Last month’s column focused on the impact of white Christian nationalists on national politics. Their numbers in Congress have steadily increased since Barack Obama was first elected president. According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation“More than a quarter of members of Congress taking refuge for their lives as a riotous mob rampaged through the heart of our democracy ended up siding with the insurgents in an attempt to strip Joe Biden of his legally won presidency. “
Members of Congress who voted not to certify the results of the most secure national election in the nation’s history voted to disrupt and destabilize the American democratic process. Eight senators who voted not to certify the election results are white Christian nationalists who place greater loyalty to their religious beliefs than to their oath to protect the Constitution. The two senators’ public statements below reveal their rejection of the nation’s secular Constitution and reflect the views of most Christian nationalists in Congress.
While addressing students at Liberty University, a Christian college founded by Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell, Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, said that the rights we enjoy in this country came from his God. With this statement, Cruz shows his total disrespect for those who fought and died not only to have these rights but to defend them. Remember, freedom is not free. Apparently, Cruz believes that by dedicating our lives to his God, we will have and keep all the rights we have today.
Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, is one of the most openly white Christian nationalist members of Congress. At a “Pastors and Pews” event in Kansas City, Missouri, Hawley pledged allegiance to his God and superseded his oath to uphold the Constitution. Unfortunately, what Hawley said is too long, convoluted and bizarre to quote in full. Essentially, Hawley noted: Jesus Christ is the only risen God, seated on the throne and Lord of all. As believers, we are charged with bringing the lordship of Christ into the public domain to transform our society to reflect the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Racism is at the heart of white Christian nationalism. The strategy of white supremacy is to gerrymand a minority of black voters in predominantly white districts to nullify the black vote. In Rucho v. Common Cause (2019), the five (then) nationalist Christian conservatives on the The United States Supreme Court ruled that gerrymandering for political reasons was beyond their reach, even if the black vote would not be counted in any meaningful way.
As historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote, Steve Bannon, former chief of staff to President Trump, said Politico last year that flaming racism was how Republicans would take over Congress: “I see 50 (House Republican) seats in 2022. Keep it up (and) I think you’re going to see a lot more Trump emphasis on theory Criticism of Race and (of) DeSantis et al. People who are serious about 2024 and beyond are going to focus on that. Richardson commented, “For those determined to regain power, disruption and destabilization are the order of the day.”
However, most Christians are not white, racist Christian nationalists. Far from there. On the contrary, most people who identify as Christians follow Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where he proclaimed the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
An opposition group is Christians Against Christian Nationalism. Their position is: “As Christians, our faith teaches us that everyone is created in the image of God and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we appreciate our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat both to our religious communities and to our democracy: Christian nationalism.
Three statements of belief from Christians Against Christian Nationalism that, as an atheist, I identify with are: “People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square “, be irrelevant to a person’s position in the civic community” and “the government should not prefer one religion to another or one religion to a non-religion”.
I encourage people of all faiths and none to take responsibility for opposing Christian nationalism wherever it raises its head.
Tom Waddell is president of the Maine chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He welcomes comments on [email protected] and ffrfmaine.org.
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