Pastor’s Corner: Against Christian Nationalism

A communion chalice

July 27, 2022

Pastors are used to repeating themselves. Well, after over 30 years of ordained ministry, I’m used to repeating myself. Other pastors may well have more to say than I do.

A lot of the Christian message, however, bears repeating. Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. Pray. Hope.

I do get frustrated at some of the things I have to repeat, not because they don’t bear repeating, but because some things seem so obvious that I shouldn’t need to say it again. Things like, “Being religious does not mean that you can treat other people badly,” or “’Love your neighbor’ definitely also means, ‘Don’t harm your neighbor.’”

Add to that: “American white Christian nationalism is a terrible evil.”

I’ve said it before.

Apparently I have to say it again, because a member of the US Congress has openly embraced the mantle of Christian nationalism. So to repeat myself: American white Christian nationalism is a terrible evil.

What happens when religion gains the power of the state? Evil. Historically, this has been true more often than it has not. The Book of Esther describes a narrowly averted near-genocide of the Jewish people during the Persian era. Roman law fervently embraced religion as a foundation of the Empire. As a result, Romans bitterly persecuted people whose religious practice didn’t fit their expectations, including Christians for some two hundred years.

Christians, to our shame, have done the same thing repeatedly. We practiced conversion by force. We brought “holy war” to non-Christian nations. We responded to new Christian theological and spiritual movements with violence.

The faith of the cross, the faith of the Messiah who gave his life rather than take the lives of others, is betrayed by all these forms of Christian nationalism. It is betrayed by this latest racist American form as well.

I repudiate it, and I urge you to resist Christian nationalism. Follow Jesus instead.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Photo by Eric Anderson

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , , | Posted on July 27, 2022

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