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Christian Nationalism

March 7, 2021

QAnon symbol derived from the American flag, Author RootOfAllLight (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

The insurrection at the US Capitol – with many participants proudly proclaiming their Christian faith – has damaged the Christian witness, and increased hostility toward religion in this country.

Conspiracy theories on QAnon and other platforms are seen as a dangerous outgrowth of American Christianity [1A][2].  A backlash against Christians is feared.

Domestic Terrorism

For certain Christians, their identity is based less on Scripture than on conservative culture [1B].  And a strong authoritarian streak runs through their faith.

For this type of believer, love of God and love of country are synonymous [1C][3].  Sadly, the political movement known as the Christian Right has further blurred the distinction between religion and politics.

Christians who subscribe to this viewpoint believe the United States has a covenant with God [1D].  If that covenant is broken, the nation risks literal destruction.  The covenant is threatened by cultural changes like the removal of prayer from public schools, legalized abortion, and gay marriage.

All Christians would agree that God is likely to withdraw His blessings from a nation that does not honor His commandments.

“When you paint it in existential terms…a lot of people feel justified to carry out acts of violence in the name of their faith.”

-Elizabeth Neumann, former official at the Dept. of Homeland Security [1E]

An FBI memo as early as May 2019 described QAnon as a domestic terror threat [1F].

American Exceptionalism

Both the Christian supporters of QAnon and those concerned about the threat of domestic terrorism distort the concept of American exceptionalism (the belief that America has been blessed by God because it was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, with a unique mission to transform the world) [7].

The former believe America to be the new Israel.  The latter deny that America was founded on any such principles or has any such role.  For both, American exceptionalism implies a self-righteous national superiority.

Render to Caesar

“Since the time of Jesus, God has promised salvation to the world, not through nations, but through his church.  God works in and through the church and the people who spread the Gospel; he does not, and never will, rely on political powers, earthly principalities, or national governments.”

-Timothy Head, Exec. Dir. of Faith and Freedom Coalition [4]

Christianity has existed for two thousand years.  During that time, governments have risen and fallen.  The governments which have established Christianity as a state-sponsored religion have either foundered, corrupted Christianity, or both.

This does not mean that Christians should not engage in politics, or speak out on issues of conscience. To the contrary, Christians are called upon to be salt and light (Matt. 5: 13-16).  We have a right and obligation to enter the public square, fight for justice, and bear witness to the Gospel.

Christians are Americans.  But we are, also, citizens of heaven (Phil. 3: 20).

We must remember that laudable ends never justify sinful means (2 Chron. 16) [5].  If pedophile cabals exist (something for which there is little or no credible evidence), we cannot oppose them by a violent overthrow of the duly elected government [6].

And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ ” (Matt. 22: 21).

[1A through 1F]   Politico, “It’s Time to Talk about Violent Christian Extremism” by Zack Stanton, 2/4/21, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/02/04/qanon-christian-extremism-nationalism-violence-466034.

[2]  Wikipedia, “QAnon”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAnon.

[3]   The American Prospect, “The Religious Right’s Rhetoric Fueled the Insurrection” by Peter Montgomery, 2/8/21, https://prospect.org/politics/religious-right-rhetoric-fueled-the-capitol-insurrection/.

[4]  Washington Examiner, “Why patriotism and nationalism don’t mix for Christians” by Timothy Head, 2/15/21, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/why-patriotism-and-nationalism-dont-mix-for-christians?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=msn_feed.

[5]  Apply God’s Word (APG), “What Does the Bible Say about the Ends Justifying the Means” by Mark Ballenger, 8/14/16,  https://applygodsword.com/what-does-the-bible-say-about-the-ends-justifying-the-means/.

[6]  Pedophile rings (as distinguished from cabals) do exist, some including influential persons, as law enforcement has confirmed.

[7]  Wikipedia, “American exceptionalism”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

34 Comments
  1. I agree 100%, Anna. The damage that the radical right has done to the Christian witness is heartbreaking.

    John 18:35-36 (KJV)
    Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
    Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

    • Sadly, radical ministers are encouraging this. Many Christians are so inflamed that their discernment has fled.

  2. I also agree Anna and there are many other Christians who also agree, but far less in number than those Christians who would disagree. The web of deception has been cast and it is everywhere, layer upon layer, entwined and interconnected, in almost every aspect where reason or logic can be applied. And this reason or logic is not truth, but very few care. Your statement that “laudable ends never justify sinful means” seems to have been forgotten. I have known for a long time that thirst for power and wealth motived many, but never to the extent that I see today. The ship we are on that had potential is sinking, and far too many who lead are only concerned with what level of authority and accommodation they can maintain. Not great times to be in, but then, in truth, this is not home. Blessings!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Bruce. As you say, this is not home. But it grieves me to see my country so torn. Human beings can be easily misled. Satan used the same tactics in the Garden. Those who are in the lead will face grave consequences, in eternity.

    • For me, far scarier than Donald Trump’s over-stoked fan base are the strong supporters who consider and call themselves Christian. As a believer in Christ’s unmistakable miracles, hearing Trump’s people chant “Jesus Is My Savior, Trump Is My President” immediately post-election angered me.

      While many true Christians have rejected Trump (albeit mostly silently), regardless of his tempting conservative politics (e.g. his Pro-life professions), the very vocal and politically active ‘Christian’ element that celebrates Trump get the news-media spotlight.

      Obviously the Biblical Jesus was the opposite of the then-president’s character; Christ was all about compassion, pacifism and absolute charity.
      Even Trump would know so much as to realize that Jesus clearly would not tolerate such superfluous wealth as the hoarding of tens of billions of dollars while so many others went hungry and homeless!

      Trump’s ‘Christian’ support base seem to get so riled up by any hint of Democratic Party liberalism that they’d vocally praise someone so contrary to Jesus’s teachings.
      Their apparent blindness to Trump being contrary to Christ’s teachings makes it seem to me they’ve sacrificed Jesus’s fundamentals on the altar of unyielding hard-conservative politics.
      Perhaps worst of all, they make very bad examples of the faith, especially to young impressionable observers.

      • It definitely hasn’t made it any easier in witnessing for Jesus, that is for sure. The hard part is not to allow our own emotions and interactions to become offensive to those who disagree with what we see because if we do, we basically join their stance. Hard times indeed. Blessings!

  3. For many years now I have called myself a “follower of Jesus”. Those who follow Jesus are way fewer in number than those who would identify as “Christians” I see nowhere in scripture where God’s name is to be leveraged for governmental purpose. It is more scriptural that God, if He wishes, lays waste America to bring all to their knees before him.
    What would our country look like with leaders who loved God and People? Now that is worth praying for.

  4. Discerning and very helpful to me, even in my part of the world. Thanks Anna for the balance you bring to the conversation.

  5. Thanks for sharing this, Anna. Also the quote from T Head. It is worrying to me when Christians become too militant, more so when they flout the law of peace and order. It just takes the focus out of Christ, and reveals what ranks highest in our values. We are being persecuted not because of Christ, but because we are disruptive, threatening, not open to dialogue, even hateful. God have mercy on us! (I am conflicted again whether to hit “like” or not–you know what I mean. But I very much agree with everything you wrote.)

  6. “We are told not to seek power. We’re told to be humble. We’re told to turn the other cheek. Jesus, in confronting Caesar’s representative at his trial, says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” “My fight is not here,” basically. Our purpose as believers is to be salt and light; it’s not to force everybody else to hold our beliefs.” (from the Politico article)

    Exactly. I remember the American flag and the Christian flag on the platform. I remember, a few times, pledging allegiance to each. But we can’t serve two masters.

  7. I agree completely, it is worrying when christians become radicalized.

  8. Allan Halton permalink

    “The insurrection at the US Capitol – with many participants proudly proclaiming their Christian faith – has damaged the Christian witness, and increased hostility toward religion in this country.

    Conspiracy theories on QAnon and other platforms are seen as a dangerous outgrowth of American Christianity [1A][2]. A backlash against Christians is feared.”

    “The insurrection… Conspiracy theories… QAnon…” When Christians embrace these and other evils it results in the name of Christ being blasphemed among those who are not Christians, as of old the name of Jehovah was blasphemed among the Gentiles because of His people Israel (Romans 2:24, Isaiah 52:24).
    It is so, so encouraging that God’s response back then when His Name was being blasphemed was, “Therefore my people shall know My Name...” He made good that promise! He fulfilled it when Jesus Christ came to reveal His Father’s name. And He will do it again! He will do it again! I don’t mean by His second coming, but by shining forth, revealing HIMSELF, in and through those who truly bear His Name. May we be numbered among them!

  9. Anna, thank you for sharing the truth with such clarity. You are not alone. The enemy of our souls often whispers that lie to silence us or generate fear.

    Remember Elijah in 1 Kings 19. Twice Elijah says, “I alone am left…” yet the Lord responds with, “I will leave seven thousand in Israel–every knee that has not bowed to Baal...” This provides us a glimpse that Elijah “felt” alone when in fact there were others who had not wavered.

    Please continue to share what the Lord prompts you to through the Holy Spirit. Blessings, sister.

  10. Thank you for this Anna! What an absolutely wonderful post. All of it true. Far right extremists simply use Christians and Christian ideas to justify their actions. They have become not only radicalized but weaponized by the far right media and internet. I watched the storming of the Capitol that day and there were some “Christian” banners flying, but also flags from at least 6 different white supremacy groups. Six! At least one was Nazi. That’s besides gun rights flags and Confederate flags. When we join as allies with these types of groups, we truly have gone far far astray indeed.

  11. I agree completely
    It is so sad to see Christians being done like this. Thank you for bringing this conversation

  12. A very interesting article Anna and quite important as it demonstrates the fallacy of mixing religion and the state. As you well pointed out, Jesus said render unto Caesar what is his and to God what is His. These radical right wing movements and adherents are doing the same thing that extremist Muslim groups are doing to Islam. When religious faith is used to prop up governments or political leaders, the faith always ends up corrupted and serving only the designs of the state.
    All the best Anna,
    FBC

  13. Great post, and I agree.

    I find that the general “Christian Right” strongly supports Trump for the politics of (what I term) institutional Christianity—which ironically is in many ways contrary to the Biblical Christ’s own teachings. (I can see Christ spinning in heaven at the sight of the signs that read: “Thank You, Lord Jesus, For President Trump”.)

    For example, he’s already placed a conservative justice on the Supreme Court, and, from my understanding, he’s doing likewise with a number of lower courts. And then there’s his unprecedented politically/emotionally destabilizing (fire stoking?) move of the U.S embassy into Jerusalem, indeed an Evangelical favorite.

    This Christian Right, however, will often interpret various scriptural passages (in both literal and figurative contexts) in an attempt to reconcile the conspicuously contradictory pacifist practices of Jesus with those of the wrathful, vengeful and even jealous nature of God the creator.

    I sometimes wonder how many potential Christians have felt repelled from the faith altogether due to the vocal angry-God-condemnation brand of the religion, perhaps which more resembles the God of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, Quran and Torah.

    Our collective human need for retributive ‘justice’—regardless of Christ (and great spiritual leaders) having emphasized unconditional forgiveness—may be intrinsically linked to the same unfortunate morally-flawed aspect of humankind that enables the most horrible acts of violent cruelty to readily occur on this planet.

  14. “Laudable ends never justify sinful means.” Wise words, Anna, we’d do well to keep in mind no matter which side of the aisle we sit. Neither side is guiltless in this regard. What we need is a national revival of faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is still our hope!

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