Fostering Christians who oppose Christian nationalism

by Msnbctv news staff

(RNS) — Finally month’s Southern Baptist Conference, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination barely staved off an try by a right-wing faction to grab the conference’s presidency. The insurgents, whose name to arms was to oppose crucial race principle, had been narrowly turned again with the election of Ed Litton, a average pastor from Alabama.

However studies urged that the tumultuous presidential election solely additional galvanized the conference’s rebel proper wing. 

The Southern Baptist Conference’s close to miss does so much to clarify the motivation for Christians In opposition to Christian Nationalism, a corporation led by Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee for Spiritual Liberty, and Vote Widespread Good, the nonprofit evangelical group I lead. We have now partnered to launch a brand new program for religion leaders geared toward confronting Christian nationalism in church buildings throughout the nation.

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Of their 2020 ebook, “Taking America Again for God: Christian Nationalism in america,” Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry present that 19.8% of Individuals fervently assert that America was based as, and continues to be, a Christian nation. People on this class, they discovered, usually tend to worry and mistrust spiritual minorities, condone police violence towards Black Individuals, maintain racist and anti-immigrant views, oppose science training in colleges and approve of calls for that folks present respect for nationwide symbols and traditions.

This ideology has been rising for a while, however the occasion that woke many Christians to the urgency of the menace was the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, through which Christian language and symbols featured prominently among the many insurrectionists. In February, greater than 1,400 evangelical leaders from throughout the nation and the political spectrum launched an open letter calling on religion leaders to hitch efforts to handle rising political extremism in evangelical communities.

The overwhelming help the letter obtained prompted Purple Letter Christian activist Shane Claiborne and me to assemble evangelical luminaries in addition to lecturers and specialists on spiritual extremism throughout the political spectrum for a sequence of conferences to debate the necessity for brand spanking new initiatives to handle extremism within the evangelical group. 

These conferences made clear that there was a necessity for a nationwide, intra-community anti-extremism marketing campaign that mirrored Christians’ dedication to disavowing and dismantling Christian nationalism. 

American flags fill a subject. Picture by Jean Beaufort/Inventive Commons

Whitehead and Perry’s analysis signifies that 32% of Individuals solely considerably endorse the values fueling Christian nationalism — they imagine the federal government ought to favor the Christian faith or values and imagine that America was based as a Christian nation, however they don’t take motion to help these concepts.

These are the Individuals we need to carry again from the sting. Our coalition is hoping to succeed in them via a set of self examine guides, group examine supplies and sermon sources, every designed to offer theological grounds in opposition to nationalism, racism and violence. It equips religion leaders to handle the rise of Christian nationalism in their very own communities. 

We outline Christian nationalism as “a cultural framework that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life.” The curriculum challenges the notion that Christianity must be privileged by the federal government, citing various New Testomony passages that exhibit Christians are sure to Christ not by citizenship, however by religion. 

It additionally presents various sensible methods to push again on Christian nationalism. It teaches Christians to recenter themselves on the teachings and instance of Jesus of Nazareth and to work to rebuild relationships with these round them — particularly these not like them. It additionally calls on their frequent humanity, understanding that we’re all youngsters of God.

Broadly, the curriculum leads readers to reclaim Christianity and defend their religion from the trimmings of nationalism. We plan to make use of our community of pastors and educators to publicize these classes and make sure the curriculum’s implementation via paid advertisements, instructional pamphlets, talking engagements at Christian universities and extra.

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We have now already related with dozens of congregation leaders in conservative-leaning states who plan to make the most of the curriculum in their very own communities — together with pastors in Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and extra. 

Doug Pagitt. Courtesy photo

Doug Pagitt. Courtesy photograph

Christian nationalism could also be on the rise, however many have already joined us in rising to fulfill this problem. For the sake of our religion and for our nation, it’s time Christians across the nation acknowledge the duty they must stem the tide of Christian nationalism.

(Doug Pagitt is an American evangelical pastor, social activist, writer and govt director of Vote Widespread Good, a gaggle that works to encourage, energize and mobilize individuals of religion to make the frequent good their voting criterion. The views expressed on this commentary don’t essentially mirror these of Faith Information Service.)

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