiracist black scholar, graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary, in an article entitled “Myth that Powers White Christian Nationalism” argues that “White Christian Nationalism is the greatest threat to the witness of the church and to the future of democracy in the United States.”
These visceral accusations reveal much about the present spiritual state of the culture. The more Western culture turns to pagan thinking, the less it identifies with its Christian past. The normativity of biblical truth dissipates, and what we used to call Christendom falls back under an onslaught of what we can begin to call “pagan nationalism.”
In Finland, a once deeply Lutheran culture, the Helsinki Court of Appeals charged Paivi Rasanen (medical doctor, government minister of the interior, member of the Finnish Parliament since 1955, and Christian believer) with three counts of “ethnic agitation” for publicly questioning the decision by the Evangelical Lutheran Church to support the Helsinki LGBT Pride events, while including a copy of the text of Romans 1:24-27. The court imposed monetary fines and insisted that her publications be censored. A district court in Helsinki recently dismissed all claims against her, but then the public prosecutor produced 26 pages of reasons to reopen the case. Paivi Rasanen’s fate is still wide open.
In America, pagan nationalism shows up in the politicization of anti-biblical morals. Common moral binaries of the past, like normative heterosexual marriage and male-female distinctions, are denied. Instead of biblical morals influencing the policies of the nation, it is anti-biblical morality that is imposed on all, as is evidenced in the coming project of the [sexual] Equality Act, that will punish all who do not adopt the LGBT agenda. Already, the Christian College of the Ozarks is challenging a Biden administration directive that would force religious schools to open girls’ dorms, showers, and other private areas to males. If the college operates according to its beliefs, it risks devastating financial penalties. Over less obviously religious themes, the Biden administration has recently accused parents who do not want their children taught Marxist Critical Race Theory or radical gender philosophy as “terrorists” who must be controlled by the FBI and the Department of Justice. Thankfully, those who formed the Disinformation Governance Board were incompetent. On the surface, at least, this Board no longer exists. But one has to wonder which democratically-elected politicians would even consider that controlling and punishing public speech is a laudable moral value. But this should not surprise us, since some progressives reject even the central philosophies behind the founding of the country. So, the growing politicization of sexual morals and the rejection of traditional governing principles in the West are truly leading us down a path to the normalization of “pagan nationalism.”