Opinion: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s words on Christian nationalism are a wake-up call

Greene said in an interview while attending the US Student Action Summit in Florida on Saturday. Her confidence in Christian nationalism follows her request last month that Christian nationalism was “nothing to fear,” and that the “movement” would address school shootings and “immoral sex” in the US.

For many years, I have closely followed Christian nationalism and sounded the alarm about it. Greene’s recent comments mark an alarming shift in the public conversation about Christian nationalism.

Until recently, the public figures who mostly supported Christian nationalism in their rhetoric and policies either denied its existence or claimed that those of us who were calling it are engaged in naming. But clearly Greene is reading from a different script – clearly embracing the identity as her own and urging others to join her.

She is not alone in doing so. Greene’s acceptance of Christian nationalism followed closely troublesome comment from Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert: “The church must direct the government, the government must not direct the church,” she said at a church two days before the primaries (and victory) on end of June. “I’m tired of the separation between church and state.” And like CNN reportedOpinion polls show that support for Christian nationalism is growing among Christians.
Christian nationalism is a political ideology and cultural framework that combines Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and the American promise of religious freedom. It is largely based on a false narrative of America as a “Christian nation”, founded by Christians to privileged Christianity. This mythical history betrays the work of the framers to create a federal government that would remain neutral when it came to religion, not promoting or denigrating religion – a deliberate break with state-established religions in the colonies.
One & # 39;  impersonate Christianity & # 39;  is threatening American democracy

While not new, Christian nationalism has been exploited by politicians like former President Donald Trump in recent years to heighten the “us versus them” mentality and send a message. that only Christians can be “true” Americans.

The growing support for Christian nationalism comes at a time when the political ideology behind it poses increasingly urgent threats to American democracy and religious freedom. Perhaps the most macabre example of Christian nationalism pops up on the world’s stages, from some of Trump’s supporters during the January 6 uprising.

Earlier this year, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Freedom (BJC), the organization I lead, co-published the only comprehensive book document report The role of Christian nationalism in linking and increasing support for the violent attackers of the Capitol.

I’m interested in debunking Christian nationalism because I’m a practicing Christian and because I’m a patriotic American – and no, those identities are not the same. As Christians, we cannot allow Greene, Boebert, or Trump to distort our faith without a fight.

We must raise our voices when our faith is used as a political tool, we must uproot it from our churches and communities, and we must form alliances with religions. minorities and non-religious – those most affected by Christian nationalism.

Religion, and Christianity in particular, has flourished in America not because of government support or favoritism, but for the opposite reason: religion is free from government control government. Government involvement in religious affairs does not support the free exercise of religion. And as Christians, we are called to love our neighbors more than make them feel unwelcome in their country.

As historian Jemar Tisby Written“[to] To follow Christ is to reject the ideology of the Christian Nation. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her allies can follow the teachings of Jesus or the teachings of Christian Nationalism, but they cannot do both.”
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Christian nationalism, while pervasive and enduring, cannot be normalized. I think Christians, who continue to be the majority of Americans, have a special responsibility to step up at this critical time to reject Christian nationalism.

Christian legislators should choose a different path from Greene and Boebert by calling for Christian nationalism without neglecting their own faith and religious pluralism that are such an important part of the law. the identity of our country. Christian nationalism runs rampant in a society where peddlers are the only ones talking about Christianity’s role in public life.

Worse is a situation where the only detractors from Christian nationalism are non-religious people, which fuels the false narrative that the only option for our country is nationalism. Christian ethnicity or no religious expression at all. Religious expression in the United States, from its founding to the present, has been very diverse, with an increasing number of the Americans is no religious affiliation.
It is not difficult for Christian legislators, who have very different policy positions, to refute Christian nationalism. Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger answer Boebert’s comments by calling them out and clarifying that “I say this as a Christian.”
However, the Republican Party increasingly accepting appeals to Christian nationalists, such as Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. The party of former President George W. Bush – who rightly asserted shortly after 9/11 that “We are not against Islam” – has given way to a party dominated by Trump.
“As long as we are confident and united, the tyrants we are fighting won’t stand a chance. Because we are Americans and Americans bow to God, and God alone.” Trump said on Saturday at the same American Student Action Summit, where Greene also appeared.
Christian legislators do not need to remove their faith from politics. My Baptist colleague, Democratic Senator of Georgia, Father Raphael Warnock, modeled the appearance of a minister serving in Congress without demanding a privileged position for Christianity in the Church. law and society. Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford, a former Baptist youth minister, and Delaware Democrat Senator Chris Coons, ordained Presbyterian (USA) elder. found a way to work together out of their common Christian concerns.
It’s not just Christian political leaders that need to do better, but all of us. In 2019, I joined a group of prominent Christian leaders in launching Christians against Christian nationalism. More than 25,000 Christians joined the campaign as we sought to raise alternative Christian witness.

We all have work to do because it’s not just a relatively small number of self-proclaimed Christian nationalists that we have to worry about; that’s how ideology infects so much American politics and American Christianity often without us even realizing it.

American Christians can and should be self-critical of the way our faith and our country have been affected by Christian nationalism, and we need to come together in a loud voice to reject those. see it as their identity and as a policy direction for the country.

An earlier version of this op-ed included an incorrect date for the launch of the campaign Against Christian Nationalism, which began in 2019.

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