As the oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in the United States, the Fellowship of Reconciliation has followed the rise of right wing nationalist ideologies that co-opt religious language and imagery in support of their poisonous agendas. We launched the Reclaim the Name campaign to raise awareness around this issue and to develop educational resources for schools, churches and community groups to help and combat these violent distortions of sacred traditions. Our resources are going to be released in Summer 2023. We invite you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
So-Called Christian Nationalism
What is White Christian Nationalism?
White Christian nationalism is not always white, and it bears no resemblance to Jesus Christ. Instead, it is the pernicious idea that the central story of the United States is a hierarchy with whiteness, particular interpretations of Christianity, and male identity in the place of dominant power.
Put simply, it’s the myth of the U.S. as a nation created, defended, and sustained by straight white Christian men whose sacred calling it is to domesticate and control everyone and everything that do not fit neatly into that category, including people of color, women, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people, those who practice other faiths than a narrowly prescribed interpretation of Christianity, and anyone of social and political divergence from the ideals of strength as power over others. It denies the existence of systemic injustice. It is a relationship with the environment that idealizes dominion, extraction, and control. It is a relationship with economic structures that favors capitalism, accumulation, and control. It is a relationship with community that denies the value of relationship and community at all, favoring individualism. It is the conviction that these ways of being are not just one way of being, but the divinely appointed sign of approval from God, empowered because power is rightly in their hands, and when it is not, God disapproves.
White Christian nationalism is the big lie, the myth at the core of the most destructive aspects of the U.S. It is the story of colonizers as civilized and civilizing rather than destructive and genocidal. It is the narrative of Indigenous boarding schools as benevolent spaces. It is the myth of slavery as salvific for the enslaved. And it is the lie that lives on today- encoded in our systems of justice, economics, education, health, environment, and government. And like all lies, it thrives in the dark.
Organizations who work on the issue?
- Southern Poverty Law Center on Male Supremacy in white Christian nationalism
- Local governments and white Christian nationalism
- Understanding the threat
- Georgetown Center on Faith and Justice
- Understanding white Christian Nationalism – Good Faith Media
- The Flag and the Cross by Philip S. Gorski and Samuel L. Perry
- Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah
- Jesus and John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
- What kind of Christianity? By William Yoo
- Christian Nationalism is Dangerous to Christians by Rev. Jennifer Butler
- Who Stole My Bible? by Rev. Jennifer Butler
- Social Identities and Systems of Oppression
By: Philip W. Barker
One need not look far to find other examples of religion playing a prominent role in national identity and politics today. In just the past five years, the Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi changed Indian law to allow immigrants an avenue to citizenship, so long as they were not Muslim; the Buddhist nationalist government of Myanmar has targeted the predominantly Muslim Rohingya with acts of violence; and far-right populist parties have risen to prominence in Hungary, France, and Germany, largely in opposition to rising numbers of refugees; and the presidency of Donald Trump has reminded us of the continuing role of Christian nationalism in U.S. politics. [more]