Sept. 4, 2019
According to left-wing activists who are scared to death about religious liberty, the twin devils of our day are White nationalism and Christian nationalism. They say they go hand-in-hand. That is what those who issued the statement "Christians Against Christian Nationalism" contend.
Most of the Christians who are featured as the leading critics of Christian Nationalism are Protestants: of the nineteen, there are only two Catholics among them. Baptists from various denominations are the most overrepresented (none of whom belong to the Southern Baptist Convention—those conservatives would be among the bad guys).
One of the two Catholics is Sister Simone Campbell of "Nuns on the Bus" fame. She is the head of a Catholic dissident group, NETWORK. She is known for working against the religious rights of the Little Sisters of the Poor—hoping to make them pay for abortion-inducing drugs in their healthcare plan—and for endorsing the Equality Act, which would decimate religious liberty, especially for Catholics.
The other Catholic is Patrick Carolan, who runs the Franciscan Action Network. He is opposed to Catholic schools that insist that their teachers abide by Catholic tenets on marriage and family. He argues that a Catholic teacher who is "married" to someone of the same sex should be permitted to teach at a Catholic school, even if it means violating a contract that he voluntarily signed upholding Catholic teachings. He also thinks Catholic lay groups should support gay marriage.
If there is one religious entity that is in full support of Christians Against Christian Nationalism, it is the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC). It came down squarely in favor of two gay men who sought to deny a Christian baker his right not to endorse their "wedding." On August 10, BJC leaders attended the Progressive National Baptist Convention in Atlanta, a conference that addressed the horrors of Christian nationalism. For the record, BJC hates to see "In God We Trust" banners in public spaces.
Andrew Whitehead is generally regarded as the intellectual force behind Christians Against Christian Nationalism. I share one thing in common with him: we are both sociologists. The Clemson University professor was recently asked if Christian nationalists "think you have to be Christian to be truly American?" He said yes, that's what they believe. He did not name anyone who supposedly entertains this view.
Whitehead says that his research convinces him that "the more strongly you embrace Christian nationalism, the more likely you are to hold negative attitudes toward racial and religious minorities." He did not say why Christians are far more generous in their charitable giving than secularists are (much of that charity goes to racial and religious minorities). Nor did he say why Catholics, who are a religious minority, are subjected to "negative attitudes" by the secularists who comprise the cultural elites: from Hollywood to Harvard, Catholic bashing is sport.
In his interview with Deseret News, Whitehead wondered about the religious affiliation of the El Paso and Dayton mass shooters. We don't know much about the former mass murderer, but we do know that the latter was a hard-core Satanist.
In a 2018 paper he co-authored, Whitehead made the claim that there was a connection between Christian nationalists and gun ownership. He fingered Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, as Exhibit A. Whitehead cited a portion of a speech that LaPierre made in 2018, after the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
"The genius of those documents [the Founding documents], the brilliance of America, of our country itself," LaPierre said, "is that all of our freedoms in this country are for every single citizen." Whitehead's argument imploded right before his eyes, but he didn't get it. LaPierre did not say that the United States was founded exclusively for Christians—he said our freedoms apply to "every single citizen." What is it about that sentence that Whitehead doesn't get?
Whitehead also quoted LaPierre saying our freedoms, such as the right to bear arms, were "granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright." This is not the voice of a Christian nationalist—it is the voice of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. Our unalienable rights, Jefferson said, come not from government but from our "Creator." Whitehead needs to take a remedial course in American history.
In 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court said, "This is a Christian nation." It was simply acknowledging that our nation's heritage is rooted in Christianity. Not to recognize this historical fact is plain stupidity. What is worse is the attempt to silence those who proudly proclaim this verity.
There are no Christians organized to take over the nation, making non-Christians second-class citizens. This is pure propaganda, a vicious lie told by those who believe that Christian conservatives are somehow un-American and a threat to liberty. The threat is not coming from them, but from those who are making this charge.
Conservative Christians are a net asset to America, and should be defensive about nothing.