Stop Smearing Christians As ‘Christian Nationalists’ Just Because They Value Both Faith And Freedom

Stop Smearing Christians As ‘Christian Nationalists’ Just Because They Value Both Faith And Freedom

Don’t confuse true believers who rightly fight for both faith and freedom as Christian nationalists. They’re just Christians.

By Kylee Zempel FEBRUARY 23, 2021

Throughout the Trump presidency but with increased frequency in the days and weeks following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, the term “Christian nationalism” has littered newsfeeds, and “Christian nationalist” has become a ubiquitous insult hurled broadly at those on the religious right.

We can’t say Christian nationalism doesn’t exist; it does. But what does it mean? Who are the Christian nationalists? Much like the irony of the racism label, when religious folks fight the Christian nationalist tag, their foes seem to take that resistance as further proof that they are indeed Christian nationalists.

Part of the problem with the label is that it is ill-defined, meaning it’s hard to know what exactly Christian nationalism is, how to identify it, and thus hard to counteract or refute it. This makes it a convenient and effective rhetorical grenade to launch at faithful Christians.

Rachel S. Mikva, writing in USA Today, seems to think Christian nationalists are “Christians who plan to take the country for Jesus,” while Amanda Tyler, writing in Religion News Service, describes the phenomenon as “Christianity wrapped in an American flag.” It’s “a fusion of God and country,” explained Jack Jenkins in the same pages.

The Rev. William E. Swing, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, defines Christian nationalism as “those who believe that God is partial to Christians, that Christians are God’s chosen people in this country. They are convinced that America has always been a Christian nation and always will be.”

While Christian nationalism predates the Trump era — critics hurled the same accusations against George W. Bush for his policies — some authors have fused this idea with the 45th president, saying “the most extreme corners of support for Mr. Trump have become inextricable from some parts of white evangelical power in America,” as Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham wrote in the New York Times.

In The New Republic, Matthew Avery Sutton takes it a step further, claiming that “fear, anger, and anxiety remained as central to the lives of evangelicals as any practices of forgiveness, love, understanding, or compassion,” and that Trump “stoked evangelicals’ terror of state power and brought their deep-seated racism and sexism to the surface.”

Christian Nationalism Defined

David French zooms away from Trump to help articulate a clear explanation, which he takes from Thomas Kidd quoting Matthew McCullough: Christian nationalism is “an understanding of American identity and significance held by Christians wherein the nation is a central actor in the world-historical purposes of the Christian God.” It offers an “exaggerated transcendent meaning to American history” and can “undergird American militarism.”

The first part of French’s analysis is spot-on. He notes that this problematic worldview is ahistoric and anti-biblical, and thus can lead to dangerous applications. So-called Christians who believe their identity as Americans is equal to their religious identity and that their earthly citizenship is central to God’s divine plan and promises do so at the expense of scripture. Patriotism is not the central message of the gospel.

French is also right that “the pervasiveness of Christian nationalism as an academic or theological concept is greatly exaggerated.” Even most patriotic pastors believe Christians must devote themselves to God above nation.

Also, contrary to how corporate media actors have crafted the riot narrative, the number of “religious” people who forced their way into the Capitol on Jan. 6, allegedly taking it over “in Jesus’s name,” was numerically insignificant compared to the number of Christians who rallied peacefully in the capital city that day, concerned for their country and the integrity of our institutions.

Most of French’s subsequent analysis, however —  which also wades into anti-American 1619 absurdity and white guilt — is instructive about the myriad ways opponents of Christian Trump supporters (and of Christianity generally) use this label to smear Christ-followers trying to faithfully live out their beliefs. French’s NeverTrumpism taints his analysis of patriotic white Protestants and shines through in his knee-jerk disdain for anything resembling an America-first outlook.

It’s the same sentiments you can find in The New York Times and The New Republic, but unlike most corporate writers spouting off about religion, French, as a Christian himself, has all the right language to effectively smear the faithful believers whose voting records and civic engagement he finds distasteful. In his world, Christians who love their country differently than French loves it run the risk of being tossed into the “Christian nationalist” basket.

When Love Becomes Militant

French rightly notes that an incorrect view of God and his purposes for America can lead to militarism, which he seems to believe is what’s wrong with white, Christian freedom-lovers and Trump voters now. But he fails to note that even a correct love of God and country can lead to aggression.

Of a virtuous love for country — which includes love of home, familiarity, and family — French quotes C.S. Lewis, saying: “Of course patriotism of this kind is not in the least aggressive. It asks only to be let alone. It becomes militant only to protect what it loves.”

His argument is self-defeating, however, because it ignores our present reality. What does righteous patriotism become, then, when people are not “let alone” and when their institutions begin to directly attack what they love? Lewis said it right there: It becomes militant.

The pandemic offers a fresh example. Citizens aren’t being “let alone” when they are subjected to sweeping and partisan orders that dictate how they must cover their faces and whom they are permitted to allow inside their own homes. When government authorities qualify worship as nonessential and dangerous, fracturing church bodies into rotating services or relegating them to internet “fellowship,” that surely qualifies as an attack on “what they love.” Therefore even in keeping with so-called pure patriotism, aggression becomes warranted.

This seems to be a popular sentiment among left-wing media and politicos, that Christians ought to be polite, silent, and unconcerned with the affairs of government. Any peep out of them, even when their rights are violated, amounts to extremism and a desire for theocracy.

Oh, you Christians don’t want gender propaganda forced on your kids in schools? You’re a bigot who wants religion written into law. You want Supreme Court justices who value life even in the womb? You’re a hateful theocrat. You think Big Tech and bureaucrats rigged an election that will result in your rights being infringed, so you fly to D.C. with your family and your flags? You’re a Christian nationalist.

The Gospel According To…

The fact is all people have some sort of religious belief to which they passionately cling. As the late novelist David Foster Wallace noted, “In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”

For some people, it’s Black Lives Matter or so-called reproductive rights, and for others it’s climate activism. For some, it’s nationalism parading around as orthodoxy, and for others it’s biblical Christianity.

Each has a certain moral code, a requirement for repentance, some method of worship, and leaders that they follow. BLM disciples hosting struggle sessions and following the teachings of Ibram X. Kendi while they praise the doctrine of “equity” have the same religious fervor as true Christians. Elevating Kamala Harris, the social justice warrior and “equity” preacher, to the vice presidency is evidence that followers of that secular religion want their beliefs written into law as much as Christians want to be free to follow their own.

The laws and policies in our country aren’t neutral; they reflect someone’s “religious” beliefs. When lawless actors set fire to a courthouse or vandalize a national monument in the name of Black Lives Matter or Antifa, it doesn’t differ much from a rioter wielding a cross and a Bible as he storms the Capitol. Both could be considered religious extremists; they just worship different gods — neither one the true God. Violence and tribalism are the natural result of false religions that prize the temporal over the eternal.

It’s here we must realize that when patriotism becomes violent nationalism — when it elevates country to the same status as God and believes America, rather than Christ himself, to be central to God’s plan — there’s nothing “Christian” about it.

True Christians condemn idol worship. They hold fast to what is good. They expect to be persecuted strangers and exiles. They believe vengeance and judgment belong to God alone, not to vigilantes bearing cross necklaces and flags. Rogues who invoked Jesus’s name while smashing windows and barging into the Capitol did so in vain. That isn’t what following Jesus looks like.

Bullied into Apathy

None of this is to say Christians ought to embrace apathy or be pacifists. The anti-religious newsrooms pushing cover stories about so-called Christian nationalism would love nothing more than to shame and bully faithful disciples into sitting down and shutting up.

The Capitol riot was a convenient hook for their narrative, but they don’t just believe the people who showed up in Washington that day were religious extremists. They think all Christians are. It isn’t that they don’t want you in Statuary Hall. It’s that they don’t want you on the school board, in journalism, or on campus. They want to chase you out of churches, out of public office, and even out of political conversations.

Believers, however, know faith without works is dead and that our faith isn’t confined to Sunday morning services. What we believe about God and man and redemption ought to affect every decision we make, including our civic engagement.

If we love God, love our neighbor, and wish to steward our resources and lead our families well, sitting on the sidelines of the political and culture wars is really not an option. Contrary to French’s assessment, it isn’t about making ourselves more culturally comfortable; it’s about being consistent in our beliefs and doing what’s right.

As long we remain on this Earth, Christians will be assailed as bigots and nationalists. This evergreen dynamic of Christians being not “of the world,” but striving to be faithful while they’re “in it,” is way bigger than Jan. 6, Donald Trump, David French, or America. Don’t confuse true believers who rightly fight for both faith and freedom as Christian nationalists. They’re just Christians.

Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.Photo Pikist

https://thefederalist.com/2021/02/23/stop-smearing-christians-as-christian-nationalists-just-because-they-value-both-faith-and-freedom/


Why I Have High Hopes For 2021

by Greg Laurie on Jan 1, 2021

2020 is now in our rearview mirrors and it can’t leave fast enough. What a year it was.

The year of the coronavirus pandemic, shutdowns and quarantine.

The year of political upheaval, riots and protests.

2020 seemed to bring out both the best and worst in people. As Charles Dickens’ “A Tale Of Two Cities” begins, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That seems like a good summary of this year. Despite the chaos of 2020, I have hope for 2021.

Here’s an acronym to help us understand hope: holding on with patient expectation (HOPE).

First of all, let me tell you where I am not putting my hope: political solutions. Politics have their place of course, and they have a significant effect on our lives. But true hope that transcends circumstances and human emotions comes from somewhere else. It comes from God. Perhaps you find yourself filled with fear as you enter this new year. I read the most searched for and bookmarked Bible verse of 2020 was Isaiah 41:10:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).

It’s been said the phrase “fear not” is found in the Bible 365 times. That’s one “fear not” for every day of the year. But those promises can be a lot like the gift cards we may have received this Christmas. They are often forgotten and left unused. In fact, approximately $3 billion worth of gift cards were not redeemed in 2019.

Like those gift cards, God’s promises won’t have any effect on our lives if we don’t “cash them in.” And the way to “cash in” a promise from God is simply to trust him to keep them.

One of my favorite promises in the Bible is found in Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJV).

I love how God says, “The thoughts I think toward you.”

The fact that almighty God would have even a fleeting thought about me is overwhelming. But God does not say, “I know the singular fleeting thought I had for a moment about you.” Rather, he says, “I know the thoughts I think toward you.”

How many are those thoughts? According to Scripture, they are more than the sands at the beach. (Psalm 139:18)

But what kinds of thoughts is God thinking about me?

God assures us these are “thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Years ago, when my son Christopher was a little boy, I took him to a toy store. We went to the “Star Wars” aisle — this was when the film was out for the first time — and I told him he could pick out anything he wanted. Christopher was looking at “Star Wars” figures and simply could not decide.

Then he turned to me and said, “Why don’t you choose for me, Dad?”

His words warmed my heart. I chose the massive Millennium Falcon toy to go with the Han Solo figure he had been admiring. It was my pleasure to give my son the very best and I think he trusted I would pick something better for him than he would have chosen for himself.

Sometimes, we feel apprehensive about saying something like that to God. That’s because we may think that God is harsh, stingy and out to ruin our lives when the very opposite is true. God is not mad at us, he is mad about us. He loves us and he has a plan for us that is better than our plans for ourselves.

Perhaps this is the year we say to God, “Why don’t you choose for me, Dad?”

I don’t know what 2021 holds, but I know who holds 2021. Corrie ten Boom was right when she said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

I’ve read the last page of the Bible. All is well in the end because God has a future and a hope for us.

So, I have hope for this coming year.


This article was originally published on Fox News. Click here for the link to the original article.

Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.

VIDEO ‘Worship Protests’ Are Bringing Revival To America’s Troubled Cities

People have asked me why we are holding these ‘worship protests,’ and the answer is simple: God is moving, and our nation desperately needs it.

‘Worship Protests’ Are Bringing Revival To America’s Troubled Cities

By Sean Feucht

Something is happening in America, and it should sound the alarm for every confessing Christian. Simply put, hostile efforts in many cities now threaten to suppress the First Amendment rights of all people to exercise our faith freely. In unprecedented acts of government-authorized injustice, Christians are being told they cannot gather for worship, they cannot sing songs of praise, and they cannot observe church ordinances.

Just last week, politicians in Seattle installed temporary fencing and security guards around Gas Works Park to prevent us from holding a “Let Us Worship” public outdoor service. Similarly, at Cal Anderson Park, Antifa protesters shouted obscenities, intimidated worshipers, cursed out my wife and four children, and damaged our equipment.

While followers of Jesus are being told we cannot worship in public spaces, violent paid rioters are taking over our streets and being given license to occupy and destroy entire sections of our cities. Churches are being covered in graffiti and even burned while civic leaders call for defunding the police. Never did I dream that this would happen, and never have I been more determined to do something about it.

The Church Is Being Persecuted Here in America

For the past 20 years, I’ve taken my entire family all over the world in support of the persecuted church. These efforts have brought greater exposure for dictatorial regimes and their anti-Christian tyrants in places such as North Korea, Iran, China, and Islamic Africa. In some parts of the world, Christians routinely face prison and even torture for nothing more than simple acts of faith, such as reading their Bibles, praying, and peaceably gathering with other believers to worship.

Now in major cities across America, godless politicians are adopting tactics that more closely resemble those of jihadist ayatollahs than men and women who are sworn to uphold the rule of law. Earlier this year in Kentucky, an elected leader tried to “criminalize” the celebration of Easter and would have gotten away with it if not for a federal judge, appointed by President Donald Trump, who blocked him.

In Virginia, the governor tried to stop Christians from gathering to worship under penalty of arrest and imprisonment. In Minnesota, the attorney general enforced the governor’s executive order that banned churches from worshipping but allowed dog groomers and golf courses to remain open.

In my home state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and many large-city mayors have ramped up their fight against the freedom of religion. As I write this, elected officials in Sacramento and Los Angeles are wringing their hands in desperation as they try to figure out how to shut down church leaders such as Grace Community Church’s John MacArthur.

In Portland, one of our brothers was stalked by an armed “protester” and shot at point-blank range while bystanders looked on with their phones, recording the whole thing. The victim, 39-year-old Jay Danielson, had weeks before joined hundreds of Christians who came to Oregon’s largest city for one of our “Let Us Worship” gatherings.

Truly, the actions of militant, anti-Christian forces, who want to shut down our churches, silence our worship, and even shoot our fellow believers in the streets, have stirred the soul of the American church. Where we have stood in solidarity with Christians around the world whose hostile governments threaten their religious freedom, we now stand with each other on our native soil.

I keep telling myself and my fellow Christians from every walk of life that this isn’t what America was founded to be. This isn’t how we are supposed to live. I will not stand idly by and watch it happen.

America Needs Revival

The American experiment, now approaching its 250th year, has proved our ability for more than two centuries to withstand foreign attacks from rogue states that despise and reject the freedoms we hold dear. What we face now is not a new threat; it is just no longer a foreign threat. The present madness has arisen from our own soil, cultivated and encouraged by our own politicians.

All across America, however, Christians are rising up. In recent weeks, thousands upon thousands have gathered and marched to assert their God-given freedoms. I’ve stood before them, armed with only a copy of the Bible and a simple guitar. People have asked me why we are holding these “worship protests” across the country, and the answer is simple: God is moving, and our nation needs it now more than ever in my lifetime.

In Seattle, a self-proclaimed satanist came to protest our worship, met the glory of God, and gave his life to Jesus. He is not alone. Thousands of hurting people have encountered the love of Christ in dozens of America’s most troubled cities through the simple act of gathering together in worship.

The church I believe in ministers to the sick and hurting; it doesn’t hide in the darkness. Jesus touched contagious lepers, and our fellow Americans need His healing touch right now. They need the bold, warm embrace of God’s love.

We are just getting started, with worship gatherings planned in Madison, Minneapolis, Kenosha, Chicago, and many more — culminating in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25. I refuse to seek permission from politicians to adhere to my calling, the church’s calling.

Let me be very clear: Our fists are not held up in defiance; our hands are lifted in praise. Our voices are not raised in shouts of hatred, but our songs of hope and prayers for revival are piercing the darkness around us. God is not finished with America yet.

Sean Feucht is a missionary, artist, speaker, author, activist, and the founder of LetUsWorship.us, a movement organizing worship rallies in America’s most troubled cities.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/17/worship-protests-are-bringing-revival-to-americas-troubled-cities/


 

https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/16/wisconsin-worshipers-gather-at-boarded-up-capitol-to-turn-riots-into-revival/

VIDEO Real Story of Black Lives Matter, Marxist, Anti-Family Radicals Takeover Of America

By L. Brent Bozell III | July 1, 2020

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 14: A protester holds a sign during a march in support of Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives in Boystown on June 14, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Protests erupted across the nation after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25th. (Photo by Natasha Moustache/Getty Images)

Black Lives Matter.

That rallying cry is now endorsed by millions of people, not just in the United States, but around the world. “By a 28-point margin, Civiqs finds that a majority of American voters support the movement,” according to The New York Times.

My guess is that 99 percent of those supporting this group have no idea what it stands for. All you shopkeepers putting signs in your stores, you schoolteachers programming your students to lock arms, you men and women of the cloth preaching about morality, you civic leaders urging community action and political leaders demanding legislative remedies — you give ignorant pawns a bad rap.

Black Lives Matter was founded by radical extremists who are perfectly pleased with the rioting, looting, vandalism and violence that have plagued our cities for the past several weeks.

It’s what violent revolutionaries do. Do I exaggerate?

Two of the three founders are self-described “trained Marxists.” Co-founder Patrisse Cullors told Cosmo that Assata Shakur is one of the leaders who inspired her. Shakur’s real name is Joanne Chesimard and she is wanted by the FBI as a “domestic terrorist” for murdering a police officer, escaping prison and hiding out in Cuba for decades.

One of the board of directors for the leftist group Thousand Currents, which handles donations to Black Lives Matter, is a convicted terrorist. She was pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

They live their beliefs.

Sorry, you spoiled, white-privileged, nameless, faceless, cowardly fools. BLM supports the destruction of America, and you’ve endorsed it, and they’re laughing at you. Greater New York Black Lives Matter president Hawk Newsome warned that “if this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.” He claimed it “a matter of interpretation” whether he was speaking “figuratively” or “literally.”

It’s a blatant threat. No one at BLM denounced him.

Black Lives Matter rioters have attacked statues and attempted to destroy monuments across America that project racism. But they’re also attacking those who fought against slavery. The mob is attempting to damage the iconic Lincoln Memorial. It wants a statue honoring Ulysses S. Grant removed. There’s more. They’re out to destroy the monument to the 54th Massachusetts regiment, the African American unit portrayed in the movie “Glory.” Their latest target is the Emancipation Memorial, a D.C. statue depicting a freed slave in front of President Abraham Lincoln. The statue was unveiled in 1876 to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation and was funded by actual freed slaves.

Those black lives don’t matter to Black Lives Matter.

They’re also trying to destroy a World War II memorial. Somehow our nation’s victorious struggle to defeat Nazism is an exercise in racism.

Listen up, all you Christian leaders kneeling in prayer. While you’re sermonizing about the need to show support for their movement, BLM leaders are sermonizing about destroying yours. BLM activist Shaun King wants symbols of your religion eradicated. “Yes I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down,” he tweeted. “They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.”

BLM hasn’t denounced him. And you’re enabling him.

Amazon, Netflix, GoFundMe, Chick-fil-A — all you corporations sending millions and tripping over yourselves to be one with the crowd — do any of you know how to read? You should be held legally accountable for their destruction given it’s made possible by the money you’ve provided.

Black Lives Matter doesn’t hide its radical positions. They are listed right on its website. Who they are and what they believe — it’s right there, in the open. Are their beliefs yours too?

Since you’re endorsing BLM, I dare you to urge your shareholders and customers to read what’s on that website.

“Two of three Black Lives Matter founders identify as queer,” according to ABC News. The BLM positions reflect that, claiming to “foster a queer‐affirming network” and opposing “the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.” The organization vows to “do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege.” That’s all leftist code for an anti-family agenda.

But the organization gets more specific: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement.” They want “extended families and ‘villages,’” to raise your children. It takes a village, not parents.

The group’s website proudly proclaims, “This is the revolution.” And that’s precisely what this is — a cultural revolution. These are Marxists following the Maoist playbook in China during the late ’60s and early ’70s. The Maoist revolutionaries vandalized temples, tore down statues and destroyed artifacts. The opposition was marched to re-education camps.

The Tibet Journal detailed the account of one lama who saw Marxism up close. The account described how Chinese Marxists “put themselves into a position of monopolizing truth and how it is sought.”

That is terrifyingly similar to what we are experiencing now.

It is not the alleged symbols of racism that Black Lives Matter wants destroyed. It is America.

L. Brent Bozell is the founder and president of the Media Research Center.

https://dailycaller.com/2020/07/01/bozell-the-real-story-of-black-lives-matter-marxist-anti-family-radicals/


Activist Mommy Breaks Down The Marxist Takeover Of America

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