Christian leaders in the U.S. are speaking out against Christian nationalism, joining an initiative spearheaded by Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and signing on to a statement of opposition.
“Christian nationalism harmfully suggests that to be a good American, one must be Christian or that to be a good Christian, one must be American,” said Amanda Tyler, BJC’s executive director. “BJC recognized an urgent need for a strong response from the Christian community to denounce Christian nationalism as a gross distortion of our faith and a dangerously divisive movement for our body politic.
“Working with a number of other Christian leaders, we have developed a statement for any self-identified Christian to associate with as a way to take a stand against Christian nationalism. We hope to have a robust response from a broad diversity of Christians.”
The statement calls Christian nationalism “a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy” and “a damaging political ideology,” asserting that it distorts “both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy.”
“Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution. As Christians, we must speak in one voice condemning Christian nationalism as a distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy,” the statement concludes.
EthicsDaily.com is partnering with BJC and other Christian groups to promote the statement, to produce related videos available on BJC’s YouTube channel and to publish on EthicsDaily.com a series of columns written by Christians opposing this ideology this week.
BJC is producing a 10-week podcast series on Christian nationalism that begins July 31 and continues until Oct. 2. Guests include Walter Brueggemann, Sister Simone Campbell, Bill Leonard, author Steve Green, Eboo Patel, Frederick Clarkson and many others. A preview of the podcast series is available here.
National Baptist leaders endorsing and signing the statement opposing Christian nationalism include:
Paul Baxley, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies; Paula Dempsey, director of partnership relations at Alliance of Baptists; Aidsand Wright-Riggins and Hannah McMahan, co-directors of the New Baptist Covenant; Mitch Randall, executive director of EthicsDaily.com; and Amanda Tyler, executive director of BJC.
“Christian nationalism perverts and distorts the foundational tenets of the gospel. When Christianity combines with political ideologies, the gospel will always take a back seat to the political pragmatism of power and wealth,” Randall said.
Other endorsers include Michael Curry, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church; Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK Lobby; Tony Campolo, a founder of the Red Letter Christians movement; Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners; Jim Winkler, president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches; Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Office of Public Witness for the Presbyterian Church (USA); and Brian Kaylor, editor and president of Word&Way.
The full statement and a form to sign on to the statement are available here.
Signatories are encouraged to share their support of the statement and the initiative on social media, using the hashtags #ChristianNationalism and #DemocracyNotTheocracy, as well as linking to the website ChristiansAgainstChristianNationalism.org.