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Show Notes - Episode 114

June 12, 2022

https://truthout.org/art/patriotism-vs-nationalism/?gclid=CjwKCAjwkYGVBhArEiwA4sZLuA_FX0AkLGb6Gn4wvcATBGuMoNQgMN0hlVrtiGwtGxvuU6hnFxE3GxoCZE0QAvD_BwE

 

https://www.dictionary.com/e/patriotism-vs-nationalism/

 

https://www.bbc.com/storyworks/specials/moving-to-america/americas-culture-and-customs.html

 

https://www.businessinsider.com/the-11-nations-of-the-united-states-2015-7#new-france-inhabitants-are-comfortable-with-government-involvement-in-the-economy-10

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Nations

 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/february-web-only/what-is-christian-nationalism.html

 

https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/common-witness-ncc/the-dangers-of-christian-nationalism-in-the-united-states-a-policy-statement-of-the-national-council-of-churches/

 

 

You know, for a religion that vilifies pride of any sort the way evangelicalism does, they sure do seem to have steered a lot of people's thinking in the direction of toxic levels of national pride. So much so that a huge number of people in this country adhere to a nationalist viewpoint. I'm Spider...

 

…and tonight, we are going to look at the differences between patriotism and nationalism and how these two philosophies affect society. As happens often on this show, the focus of the episode shifted considerably in the course of my research. Almost any search criteria I used to get information about the nature of patriotism was hijacked with insane amounts of content about nationalism and Christian nationalism in particular and some of the things I uncovered were infuriating but none of it was surprising. I'lll expand on that thought in just a few...

 

But first: Burn the books, kill all the gays, and indoctrinate the living shit out of anyone you can find who is under the age of reason. It's CBB: What Would Hitler Do? Edition...

 

CBB 114

 

I remember when we first started the podcast, the 'christians behaving badly' segment was actually pretty fun to put together. It was mostly prophets being wrong on the internet and people saying crazy stuff. These days, it's really depressing. Every time I look at the sites I get the stories from, they're full of virulent hate and wishes of death, willful ignorance of both reality and scripture, and no sign of that storied “Christian Love” I've heard so much about.

 

https://onlysky.media/hemant-mehta/a-school-board-candidate-checked-out-lgbtq-library-books-so-kids-cant-read-them/

 

OMG we must protect the children!!! So...lets take out alllll the books on LGBTQ issues! This is what a school board candidate thought was a good justification for basically taking out all of the books in a Pride month display at a public library, so that...kids couldn't read them? I guess this is what they're doing now.

 

Heather Fletcher, who is running for a school board in Maryland, says that he did this and stole a bunch of pins with pronouns on them for people to use for to identify themselves, and justified her actions:

 

Fletcher said she was “disturbed” by the display and worried it would prompt “age-inappropriate” questions from young children. She said she didn’t want her three children to see the word “queer” on a book and that she removed the items after trying, unsuccessfully, to convince the staff to move the books out of the main lobby area.

This has nothing to do with the gay community,” Fletcher said. It has to do with the preservation of innocence.”

These aren't sex books. They're HISTORY books. A few autobiographies. Did she actually think that removing these books would make LGBTQ people not exist?

 

Now, what she did was legal, she just...checked out the books. I mean that's what you do at a library. And the library can, most likely, just restock the display with more books featuring LGBTQ characters, biographies and history. And the ironic part is that when libraries decide which books to purchase, they look for the amount of times a book has been taken out. So Ms. Fletcher, by taking out all of those books, has insured that books like those on the Pride Month display will be purchased again. So...thanks, I guess?

 

Anyway, Ms. Fletcher also decided to go to a Library Trustees Meeting, angry about the Pride display and also the pronoun pins. She believed that they were bought with taxpayer funds.

 

Of course since she obviously knows nothing about how libraries operate, she must have been very surprised at the answer she got.

 

Those were not actually created with any public funds,”  the library spokesman said. “All of our libraries have ‘Friends of the Library’ groups that support them, and items like that always come from those. So, it is not taxpayer money going toward things like that.”

 

More weird is the fact that Ms Fletcher is running for the public school board...but she has three children, all of which are homeschooled. She's not got any skin in the game, and she can only cause harm to the many lgbtq students she would have authority over if elected./

 

https://onlysky.media/hemant-mehta/christian-hate-preacher-calls-for-the-execution-of-every-single-homosexual/

 

In a kickoff to Pride Month that really shows that good ol' Christian lurve what it really is: (HATE), Pastor Dillon Awes gave a lovely sermon, stating his opinion that all gays should be killed. He also said that all gays are pedophiles or will be. And that they also rejoice at the shooting of school children. But then, this is the Stedfast church, and they say shit like this a LOT. Here's as much of an excerpt as I can deal with at the moment:

 

Here’s the thing. Here’s why reprobates, here’s why homosexuals, are so dangerous to society: They’re not like other sinners in the sense that every single day that they are alive, they’re being filled with more and more and more unrighteousness.You look up the statistics on these sodomites that abuse children, they’re with so many children, it’ll make you throw up. Disgusting. These people are not normal. They’re not your average everyday sinners. They’re what the Bible calls reprobate. They’re rejected by God. They have no hope of salvation.

 

He uses the f-slur often, showing just how classy he is. Of course he offers no anecdotes or any proof of his claims because there aren't any of those. This guy knows what he's doing. The Stedfast church is known for saying this sort of stuff. And Awes is only the assistant pastor. The head pastor, Johnathan Shelley, has actually celebrated the death of a gay man at a Pride parade. He regularly prays for the deaths of gay people.

 

Such a great example of Christian love.

 

 

https://onlysky.media/kdavis/child-evangelism-fellowship-seizes-school-shooting-opportunity-to-recruit-children/

 

There ain't no opportunist like a Christian opportunist, and the Child Evangelism Fellowship is one of the worst. If you don't know who they are, they are an organization, founded in 1937 in order to teach the Christian Gospel to children and to encourage children's involvement in local Christian churches. They are known to create after-school “Good News Clubs” in order to do this. They have come under fire for bribing children to bring in children of other faiths whose parents did NOT enroll them in the program, as well as distributing material in public schools.

 

These are the people who put themselves on the border of Ukraine to proselytize traumatized child refugees. So the fact that they are now targeting Uvalde shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

 

The little booklets they distribute to these traumatized children are called Do You Wonder Why? Answers to Tough Questions.”

 

In the booklets, CEF keeps consistent with their decades-old message that everything in the Bible is literally true (because God never lies), God has nothing to do with any of the bad stuff that happens in the world (but should be praised for all the good stuff), and anything bad that happens is a result of man’s sinful nature.

CEF feels their booklets about damning children to eternal torture will be especially helpful to those who watched their classmates gunned down in front of them. It seems to be lost on CEF leadership (or even more horrifically, maybe not) that these booklets are also indirectly letting kids know that the 19 child victims in the school shooting are currently burning in hell unless they previously committed their lives to following Jesus Christ.

Child Evangelism Fellowship has a new goal to reach all of the Uvalde homes. I'm hoping that the parents understand just how additionally traumatizing these proselytizers can be.

 

And This Week in Christian Prophecy:

 

https://twitter.com/hemantmehta/status/1533506768596254720?cxt=HHwWgICyrf-RjsgqAAAA

 

Kenneth Copeland says that he predicted the inflation crisis. Of course, Kenneth Copeland says a LOT of things. You know, like calling poor people demons and the like. Or how about the multiple times he proclaimed COVID gone? The point is, he's wrong A LOT.

 

But you know, he had a dream where he couldn't count his money a while ago so he's now proclaiming that he predicted the inflation crisis. He says he dreamt that he had a roll of money with no denominations so he couldn't figure out how much it was worth.

 

Clearly it was prophetic.

 

Clearly.

 

 

Patreon/Promo

 

6/19 So you want to be a pastor? Here's What You Can Expect

6/26 Recovering from road tests

7/3 Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier

 

Main Segment

 

On its face, patriotism encompasses a number of actions and attitudes, many of which are positives and promote the betterment of the country to which it is applied. You don't have to be a war hero to be a patriot. You don't have to be a political activist. You don't have to support the president if he is wrong or stands for things that are themselves not patriotic, and you don't have to swear your allegiance to a piece of cloth.

 

In fact, some acts of patriotism do lead us in the direction of being better, more-informed citizens. These include things like:

 

  • Knowing our history (our real history – the good, the bad and the ugly)

  • Understanding the nature of freedom and working to ensure that people enjoy it

  • Participation in government (voting, campaigning, supporting candidates that stand for freedom, human rights, secular ideals, etc)

  • Contributing positively to society through your work, giving to causes that promote better standards of living, and more. These include things like giving to humanitarian causes, volunteering your time to political campaigns, and devoting your professional and vocational pursuits to things that make people's lives better and happier

  • Celebrating diversity and standing up for the rights of people to live lives that afford them true liberty and the pursuit of happiness like supporting pro-choice organizations and politicians, LGBTQ causes, and, yes, even standing up for religious liberty. Keep in mind that the right to be an atheist without fear of backlash falls under this cover on a societal level (even if it doesn't on a philosophical one).

  • Participating in civic organizations that do positive work in their communities

  • Supporting local businesses and contributing positively to the local economy

  • Supporting causes that improve the lives of indigenous peoples

  • Understanding the current political landscape

  • Fighting racism, homophobia, and xenophobia – things that cause division in society

  • Being an informed citizen in matters of politics at all levels from your local community forward

  • Holding the government accountable on all social, economic, and policy-making fronts to ensure equal rights among all of our citizens

  • Admitting to the flaws that exist in our society and doing something to bring about positive change

  • Voting in all elections

 

I halted between two opinions for quite a while about including military service in this list simply because I think most citizens are being sold a bill of goods about what our military exists to accomplish. Spoiler alert: precious little of it has anything to do with defending our freedom and liberty. That said, I do believe that many of our enlisted military personnel did enlist for patriotic reasons. That said, supporting veterans and veteran-related causes is, in my opinion, an act of patriotism. Why? Because someone has to. These people might have bought into a lot of baseless propaganda when they decided to serve, but that wasn't their fault. Their own intent is typically righteous and patriotic. Many who make the decision to enlist do so for patriotic reasons, not the underlying ones fueled by a government that does literally everything for profit. And, people, war is BIG business. And our government doesn't care how many lives it sacrifices for the profiteering that fuels most modern wars and conflicts.

 

What is Nationalism?

 

Webster's dictionary defines nationalism as “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations.”

 

This is where you get “the greatest country on earth” doctrine. It's something that Nationalists of all description, not just Christian nationalists, think and propagate as an idea with absolutely no proof. They take an opinion and elevate it to an ideal. It's true because I believe it. See? That kind of shit isn't just for religion, but religion and nationalism go together well.

 

The next part I find farcical as it relates to the United States: promotion of its culture.

 

Here's the problem: America doesn't have an identifiable central culture. Let's try to remember that America is called a melting pot. People from all over the world influence the culture of America but we really don't have our own central identity. You look at other countries and many (or most) have certain things that define them: ways of doing things, a collective zeitgeist that sharply identifies them as a people and can be recognized easily by outsiders.

 

America does have its collective traditions and practices but there are different emphases on these things depending on where you go. Where we live in Massachusetts you need only drive about 30 minutes and you see a cultural shift from a more urban, upper-class white collar society to a more rural, middle class blue collar society and the people you find in both places are as different as night and day in how they think and behave.

 

There is also long enduring disparity between how different people in different places view what America is. To this day in the United States, people in the North learn about an event in U.S. History known as the Civil War, but cross the Mason Dixon Line and all of a sudden the same event is referred to as The War Between the States in more polite contexts and The War of Northern Aggression in other less complimentary ones because, even today, there are people in the South who can't swallow the characterization of what happened during that war as “civil.” “There was nothing civil about it...”

 

And if we are to understand things more thoroughly, we need to also consider that there isn't one collective culture here, but many. E Pluribus Unum means a lot more than simply a drawing between state lines and the sovereignty of states rights. In his Book American Nations, Colin Woodard presents the idea that the American continent is actually comprised of 11 different nations, each with its own culture with the vast majority of those cultural lines drawn within the boundaries of the United States.

 

Business Insider did a stellar article on this a few years back that I am going to borrow heavily from going through the various nations that exist within our boundaries.

 

Yankeedom – Yankeedom comprises almost the entire Northeast north of New York City and makes its way west through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The article says that Yankeedom “values education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and citizen participation in government as a shield against tyranny.” He posits that the area was settled by “radical Calvinists” but there is plenty of Catholic and traditional protestantism influence in Yankeedom too, and, more recently evangelicalism and White Evangelicalism, particularly in Northern New England.

 

New Netherland – New York City is the center of New Netherland but it also includes Northern New Jersey. They are what Woodard calls a natural ally of Yankeedom that is comprised of “a highly commercial culture [that is] materialistic, with a profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity and an unflinching commitment to the freedom of inquiry and conscience.” It is so named for its high concentration of original Dutch settlers. The Dutch influence actually extends further “upstate” in New York, but everything north of the Five Boroughs is considered part of Yankeedom.

 

Midlands – Midlands is largely middle-class and defines the culture of the "American Heartland." Political leanings are moderate, and they don't like the idea of government regulation. Woodard calls the ethnically diverse Midlands "America's great swing region." Midlands comprises parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. New Jersey? Really?

 

Tidewater – Tidewater encompasses Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina. It began as “a feudal society that embraced slavery.” They value things like respect for authority and tradition. Too bad that includes slavery.

 

Greater Appalachia – We talked about this region a lot in our episode on snake handlers. The article says that “Greater Appalachia is stereotyped as the land of hillbillies and rednecks.” According to Woodard, “Appalachia values personal sovereignty and individual liberty and is intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike." Their culture meshes well with the deep south and shares the Deep South's dislike of governmental influence. Greater Appalachia includes parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas.

 

So not all of these are connected by geography. Some just share specific social and political influences.

 

The Deep South – According to Woodard, “The Deep South was established by English slave lords from Barbados and was styled as a West Indies-style slave society.” It has a very rigid social structure that places high value on individual liberty. It is made up of most parts of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina.

 

El Norte – El Norte is a center of Hispanic culture that “values independence, self-sufficiency, and hard work above all else.” It is comprised of parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California.

 

Wow... Texas just doesn't know WHAT it wants to be... aside from a state of bounty hunters out to get women who want abortions, and one with an express lane to a lethal injection, that is. They sure as shit know they want to be those things.

 

The Left Coast – It surprised me to learn that this region was colonized in part by New Englanders. It also has Appalachian Midwestern influence. The Left Coast, according to Woodard, is a hybrid of "Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration." It is also Yankeedom's top ally. It is made up of Coastal California, Oregon, and Washington State.

 

The Far West (aka The Conservative West) – The Far West is known for its investment in industry and its dislike of “Eastern interests.” Those interests, ironically enough, were the foundation and framework for their way of life. The region is huge, being made up of a number of states, including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Oregon, and California. The most influential group is the Far West? The Mormons.

 

New France – Believe it or not, there are liberal pockets in the South and New France is the nation that is home to them. In fact, Woodard says New France is among the most liberal places in North America. New France is relatively small with a concentration that only covers the area around New Orleans, but they have a northern neighbor in Quebec.

 

First Nation – This is the only one that doesn't have a designated area within the U.S. First nation is actually based in northern Canada but it has a diaspora of representation throughout the United States. It's geographically huge but has a tiny population of only about 300,000 indigenous people from various tribes.

 

So with all this diversity of cultures, what do Nationalists have to call their own when it comes to THE culture of America? Well, we have these things going for us:

 

An overwhelming attitude of largesse that extends from the cars we drive to the size of portions in our restaurants

 

The insane pace of our lives

 

Leaving someone else to see to preparing our food and other luxuries and creature comforts – we go out of our way to avoid some very basic responsibilities here

A nonsensical devotion to sports

 

And ever-growing epidemic of obesity and THE worst eating habits of any industrialized nation – hint: Chinese people don't eat what we call “Chinese food” because Americans need everything they eat to be bogged down with sugar and carbohydrates. You'd be hard pressed to find super-sized soft drinks with free refills outside the U.S. They exist, but not with anywhere near the commonality they have here.

 

An unhealthy attitude toward competition

 

The need to hide behind our inherent bigotry by way of “political correctness”

 

An overwhelming need to be entertained, hence a huge entertainment industry

 

A huge divide between our melting pot identity and the fact that most of us ONLY speak English. Being bilingual is common in nearly every other part of the world but not here.

 

And just like we talked about last week, all of this leaves us with very little to focus in on in the way of national pride. So what DO nationalists here tend to focus on when deciding what the culture and values of America are? Religion, of course, and Christianity in particular. But before we even dip a toe in that pond, let's lay the right foundation for the remainder of this discussion and look at some of the key ways that patriotism differs from nationalism

 

Even some Christians actually get this. Christianity Today puts it this way:

 

Humanity is not easily divisible into mutually distinct cultural units. Cultures overlap and their borders are fuzzy. Since cultural units are fuzzy, they make a poor fit as the foundation for political order. Cultural identities are fluid and hard to draw boundaries around, but political boundaries are hard and semipermanent. Attempting to found political legitimacy on cultural likeness means political order will constantly be in danger of being felt as illegitimate by some group or other. Cultural pluralism is essentially inevitable in every nation.

 

Then there's this from the National Council of Churches:

 

Morally, Christian nationalism gives little attention to structural issues of poverty, racism, the healing of our planet, and international peace, thereby undermining justice and causing great harm. This results in individual manifestations of Christian nationalism that negatively affect persons and communities of color.”

 

And that right there is where Nationalism in any form begins to fall apart. And just to be sure we understand where the key differences lie, here's a little compare and contrast that should help clear up a few of the most important bullet points in this discussion:

 

Patriotism: Taking pride in who you are
Nationalism: Taking pride in who you aren't (thinking you're better than someone who doesn't look, think, or behave the way you do). The Bible warns about this, BTW:

 

Luke 18:14b (NIV) “All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 

Patriotism: Learning from history
Nationalism: Rewriting history (and there is SO much of this that permeates our school system...)

 

Patriotism: “My country is wrong about action A, policy B, and law C”
Nationalism: “This is my country, right or wrong, and I'm going to support it”

 

Patriotism: Stands up against social injustice and the infringement upon the rights of others
Nationalism: Champions violence and aggression against anyone their prejudices dictate hating and attempts to strip them of, or, at very least, trounce upon and attempt to suppress the rights they hold while, at the same time, asserting their OWN rights with the same levels of aggression. “No I will not wear a mask. It violates my liberty! I don't CARE that I can make you sick.”

 

Patriotism: Largely democratic or centered on human rights and people's open participation in government
Nationalism: Largely fascist and centered on self-interest

 

So with all that in mind, let's talk about Christian Nationalism and the cesspool of thought that it actually is.

 

This also comes from Christianity Today – same article but with a bit less logic applied to the ideas. For the most part, I agree with this author but just like with anything else, these people just can't help wrapping their flawed apologetic around a good argument, skewing the messaging off into a bit of a tangent. I'm going to read what they say and add my own commentary in the margins.

 

Christian nationalism is the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity and the government should take active steps to keep it that way.

 

Believe what you want. America isn't now, nor has it ever been defined by ANY religion. And our government IS taking active steps to keep it that way and will as long as WE keep electing people who want to.

 

Christian nationalists assert that America is and must remain a “Christian nation”—not merely as an observation about American history, but as a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future.

 

America cannot “continue to be” something it never was. The notion that it is or was or anything is nothing but propaganda. The Constitution actually goes great lengths to ensure that NO religion emerges as a defining part of our society.The First Amendment is clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” Translation: we neither endorse nor decry anything that anyone wants to believe.

 

America is defined by its “Anglo-Protestant” past and we will lose our identity and our freedom if we do not preserve our cultural inheritance.

 

Thanks but I'm not interested in identifying as anything that perpetuates hate, denies women the freedom to live alongside men with the same sovereignty over their bodies that all MEN enjoy, and allows people to call for the mass execution of an entire people group with impunity when the same when said about the president – just one person – is punishable under the law.

 

Christian nationalists do not reject the First Amendment and do not advocate for theocracy.

 

No, but they sure do misinterpret the First Amendment and try to twist its meaning to suit their needs. And the very notion that they don't advocate for theocracy is utterly laughable. Of course they do. Why go after abortion rights and call for the mass execution of gays otherwise?

 

They do believe that Christianity should enjoy a privileged position in the public square.

 

So they don't advocate for theocracy, they just want their religion to be the only one of import in their government. Got it. At least they had the balls to admit that it's about asserting privilege.

 

The term “Christian nationalism,” is relatively new, and its advocates generally do not use it of themselves...

 

...and there's a reason for that. Just like there's a reason why Klansmen wear masks.

 

...but it accurately describes American nationalists who believe American identity is inextricable from Christianity.

 

Well, again, at least they're honest. Don't see that every day...

 

Christian Nationalism and its influence are the cornerstone of most of the idiotic whining that most Christians engage in when they don't get their way about literally anything. They aren't all Christian Nationalists by definition, but it is nearly impossible to grow up evangelical without having a sense of Nationalism drilled firmly into your pysche long before adulthood.

 

And here is why the very notion of Nationalism, of ANY flavor, is a bad idea:

 

Even Christianity Today views Christian Nationalism as “a serious problem.” And here is why:

 

When nationalists go about constructing their nation, they have to define who is, and who is not, part of it. Now comes the part where you get everyone to agree on all points across the board. When it comes to Christian Nationalism, I have more than 200 distinct denominations of Christianity in the U.S. alone that tell me that this is an outright impossibility. There will always be those who rise up and demand that their way be the only way or fuck the whole damn thing.

 

So what happens then? We defer to a might makes right model and establish a cultural template by force. And, historically, nationalist governments never benefit anyone. They quickly turn “authoritarian and oppressive in practice.”

 

The article goes on to say:

 

In past generations, to the extent that the United States had a quasi-established official religion of Protestantism, it did not respect true religious freedom. Worse, the United States and many individual states used Christianity as a prop to support slavery and segregation.

 

 

 

Christian Nationalism is the driving force behind the thought that America is a Christian nation (it is not) and that Christian morals should be the foundation for not just how we behave, but also the laws and policies our government enacts. Needless to say, this notion is 100% cuckoo but here's the problem: not only does thought like this have a LOT of support, the people who think them are making things happen.

 

Right now, today, in the land of the free, there are two states that have quite literally put a bounty on women who get abortions and the people who help them get abortions and they have licensed every citizen in their states as bounty hunters. Roe V. Wade is about to be overturned, and we have a Supreme Court that will, for decades to come, make it their business to pander to Christian Nationalists and keep giving them whatever the fuck they want with absolutely no deference to the Constitution and what it actually says about any of it. Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby is an example and in the years to come we are poised well to look back on that ruling and the vile precedent it sets as just the tip of the theocratic iceberg.

 

This is why we cannot let Christian Nationalism gain a foothold. It isn't enough to simply influence government. They want that direct definition of America as a Christian nation to be a reality. They want to teach history from the perspective of America having a Christian heritage (which it flatly does not have). They want schoolchildren indoctrinated as much in their public school classrooms as they are in their Sunday school classrooms. Some Christian nationalists also want their own moral code to be established as law and PUNISH people for deviating from their definition of morality. If they have their way, not only will women's rights be set back 50 years, but it would become flat out illegal to be gay or even have sex outside of marriage.

 

And if that isn't enough, Christian Nationalism is, at its core, hopelessly racist and creates an even bigger divide between people of different racial or ethnic origins than we have right now. And that divide right now is huge.

 

I already mentioned Roe V. Wade and Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. Those are two recent examples. It also perpetuates the notion of Christian persecution. It relies on victim and persecution doctrine to attract sympathizers and fuel anger, fear, and hate – all things that instill the kind of preservationist mentality that makes people believe that not only has this country ALWAYS been a Christian nation, but that it is now necessary to defend that heritage and do it by any means necessary. The January 6th Insurrection was a direct result of that kind of thinking.

 

So is Christian Nationalism that big a threat? Well.. nearly 20 percent of Americans embrace the idea. And while that's far from a majority, that's a shit lot of people. More than 66 Million. More than enough to steer an election if all of them vote and those who oppose them from their couches just stay home and do nothing.

 

Also, if Christian nationalists ever got their way, it would be the end of both religious freedom and democracy as we know it. All public policy would become based on religious ideals and the deluded concept of “God's will.” The very notion that my research uncovered more than a few church groups and Christian organizations and publications that flatly reject Christian Nationalism tells me everything I need to know about it. When a religion that is rooted and built up on a foundation of intolerance, bigotry, and hate look at something as being too intolerant, too bigoted, and too hateful you have to know something is wrong with it.

 

Fortunately, we still live in a country where the majority of Christian churches and organizations still see the harm that this kind of ideology can do. That's encouraging. The power of the Supreme Court and its ability to reinvent the Constitution, however, terrifies me. I believe it will be through them that Christian Nationalism will start slowly weaving its way into the fabric of our laws and government slowly chipping away at the First Amendment until its words and the freedoms it was created to protect literally sink away into obsolescence if we let it happen. The good news is that as long as states rights remain a thing, we can hold it back from spreading like the cancer that it is, but it takes action to preserve those rights. Again, that means electing officials who recognize the threat that Christian Nationalism poses to our lives and our democracy.

 

Christian Nationalists almost uniformly identify as patriots, but as we've already established, there is a huge divide between patriotism and nationalism. And when you attach religion to Nationalist thought, it becomes a recipe for discord on many, many levels. It promotes racism, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, and so much more. There is nothing wrong with a little national pride. If you can look at the America you live in and love it, more power to ya. I just hope you love it enough to use your voice in a way that keeps steering it toward the greatness we've been brainwashed into believing it already possesses.

 

Because as long as there are enough Churches and church organizations out there that see this thing for what it is and keep speaking out against it, there's a good chance that their words will amplify those of people like us who champion secularization in society and see the overall dangers of religious influence. Because plenty of Christians out there recognize that too much of that influence is a bad thing. It chips away at our liberty and our freedom, and has potential to end the American experiment – the secular American experiment that got its start with the simple but vitally important phrase that is at the heart of this argument: “We, the people.” Not Christian people, not white people, just people who want to maintain the shred of freedom we have here when it comes to how we are allowed to live our lives and our ability to adopt and exercise our own moral code on both societal and personal levels.

 

And let's not forget the single most patriotic thing that most of us who are part of the general public can do to defend our way of life and the liberties we have and to fight for a stronger, better America – voting. The mid terms will be upon as before we know it. Vote against Christian Nationalist thought. Vote against the ideals that fuel their agenda. Vote for politicians who will strive to protect the things that Christian Nationalism wants to take away. It's a long road and one that will involve persistent, vocal, and visible resistance to the right and the radicals who try to control it, but our grandchildren's grandchildren will thank us for it. Because if we start right now, we might be able to offer them the chance to live in an America that is finally, truly, and honestly free, or as we like to put it around here: Unbound.